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'Found and Stitched'

June 6, 2011 | by Judy Moore
"Ebbtide,” 56” x 35”/Fused fiber fragments: cottons, cotton blends, lace, satin, silk, ribbons, trims and threads. Tulle overlays. Machine embellished with cotton and rayon, and metallic threads. Design Elements: Overall surface design. Predominant colors:  fuchsia, blue and green.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Tiny fiber fragments, trapped threads and sheer overlays comprise the hand- and “energetically” machine-stitched contemporary art quilts by award-winning Wisconsin-based fiber artist Pat Kroth. More than 20 of her abstract works will be featured in a summer exhibition at Northwestern University.

“Found and Stitched: Fiber Art by Pat Kroth” opens June 24 and runs through Aug. 11 at the Dittmar Memorial Gallery, located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. Both the exhibition and an opening reception at the gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 24, are free and open to the public.

Some of Kroth’s transparent pieces will hang from the ceiling so they can be viewed from both sides. Others will be wall-mounted. All utilize vibrant color, texture and movement to invite the viewer to peer past the item’s riotous surface and explore the work. For instance, two of the quilts -- the red and multicolored “Full Blast” and the blue and gray “Currents” -- relate to Kroth’s experiences of training for the 2004, 2006 and 2009 Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon in Madison, which provided time for meditation, contemplation and inspiration.

Constructed of found, donated or cast-off fibers and objects and taking up to 100 hours to create, the works incorporate familiar shapes, symbols and surfaces that vibrate with the color of candy wrappers, cording, ribbons, cheesecloth, tulle, plastic vegetable bag netting, toys, buttons and fortune cookie messages.

The tactile qualities of fiber, fabric and thread become the vehicle for a playful juxtaposition of hard objects like jewelry and hardware against the softer textures of velvet, silk and lace. Kroth describes her work as “a depository for the flotsam and jetsam of life.”

A former Chicagoan, Kroth has exhibited her work in local, national and international shows including Quilt National, and has taught and lectured throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. She is a professional member of Studio Art Quilt Associates, a national art quilt organization, and Professional Art Quilt Alliance, a regional group that meets in the Chicago area. She also is a member of Fiber Artists Coalition, a regional network of professional fiber artists and a founding member of Madison Area Contemporary Fiber Artists. For more about the artist, visit www.krothfiberart.com and http://www.portalwisconsin.org/.

For more on the exhibition, call the Dittmar at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at www.norris.northwestern.edu/recreation/dittmar.
Topics: Campus Life