Unique Pelican library show features nearly dozen area fiber artists—from quilts to wool creations

“Sunrise on East Silent Lake,” by Dawn Ellison Jordan, Dent.

Eleven fiber artists have collaborated to fill the display space at the Pelican Rapids Public Library through the end of the year with a show called “Landscapes of the Mind.” 

This exhibit features the work of Yvonne Hanley, Victoria Hanna, Katy J Olson, Alice Ellison, Amber Walker, Nadine Brown, Sharon Marquardt, Tammy Nordic, Semsa Nemec, Dawn Jordan, Caas Schleske, and Joan Ellison. 

Most people don’t see a connection between a landscape and fiber. Joan Ellison does, because the fields around her house are full of sheep. After they shear the sheep and clean their fleeces, they dye some of their fiber and create landscapes using wool, in a way similar to how a painter uses paint to create a landscape. Tammy Nordic and Semsa Nemec also work on flat wool “canvases” like landscape painters. 

Katy Olson and Yvonne Hanley begin with a felted background and embellish it with wool, buttons, threads, and yarns. Landscapes don’t have to be framed, flat images. 

Nadine Brown, Amber Walker, Sharon Marquardt, Caas Schleske, Joan Ellison do their quilting on recycled wool clothing – hats, vests, jackets, and coats.

Landscape quilt by Nadine Wagner Brown.
“Medusa” by Yvonne Hanley, Fergus Falls.

Dreamscape is a fiber landscape created by painting with fabric dyes and fabric pens on silk. Of all the fiber pieces in the exhibit, the silk painting comes closest to traditional landscape painting. The “canvas” – silk, in this case – is integral to the final look of the landscape – no additional fibers are used. 

Some of the landscapes are quilted – tiny pieces of fabric and thread sewn together and then embellished to produce a picture. Dawn Jordan, Alice Ellison, and Yvonne Hanley worked with fabric and hand or machine quilting and embroidery to create pieces that have the look of traditional landscapes. Nadine Brown recreated the homes she has lived in through the years on a unique and playful quilt using scraps of her loved ones’ clothing and other fabrics. 

Victoria Hanna does hand embroidery with silk, cotton, and metallic threads to create tiny abstract and non-abstract images on a single topic – in this case, Climate Change. In many of her pieces, the background fabric is completely covered with embroidery stitches.

If you are interested in learning any of these techniques, contact Joan Ellison at joan.jarvis.ellison@gmail.com for more information.

You might notice that the “landscapes” in this exhibit don’t all picture trees, grass, sky, or water – things you normally associate with the word. Pieces in the exhibit also relate to internal landscapes, places one feels, dreams about, or imagines. Stop by the library through the end of the year to appreciate different ways that these fiber artists represent the concept of “landscape.”