Artists’ multimedia quilts made of more than just stitches


GREENFIELD — Emily Bogard’s “Layla the Layered Layer,” hanging on the wall in the Twenty North Gallery, might look like a 5-foot tall chicken made out of feathers. On closer inspection, however, the feathers are actually ribbons of material, cut and frayed.

The detailed quilt of a barn and a tree in a field, created by husband and wife artistic team Larry and Karen Hampton, was designed from a Photoshop image printed on material and then painstakingly quilted.

Felt artist Gary Schmitt’s mash-up of a baseball bat and a shovel handle, made from wood and felt, hangs next to his one-piece hammer and chisel gadget, also made from wood and felt.

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All four pieces are part of “Artistry in Fiber,” a juried show of textile arts, on display now through the end of October at the Hancock County Art Council’s Twenty North Gallery, 20 N. State St.

“Artistry is Fiber” features a variety of artistic media, including quilts, weaving, felt, beadwork and paper craft from artists in South Bend, Bloomington, Evansville and Indianapolis.

One eye-catching piece is Schmitt’s 3-D felt airplane against a white background dotted with small black circles. The artwork, entitled “Cold War Dinners,” was inspired by Schmitt’s childhood spent growing up near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

On a moment’s notice, the large, noisy B-52 aircraft stored at the base would suddenly take to the air, Schmitt said.

“We never knew if it was a drill or not,” Schmitt said, “but it would interrupt dinner. We’d drop everything and run outside.”

The plane is a model of a B-52, and the black circles represent dinner plates forgotten on the table, Schmitt explained.

Bogard’s layered fabric chicken was actually created for another art exhibit called “Layered Voices,” she said. She had ideas for what she wanted to make but felt they’d all been done before.

Inspiration struck when she looked up the word “layer” in the dictionary and found that it was another word for an egg-laying chicken.

“A hen lays eggs, layers of material and layers of color,” Bogard said.

Larry and Karen Hampton, who own an advertising agency in Evansville, are semi-retired and happy to be doing art for themselves. The wall hanging is actually a composite of several photos, layered over one another to make a final blueprint for the quilt design.

The show was organized by Arts Council volunteer Joan Webb, the only Greenfield artist in the exhibit, with the help of the Surface Design Association, an international organization that promotes creativity and innovation with textile arts.

Webb’s areas of expertise are in quilted hand-dyed fabrics and book-making.

Standing in the gallery on a recent afternoon, Webb opened the hand-made book she submitted to the fiber art show to reveal leafy and flowery shapes on the pages. To make the book, Webb placed flowers and plants between the stiff pages, rubber-banded them together and boiled the entire packet on the stove in a mixture of vinegar and water. The green and yellow colors of the pages, she explained, came from the plants.

“The purple color came from a handful of black raspberries that had gone bad,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t going to eat them so I threw them in, too.”

Hancock Arts will host a reception for the artists from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the gallery. The reception will include music and refreshments.

Awards for the show, judged by Herron School of Art and Design instructor Lauren Kussro, will be presented to the artists in the 2-D and 3-D categories as well as for Best of Show. Attendees to the reception may cast a vote for a People’s Choice Award.