published Friday, February 11th, 2011

'Needlewrks: Cultural and Contemporary' Needlework created by 17 artists illustrate the importance of decorative images

By Ann Nichols

Staff Writer

Examples of knitting, crochet, embroidery, beadwork, felting, needlepoint and quilting can be seen at Jewish Cultural Center through March 11. The 17 artists participating in the show are from Chattanooga, Atlanta and St. Louis, Mo.

"Historically, women have used needlework as a way to integrate beauty into their daily lives and the lives of those they love," said Ann Treadwell, curator and program director at JCC.

Linda White is represented in the show by machine-quilted fabric collages. One of her artworks illustrates the use of different fabrics with differing textures to depict a fish, a lizard, a bird and an insect. For example, the screech owl is made from vintage kimono silk while a coarse, nubby silk serves as the background setting for the smooth scarab. Each creature demands its own presentation through color and texture.

"The focus of this piece is on small animals creeping, crawling, swimming and flying," said White.

Barbara Rucket created a tzedakah box in the shape of a house from fabric and embellished it with bead embroidery, charms, sequins and mirrors.

Traditionally, the box is a means for a Jewish person to perform the commandment of giving charity to others, said Treadwell. In a Jewish household, the box is usually kept in a place where pocket change can easily be dropped into it. The collected money is then given to a charity.

Marian Kern makes one-of-a-kind jewelry from seed beads, semiprecious stones, lampworked beads, pearls, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver and 14-karat gold.

"Sometimes, it takes more than 40 to 60 hours to complete a large piece since each bead is added on one at a time, using different beading stitches," she said.

Melissa Krosnick combines crochet, embroidery, stream-of-consciousness writing and personal artifacts in her mixed-media sculptures that reference the female form. She said her sculptures reclaim a site for dialog concerning relevant issues unique to women and the cultural resonance specifically related to gender, handmade objects and the home.

A meet-the-artist reception for "Needleworks" will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

JCC, 5461 North Terrace Road, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and by appointment. Call 493-0270.

E-mail Ann Nichols at annsnichols@aol.com.

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