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Cambria Center for the Arts' Entanglements III show highlights fiber artists 

Tangled and textured

You'll walk right into it if you're not paying attention.

Suspended from the Cambria Center for the Arts (CCA) ceiling, Spring Rain's strands extend down 8 feet down from the light fixture at the center of the building's foyer.

Woven into mesh, yarn-wrapped jute cords depict an abstract landscape in blues, greens, and browns while single strings rain down alongside them. They hang below a canvas of clouds—pillow stuffing dyed in various grays and wrapped in mesh.

click to enlarge SPRING RAIN Cambria-based artist Carolyn Chambers took on this 8-foot-long installation piece hanging at the Cambria Center for the Arts thanks to inspiration from Lenore Tawney and Olga de Amaral, who transformed textile and fiber art in the mid-20th century. - PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • SPRING RAIN Cambria-based artist Carolyn Chambers took on this 8-foot-long installation piece hanging at the Cambria Center for the Arts thanks to inspiration from Lenore Tawney and Olga de Amaral, who transformed textile and fiber art in the mid-20th century.

"It was certainly interesting to make and to do and to get it there and get it installed. There were all kinds of challenges with making something that big," Cambria-based artist Carolyn Chambers said. "I've never done anything that big before or even that kind of work before, but I was inspired by some of the vibrant artists in the 1960s and '70s who were weavers."

In particular, Chambers said artists Lenore Tawney and Olga de Amaral influenced the piece she created for CCA's Entanglements III show running through June 26. Both Tawney and de Amaral started off as weavers and "then went off into very crazy fiber art," she said. They moved from traditional loom work into more abstract works, transforming what was possible to create with fibers and textiles in the process—turning a mostly two-dimensional art form into a three-dimensional one.

"I could just see their creativity was just amazing when they got off the loom, which just confined them so much with fibers up-and-down and back-and-forth," Chambers said. "It really just inspired me so much to watch this transition."

click to enlarge LAST DROP OF WATER Using found objects, Carolyn Chambers recycles fabric and paper by attaching them to a canvas. It’s reminiscent of a quilt design that Chambers said she liked. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLYN CHAMBERS
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLYN CHAMBERS
  • LAST DROP OF WATER Using found objects, Carolyn Chambers recycles fabric and paper by attaching them to a canvas. It’s reminiscent of a quilt design that Chambers said she liked.

As Chambers made her own transition from using found textiles, fiber, and paper on canvas to suspending yarn from above, she needed a little help. One of her friends built Chambers a frame from which she could hang the piece as she created it. The approximately 9-foot-tall frame sat under the vaulted ceiling in Chambers' Cambria living room for months.

She carried her love of repurposing used materials into the new project, using jute cords pulled from landscape netting she found on the side of the road and yarn scraps from friends and second-hand stores. Chambers also has some pieces in Studios on the Park's current show focused on reclaimed materials, Life Refurbished.

CCA volunteer and gallery committee member Wendy Wright said upcycling and recycling material is important to several of the artists featured in the Entanglements show, as are the tactile and textural components of working with fiber.

click to enlarge SIERRA MOONRISE Deborah Gedayloo from Los Osos has three pieces in the CCA’s Entanglements III show, including this needle-felted landscape. - PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • SIERRA MOONRISE Deborah Gedayloo from Los Osos has three pieces in the CCA’s Entanglements III show, including this needle-felted landscape.

Los Osos-based artist Debbie Gedayloo, who has three pieces in the show, said she likes having her hands in the art. Primarily focused on needle-felting, Gedayloo said the process of making fiber art is her way of taking care of herself.

She started needle-felting when she was taking care of her father after he had a stroke. She needed an outlet and said it's a quiet activity that brings her joy. After he passed away, Gedayloo also took care of her mother. And as the number of pieces she created while taking care of others grew, she knew she needed to start finding places for her art.

"My main focus is to do it for myself, and whatever designs I pick to do is because they are inspiring to me," Gedayloo, who also has an upcoming solo show in Morro Bay's Gallery at Marina Square, said. "I think having my joy in the whole process shines through in the finished work."

click to enlarge URBAN PLAYGROUND Sharon Rossi’s art quilt in the Entanglements III show depicts the common realities of recreational spaces in urban areas. “American children playing in woods and fields is the exception not the norm,” her artist statement said. “Often American children are playing in unimaginative urban playgrounds, if they have any open space for recreation at all.” - PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • PHOTO BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
  • URBAN PLAYGROUND Sharon Rossi’s art quilt in the Entanglements III show depicts the common realities of recreational spaces in urban areas. “American children playing in woods and fields is the exception not the norm,” her artist statement said. “Often American children are playing in unimaginative urban playgrounds, if they have any open space for recreation at all.”

Her pieces oscillate between brightly colored playful objects to landscapes and animal portraits. Sierra Moonrise, which almost looks like a painting in dark shades of browns and greens, sits across CCA's hall from another of her pieces in bright shades of the rainbow. A spiraling sun smiling out at the world.

"I need to do that bright, colorful, playful—I'm a deadhead—bright colorful tie-dye. I need to feed that part of me also," she said. "It's like these wild swings back and forth, and I constantly do that."

Gedayloo uses wool as her canvas with a special needle that has barbs on the end of it and fluffy colored wool that's similar in size and texture to cotton balls. As she pulls the wool through her fabric canvas, it knots the wool. She can mold it like clay or stitch extras onto the finished piece. The whole process, she said, is very forgiving.

Through her journey, she's learned to trust the creative process—where you may not end up with the vision you initially had in mind, and that's OK.

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