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Craftmakers create work inspired by wellspring theme 

Nothing is tiny enough to go unused. San Luis Obispo fiber artist Kate Froman is slowly working her way through a seemingly endless supply of fabric scraps.

About a year ago, Froman decided she would only work with the scraps and bolts of cotton and silk already in a stash at her studio before she bought any more fabric to create with. So far, she hasn't reached the bottom of the barrel, so to speak.

click to enlarge LEFTOVER Instead of buying new supplies, fiber artist Kate Froman is trying to use all of her leftover fabric scraps to make pieces like A Rare Desert Bloom. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE FROMAN
  • Photo Courtesy Of Kate Froman
  • LEFTOVER Instead of buying new supplies, fiber artist Kate Froman is trying to use all of her leftover fabric scraps to make pieces like A Rare Desert Bloom.

"I have a hard time throwing away silk, so a lot of the tiny pieces find their way into my art," Froman told New Times. "Part of it is the ecological thing. Part of it is not leaving this stuff for my kids to deal with. Part of it is seeing what I can do with it. It's a puzzle."

click to enlarge ROOTS SLO fiber artist Kate Froman grew up learning to sew and embroider from her mom, and today she creates wall hangings like What Trees Whisper. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE FROMAN
  • Photo Courtesy Of Kate Froman
  • ROOTS SLO fiber artist Kate Froman grew up learning to sew and embroider from her mom, and today she creates wall hangings like What Trees Whisper.

Froman's work, along with pieces by other members of the Central Coast Craftmakers, is currently on display at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art as part of the Wellspring exhibit.

Kate grew up learning how to sew and embroider from her mom and later found her way to fiber art.

"The lines are blurred now," Froman said. "Craft makers used to not be considered artists. Like a lot of people, I have a hard time with the A-word."

Froman's fiber art wall hangings are colorful, delicate, and whimsical. Her piece A Rare Desert Bloom features bright, multi-colored pinwheel style flowers popping out against a brown background, while her other piece, What Trees Whisper, incorporates different nature print fabrics and tiny fabric scraps with "sun," "wind," "rest," and other words written on them.

"It's so eclectic," Froman said of her art. "It's soft and free, a lot of rough edges."

San Luis Obispo artist Meryl Perloff has been a member of the Central Coast Craftmakers since its inception in the late 1970s. Her medium of choice? Books.

"I'm a maker of artists' books that focus on presenting the work as a piece of art rather than a functional book, although artists' books use features of a traditional book in nontraditional ways," she said.

Her artist book Chorus displays a pop-up page featuring a trio of passionate singers, musical notes, and the caption "Coming Round the Mountain."

As a New Orleans native, Perloff took inspiration from her hometown in her piece, Voodoo, which opens up to reveal a classical illustration of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus.

"Voodoo is celebrated as one of the city's mysteries and attractions and is easily woven into the fabric of America's most interesting city," Perloff said.

Perloff often creates her own illustrations, block prints, and collages for her artists' books, but she also pulls images from other sources to bring her three-dimensional work to life.

click to enlarge UNTRADITIONAL Meryl Perloff's artist books, like Chorus, use the traditional features of a functional boon in nontraditional ways. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MERYL PERLOFF
  • Photo Courtesy Of Meryl Perloff
  • UNTRADITIONAL Meryl Perloff's artist books, like Chorus, use the traditional features of a functional boon in nontraditional ways.

"It pushes the envelope of what we think of as a book," Perloff said of the medium. "The pieces that I create deliver information as a book would, but it does so in a nontraditional way."

Perloff said she hopes that people take away something unexpected after viewing her work in the Wellspring exhibit.

"I'm hoping it gives them an opportunity to look at things in a different light," she said, "that it might inspire them to take a different point of view." Δ

Arts Writer Ryah Cooley is slowly working on the craft of hand lettering. Contact her at rcooley@newtimesslo.com.

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