Sarah Merideth wants you to know there is more to fiber art than quilting.
"Most people when they think of fiber works go, 'Oh, I've seen quilts.' There's so much more involved with that," she said.
Merideth is a fiber artist and co-owner of Framations Custom Framing and Art Gallery. The gallery recently opened two new exhibits on the subject: Fiber Content: A Juried Exhibit of Fiber Art and Transposed: Fiber Art by Sarah Merideth.
Both exhibits run through Oct. 13 in the gallery at 218 N. Main St. in St. Charles. Admission is free. The show is taking place as part of Innovations in Textiles 2011, a collaborative biennial event that promotes contemporary textile arts with showings in galleries across the region.
"There will be 20 different exhibits all over the St. Louis area," Merideth said. "This is our first time doing a fiber exhibit here. We're very excited to be involved with the project this year."
The show features 19 pieces by 10 area artists: Tracy Deniszczuk, Virginia Dragschutz, Katherine Ehlmann, Gloria Henderson, Shirley Nachtrieb, Jennifer Weigel, Melissa Whitwam, Joanne Woll, Barbara Zucker and Merideth.
"We have a wide variety of fiber arts involved—whole cloth pieces to quilted wall hangings, hand-dyed pieces, woven pieces, wearables," Merideth said.
Barbara Simon was a juror for the show. "It looks really good," she said of the exhibit. "It's very diversified within the textile field. The stitching was outstanding and the control of the dyes was interesting."
Simon knows what she's talking about. "I got interested in fiber art when I took a weaving class," she said. "I got very involved in it and have taught weaving for 20 years. I've been curating for quite some time, and I do lectures."
Her work has been exhibited nationally and is in several private collections. "For years, I made one-of-a-kind clothing, now I make textile and paper collages that I exhibit. I don't weave anymore, I got tired of the set up grid of the loom. Now I have a lot more freedom and a lot more fun."
What attracts her to fiber art?
"I like that it has a history and still moves forward," Simon said.
Meredith said she was drawn to fiber arts primarily for the colors and the textures. "I can't walk into a clothing store without touching everything," she said. "Since I learned to dye fabric I've been hooked on it."
Mixing dyes and fabrics is not an exact science, and that's a large part of the appeal for Meredith. "You cannot anticipate how the pattern will turn out. There's always some areas that receive more dye than others," she said. "The way the color will separate into other colors and the way they mix—you never know exactly how the colors and patterns will turn out."
Meredith has been working with fiber art for about a decade. "In college I wanted to be involved in art, so I went to a school with a good art program and dabbled in different areas," she said. "I took a fiber-art class thinking if nothing else I would learn how to use a sewing machine and quilt.
"When it came time to dye fabric I became fascinated by it. Since then, I've been working in fiber."
For more information visit www.framations.com.