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Newsletter December 2013

Dear All,

Dates to diarize:

  • 15th January 2014 Final day for submission of entry forms and proof of payment for the Sculptural Fibre Art Exhibition - IQCAfrica 2014. See previous newsletter.
  • 15th of January, 2014 Entries for Madiba exhibition - see below for details.
  • December/January 2014. We will be told whether or not we are invited as a Main Exhibitor at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown next year. This exhibition will become Fibreworks VIII, entitled 'Energy', a themed exhibition.
  • 17 January 2014 and 17 April. Images of our completed work for the NAF exhibition are to be sent via email to Helga. No late entries accepted.
  • April 2014 Delivery of art works for Madiba exhibition.
  • 31 May delivery of art works to Grahamstown Festival. Address to be advised.
  • 3 - 12 July 2014 Fibreworks VIII at Grahamstown Festival.
  • 24 - 26 July 2014 IQC Africa Fibreworks VIII at IQC Africa in Emperor's Palace Johannesburg.
  • 24 - 26 July 2014 IQC Africa - the Madiba exhibition.
  • 29 September - 11 October 2014 Fibreworks VIII at artSpace in Durban. We plan to have this October exhibition to coincide with our 2014 AGM.
  • July 2015 Fibreworks exhibiting at the National Quilt Show in Durban.

There will be an informal meeting at the Tatham on Friday 24 January. Please note Jutta's exhibition is still open. Everyone is invited, but please confirm with Helga so she can book lunch at the Tatham.
  • Jutta Fauld's exhibition at the Tatham
Celia de Villiers opened Jutta's exhibition on the 8th December. It is a stunning show, and I thank everyone for their participation. The Tatham staff did a brilliant job hanging the show. Well done!
Here is Celia's Opening Address:

Opening - Threads exhibition celebrating Jutta Faulds.

The philosophy of Phenomenology and Hermeneutics are belief systems or ways of describing the meaning of our experience in the world. These philosophies provide theoretical perspectives which help us to make sense of all artists' work.

Hermeneutics is about a retrospective search for latent meaning, a self-conscious interpretation and a justification of human existence beyond the superficial. It concerns the reappraisal of the individual's situation and his/her sense of perception of daily routines and how this perception triggers a very personal response. Hermeneutics and phenomenology facilitate our understanding of our world, irrespective of how erroneous or ambivalent it may be (Lundin et al 1985:32).

Most artists are actively engaged in a hermeneutical process in the way that they interpret, assign meaning, and justify their experiences. Personal mythologies, constructed from the narratives artists tell themselves about the world, are presented to an audience, which they assume share their cultural belief systems and will respond in a more or less predictable way.

Theorists and Phenomenologist like Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur differ somewhat in their arguments, but all assert that experience in the world entails a process of uncovering ambiguous, personal truths. This links to the notion of Dasein, which refers to human existence and self-awareness. These theorists all stress that mortality imposes a time limit on us and influences how we choose to understand our Umwelt or personal environment/life-world.

Therefore, meaning can be assigned from the above standpoint. For artists like Jutta this 'life-world' may be highly individualized and even contentious. She uses her textiles artworks as communicative objects to articulate symbolic meaning and become a barometer of the world. We as viewers are witnessing and sharing similar experiences to Jutta, thus her signifying factors include us as viewers. We are not passive receivers of meaning, but as the theorist Roland Barthes (in Barnett et al 2003: 4-5) points out; the viewer or 'reader' of an artwork is also a producer of meaning in his or her own right. We join the author of every artwork as a weaver of 'texts' from which meaning can be derived.

Jutta makes extensive use of the exotic, the exaggerated and the mysterious to amplify her artworks. They are deliberately seductive and beautiful to draw the viewer in, but upon reading the titles and contemplating the meaning of her work her wry and subtle communicative intentions become clear. Jutta fearlessly addresses issues that some individuals may find uncomfortable in their Lebenswelt. She mediates our comprehension of contemporary human existence in works like Shield for a sad day and Too dark and too fast.

She fulfils the duty of a contemporary artist - to make extensive commentary on current society. The latest buzz-words in the art-world are:
  • Eco-art and Neo-Romanticism

  • The artist as a Radicant or Global nomad

  • Relational aesthetics.

For the past 35 years, in which I have known Jutta, she has been a forecaster of all of these new-fangled contemporary notions. The French philosopher and art critic, Nicolas Bourriaud, proposed as recently as 2009 that that a global nomad or radicant artist can (like an ivy plant or strawberry) adapt to new geological surfaces re-root and still move in a space. This enrooting happens while preserving his/her own culture and opening to another culture through the exchange of ideas. In other words such artists are caught up in the continuous process of innovative negotiation and translation in a foreign country. It is therefore safe to say that Jutta has been a so-called 'radicant' ages before the concept was formulated by Bourriaud.

Romanticism has been described as presenting the commonplace with significance and the ordinary with mystery (Novalis in Vermeulen and van den Akker, 2010:384). Jutta can be described as a neo-romanticist and an eco-artist because she drew our attention to the disequilibrium in the world long before it was fashionable. Through her artworks she has always pointed out that our engagement with the natural environment requires attention. Like the German artist Joseph Buys (who was co-founder of the Green party in Germany) she has assumed the role of the artist a go-between who mediates from a platform of contingency. This role is very clear in her ecological works: such as Spirit of an oil-covered sea bird and A year in the life of our planet. These works link to examples of Neo-Romanticism in art practice as manifested in the recent international Declarations of the rights of Mother Earth and the South African Green Manifesto written in Cape Town in 2012. Jutta's ethics of care and concern also link up with the work of Ecofeminism and Relational aesthetics in art.

Relational art refers to the process by which the role of the artist is deconstructed to that of a 'catalyst' in his/her social context. We all know that for 30 years Jutta has played a major role in MACS and has also been an influential catalyst in the South African Fire Arts community which proves once again that she is a pioneer when it comes to current visual communication theories.

Through her personalised aesthetic constructions there is evidence of Jutta's validity. She provides a mode of access between imagination and reason to facilitate her Dasein or being-in-the-world. Viewers of her artworks might be persuaded, fascinated, captured; feel manipulated or convinced however, one's interaction with Jutta's critical language of textiles reveals her own sincere hermeneutic and phenomenological frameworks. Therefore, through her artworks she endeavours to raise questionable issues and open up a discourse with her audience.
In closing; I agree with the Fibreworks artists Cathy Knox who believes that "Jutta walks the talk" and Lubi Koorts who maintains that "CREATIVITY oozes from her speech, her works and her whole being and therefore she inspires us all!" Annette Mc Master is convinced that Jutta is a sticky toffee with a soft centre. For me Jutta qualifies as a national treasure.
Thanks to all the artists who participated in this special exhibition.

Sources consulted:
Andrew, S 2008.Textile semantics, considering a communication based reading of textiles, Textiles Issue 6, Vol 1 32-65.
Barnett, P Jefferies, J and Ross D. 2003 Letters from the editor textile and text the journal of cloth and culture 1(4) 4-5.
Bourgeois, P & Schalow, F. 1990. Traces of understanding: a profile of Heidegger's and
Ricoueur's Hermeneutics. Amsterdam: Rodolph Berlinger & Wiebke Schrader.
Bourriaud, N. 2009. The radicant. New York: Lukas & Sternberg.
Gadamer, H. 1975. Truth and method. Transated by J Weinsheimer & D Marshall. London: Sheed & Ward.
Lundin, R, Thistelton, A & Walhout, C. 1985. The responsibility of hermeneutics. Michigan: Paternoster.
Heidegger, M. 1977. The question concerning technology. New York: Harper & Row.
Merleau-Ponty, M. 1962. Phenomenology of perception. Translation by C Smith. London: Routledge.
Ricoeur, P. 1984. Time and narrative volume 1. Translated by K Mc Laughlin and D Pellauer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ricoeur, P. 1989. Fallible man. Translated by C Kelbley & H Regnery. In The hermeneutical theory of Paul Ricoeur. London: Fordham University Press.
Vermeulen T & van den Akker, R. 2010. ((acessed on 15/09/2013). 2010 April 27 (accessed on 12/10/2013).

  • Madiba Exhibition:

Here is a letter from Jenny Hearn regarding the Madiba Exhibition at the IQCAfrica in Johannesburg in July 2014. Jenny sent this letter far and wide, but I think it is appropriate to print it again in the members' newsletter:

Dear Artists,

I have been waiting for information from these two ladies for some time, it is slow in coming, so I thought I'd give you a quick "heads up".
While Marsha MacDowell was out here in September 2013 for the IQC Africa exhibition, we got talking. She mentioned that she and Dr Carolyn Mazloomi were planning to curate an exhibition of 67 quilts celebrating the life of Mandela. I maintained that he belonged to South Africans, although he was a world icon and that we should contribute 33 of these quilts, the Americans the other 33 and a collaborative piece involving both America and South Africa for the 67th. These will be juried and judged and the first showing will be at IQCAfrica in July 2014. Thereafter it will travel both here and in America and at any other venues who are willing to exhibit this collection.
As you know, copyright is always an issue, so we are investigating this with the Mandela Memorial Museum, as to what images we may or may not use. With his death, the Museum is sort of on hold, but we will pursue it and let you know ASAP.

As yet, the sizes have not been decided, I'll let you know as soon as I do. As to the costs involved, again, I don't know.

We will probably submit online with a card payment.

The American works have to be finished by April 2014 and there are still many details to be worked out. However, I'd like you all to start thinking about the project. This is a tribute to Madiba and we have the power to convey so much of Mandela's legacy! It is a fabulous opportunity for us.

For Your Information:

Marsha MacDowell of the Michigan State University is a professor in the department of Art and Art History. She is primarily engaged in the documentation and analysis of the production, meaning and use of traditional materials and folk art cultures, both nationally and internationally. She is the author of the Quilt Index, a digital repository of data related to quilts, their makers and the processes involved. She is currently researching historical and contemporary South African quilt making. I know she has interviewed a number of our own artists.

Dr Carolyn Mazloomi is an historian, aerospace engineer, Federal Aviation crash site investigator and prolific quilt artist, producing appliqued narrative and pictorial pieces, with social and political themes, and the African experience during the Civil Rights Movement. She is the author of "Spirits of the Cloth". She is the founder of Women of Colour Quilter's Network.

Please give this some thought and let me know who will be participating in this venture by the 15th of January, 2014.

Best wishes for the holidays,

Jenny Hearn

We all look forward to more information about this exhibition Jenny. Keep us posted!

Best, Jeanette

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