Local artists bring Sheep to Shawl show

Sumac VestFour local fiber artists – Karen Aakre, Joan Ellison, Katy Olson, and Sharon Marquardt –  are mounting a show at the Cultural Center that will be on display from Saturday March 1 through Saturday March 15 in the Center’s ground floor gallery.  The opening reception includes a workshop from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday March 15 teaching the ancient Norwegian art of “shinfell.”

Workshop participants will create and take home a work of art using the shinfell techniques.   Traditional skinfell designs will be stenciled on small pieces of sheepskin to create either a headband and wristlets or baby booties and baby mittens. Cost of the class is $50 per person and includes all materials needed to complete a piece of skin

From Sheep to Shawl  is an installation of fiber pieces which illustrate the arc of fiber arts from functional to purely visual, fiber as fine art; its emergence in the prehistoric past through the present into the future. This project is a collaboration between four fiber artists, Sharon Marquardt, Karen Aakre, Joan Ellison and Katy Olson.

These four women have been creating with fiber for twenty to thirty years. They each excel at various aspects of their art. Sharon Marquardt has received Lake Region Arts Council grants for both her weaving and her felting. Her work has appeared in a fiber arts book. She has taught numerous weaving and felting workshops. Karen Aakre does bobbin lace, weaves, knits, felts and creates Shinfell (sheepskins embellished with traditional designs). She taught K-12 art for thirteen years and has raised her own sheep for wool for thirty years.

Katy Olson shifted from two dimensional painting to three dimensional fiber work when she realized that she liked creating “useful” art. She managed the Barnhard Art Center for ten years, organizing and running fiber festivals, music festivals, workshops, gallery shows and readings. Her fiber work focuses on spinning, dyeing, knitting and felting.

Joan Jarvis Ellison has been knitting and crocheting since she was a child. When she began raising her own wool thirty years ago, she learned to spin, dye, weave, and felt, creating her own patterns and teaching others both the skills and the creative techniques. Ellison has written two books about sheep and fiber and teaches workshops and classes on fiber work.  All four women have had work displayed in museums and galleries in the Upper Midwest.