I have always felt the need to create art that aids in a personal healing process. This includes art created for people who are on grief journeys from the loss of a loved one. I have found art to be healing in a similar fashion as a memorial service might be. It tells the story of someone's life in a unique way, and it's especially compelling knowing the materials are from the loved one's personal collection.
Ironically, COVID-19 provided the push I needed to actually respond to my need to merge fiber art and healing. And I am thrilled to now share my artistic pivot in that direction.
Presently on the loom, I am weaving a memorial fiber wall sculpture using clothing from a client's late husband. Together we chose clothing that spoke to the nature of who he was, including weaving strips from a lab coat (he was a scientist) some T-shirts (he was an athlete), and Carhart pants ( he was a carpenter).
Another memorial weaving was in honor of Edward Weidner, founding chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. That work especially celebrated his infamous love of neckties. Mr. Weidner was known to be a "people person" so I designed figure images for tapestry weaving that incorporated his vibrant 400+ neckties as my weft material!
The next memorial was a commissioned vessel to honor a very dear patron's son. The patron brought pieces of driftwood to my gallery and shared that he had collected them with his son the last time they were together. His son had gone on an extensive winter mountain climb, and sadly, he never returned. So I constructed a lighted tree vessel to represent his son's continued spirit, and I incorporated the driftwood with yarn using a basketry coiling technique.
Lastly, The Clearing Folk Art School commissioned me to create a memorial wall hanging in tribute to Mertha Fulkerson. Mertha had devoted her life to helping founder Jen Jensen run the Clearing and kept it going after his death. I re-purposed her handwoven fabric from the '40s through the '60s and rewove it in the creation of a fiber wall sculpture to honor her hard work and efforts to save the clearing.
Do you have someone you're wanting to honor? Or do you have a family member or friend who might find this art form helpful in their grief journey? I would be happy to explore the possibilities if so. It all starts with a simple conversation: you introduce me to your loved one, and I help envision the possibilities. There won't be any pressure to move forward with a commission until you are ready...or not.
My contact information is below, and you can view my artwork and the memorial art pieces mentioned above, online at www.interfibers.com. You're also welcome to visit my gallery where I have all safety precautions in place for in-person meetings.
Thanks, in advance, for your consideration. And best wishes for continued health and safety during these challenging times.
Sincerely, Wendy Carpenter
(920) 868-3580 gallery line
(920) 857-7379 cell
Interfibers Studio Gallery | 9204 Silk Road | Fish Creek, WI 54212