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Sylvia Warner with her tapestry Los Pinos Valley, Tap Chime Series

Cochiti Pueblo, fiber art tapestry, by Sylvia Warner

East Meets West, organic series, fiber art tapestry, by Sylvia Warner

Signpost featured artist

The fabric of nature: The fiber art of Sylvia Warner

~Oli Robbins

For fiber artist Sylvia Warner, the artistic process is an intuitive one. She thinks deeply about the ways in which colors and forms interact with one another and sometimes spends months quietly considering a subject before she begins depicting it. Says Warner, “weaving takes careful, diligent attention... As I work over at least a month’s time, everything in my life at that time converges into the work on the loom.” She’s “only” been creating visual art for two of her seven decades—starting at age 56 after early retirement—but believes that her artistic training has been ongoing. Over the years, friends and colleagues have, at times, opined it “strange” that Warner waited so long to settle into the artistic world. But, as Warner explains, “there was never any waiting period. I was always artistic.”

Growing up on a small Michigan farm, Warner developed a great love for nature and music. Despite having little disposable income, her parents facilitated her musical instruction. She was awarded a scholarship to Albion College, where she studied piano (which, alongside cello, she still plays) and majored in chemistry and German. Warner notes that music continues to contribute to her approach to art, “especially regarding rhythm, color, and mood.” Says Warner, “My work on piano always pulled me, internally, toward the arts.” And when she traveled to Germany to further learn the language, she was inspired by the many museums and galleries that she visited.

At the young age of twenty, Warner finished an MA in English Language and Literature. Only one year after teenage-hood, she began teaching students at the college level—many of whom were older than her. Warner’s career as a professor was a long and fulfilling one. Over the course of over thirty years, she taught the English language, literature, creative writing, mythology, and film in both the United States and Canada (where she immigrated during the Vietnam War and later attained citizenship).

With her dear friend and fellow artist, painter, and photographer Zsombor Gyokossy, Warner reestablished herself in the States after several decades in Canada. Gyokossy designed and built Warner’s current home and studio, which she describes as a small hogan-style chalet tucked into a horseshoe canyon outside of Cuba, New Mexico. Her home’s many archways and skylights allow her to gaze upon the surrounding mountainous environment. Warner’s move to New Mexico coincided with her retirement from teaching in a formal, academic setting. She switched sides of the classroom and became a student herself, enrolling in a silk painting course in Santa Fe, which led to the study of weaving at Northern New Mexico College, in El Rito. Says Warner, “There I was the only student fascinated by pictorial tapestry work, so my instructor the second year just let me go ahead with this passion.” Her segue into fabric art was a natural one due to her upbringing, wherein her mother often tasked herself with domestic upholstery ventures. Says Warner, “My mother loved fabric and I was pushed to silk my whole life.”

Warner’s artistic training progressed in the form of workshops from master fiber artists (such as Rebecca Bluestone and Ted Hallman) and those offered at the Española Fiber Arts Guild. After about four years of studying, she became her own teacher, in her own studio (Coyote Zen Fiber Arts Studio), and began several major projects. Recently she began creating mobile works with a “three-dimensional emphasis”—something she hopes to expand upon in the coming year in the form of touchable and twirl-able works. Says Warner, “My works are often quite organic, including bark, feathers, twigs and, more recently, sculpted images. I love relaxing into felt work which allows me to be more freely expressive.”

Just as her mother instilled within her a love for the fiber arts, her father awakened her to the joys of nature. Says Warner, “To me, life itself is a fine art, as your relationships with partners, neighbors, and most importantly your surrounding environment determines what you express in art.”

She continues, “I spend at least four to five hours each day outside and grow restless if this pattern is interrupted. I sketch, solve problems that come up while weaving by laying on my back in my nearby yoga arroyo looking at the sky and tall Ponderosas swaying, my loyal Red Heeler, “Bravo” at my side. This is part of my work.”

And even though writing and narrative occupied Warner for so many decades as a teacher, her work now is less about story-telling and more about a respect for and exchange with nature. Those who look at her pieces are not “viewers” to Warner, but rather “participators.” She hopes that her work, by being approachable and accessible, will bring these lookers—these active participants—closer to nature. Parts of her works will sometimes appear as if a mirage—“like seeing a pueblo on a distant hill, part of the land with perhaps a lot of sand blowing in as well.”

Warner’s appreciation for and enjoyment playing with the English language didn’t end with her retirement. She still writes and has co-authored more than ten books with Gyokossy. Their self-published series, The Mind’s Eye of Artist and Poet, includes Gyokossy’s photographic images alongside Warner’s writing. Says Warner, “He and I would do a general layout of a work and then I would take a “set” of about four to five of his very evocative images and simply write to them—like good musicians play off of each other’s inspirations.”

To access Warner and Gyokossy’s books, visit www.blurb.com/user/Zsombor. You can view Warner’s visual works in person by contacting the artist directly at warnermail11@gmail.com or at the Jemez Fine Art Gallery—a collective that fits well with Warner, who thrives on artistic collaboration and conversation.


Amistar music schedule

Local band, Amistar, has two gigs coming up. The first is on September 5, at the Central New Mexico Labor Council’s annual Labor Day Picnic in Albuquerque’s Tiguex Park. Food, information kiosks, face painting, and more will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The mission of the Central New Mexico Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation. The second is on September 12, at 3:00 p.m., at the New Mexico State Fair’s Indian Village.


Joan Fenicle

Joan Fenicle wins Local Treasures award

For the ninth year, the Albuquerque Art Business Association is honoring area artists who not only excel in the arts, but who have given back to their communities. By sharing their time, talent and passion, they help give birth to the next generation of art lovers and artists and sustain the hope that New Mexico will continue to be home to thousands of working artists for many years to come.

This year, they will honor nine exceptional artists as Local Treasures, including Placitan Joan Fenicle. Joan is an accomplished photographer and oil painter and has been a volunteer for many causes in, and around, Albuquerque. Most recently, Joan has volunteered with Las Placitas Association in the planning and development of the local radio station (KUPR 99.9 FM) in Placitas which has been on the air since February of 2015. She was nominated by Framing Concepts Gallery in Albuquerque where there will be an opening reception on September 2.

The other award winners are: Lyla Garcia, Phil Hulebak, Carol Maestas, Pat Marsello, Lee McVey, Marcia Sednek, Jorge Tristani, Alice Webb.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History on September 4, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. In addition, there will be receptions for the artists at sponsoring galleries throughout the fall. The awards ceremony is free and open to the public. Keynote speaker will be Manuel Gonzalez, Albuquerque Poet Laureate.


¡Globalquerque! brings World Music to ABQ

~Tom Frouge

¡Globalquerque!, New Mexico’s Annual Celebration of World Music and Culture, the Southwest’s biggest world music and culture party, will again descend on the beautiful National Hispanic Cultural Center on September 23 and 24 along the banks of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque. We are celebrating an even dozen years of successfully mixing the most eclectic lineups of world-class acts from across the planet.

Among the fun and educational activities are family-focused workshops with visiting performers, talks and presentations, international dance lessons, film, the ¡GlobalCOOKIE! decorating contest, Planet Music (a musical instrument “petting zoo”), instrument building for kids of all ages, and other hands-on, cultural craft making.

Tickets can be found at www.globalquerque.org/ tickets.html. Tickets are also available in person at the NHCC box office or by calling 724-4771. For more information on performers, films, tickets, hotel rates, visit www.globalquerque.org/globalvillage.html.


Phyllis M. Skoy reads from her novel set in Turkey

Local author Phyllis M. Skoy has two public readings coming up. The first is on August 28, at 3:00 p.m., at Page 1, and the second is on September 25, at Bookworks. Skoy’s book, What Survives, is set in Turkey in turbulent times. She has now set out to write the prequel to What Survives with a working title of Fatma, Daughter of the Prophet that will take place during the forming of the Republic of Turkey.


Bernalillo Library hosts Speaker Series

~Kathy Banks

The Town of Bernalillo Public Library will be hosting a Speaker Series throughout the Fall. All of the following lectures begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Town of Bernalillo Martha Liebert Public Library.

  • September 10: The Art of the Fetish, presented by Kent McManis
  • September 24: Life in the Stone Age, presented by Paul Fourhorns Tenoso
  • October 1: Wine Making in Bernalillo, presented by John Rinaldi
  • October 8: Japanese Porcelain Art in New Mexico, presented by Kathryne Cyman
  • October 22: Where Art and Science Come Together, presented by Ray Petersen
  • November 5: The Early New Mexico Art Colonies and How They Thrived, presented by Steve Goode

Willy Sucre

Placitas Artists Series kicks off season with string quartets by Arriga and Dvořák

The Placitas Artists Series begins its thirtieth season with Willy Sucre and Friends presenting “String Quartets.” The concert, which takes place at 3:00 p.m. on September 18, features Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga’s String Quartet No. 1 in D minor and Antonín Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 51.

Modern audiences are very familiar with Dvořák’s work. Arriaga, often referred to after his death in 1826 as “the Spanish Mozart,” is infrequently performed, in part because he died at age twenty and left a fairly small body of work. 

In this concert, violist Willy Sucre will be joined by violinists Krzysztof Zimowski and Carol Swift-Matton, and cellist Lisa Donald.

Prior to the concert, a 2:00 p.m. visual artists reception will feature the artwork of Robert Benjamin, giclées of oils; Patricia Gould, oil and acrylic; Karuna Karam, mixed media; and Sean Moon, acrylic and pencil. Their works, which are for sale, will be on display from September 3 through September 30.

The concert and visual artist reception take place at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in the village of Placitas, located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (Exit 242). The facility is completely accessible.

Tickets for the concert will be available at the door one hour before the concert or may be purchased in advance. For ticket details, see page 2, this Signpost. For more information call 867-8080, email info@PlacitasArtistsSeries.org, or visit www.PlacitasArtistsSeries.org.


Corrales Historical Society “Speaker Series”---Movies made in New Mexico

On September 8, starting at 7:00 p.m., film historian, freelance film writer, and author, Jeff Berg will present a program of film clips from movies made in New Mexico. Films featured will include “The Milagro Beanfield War,” “Red Sky at Morning,” and “True Grit,” among many others. After each of the short film clips, Jeff will give details about the film, such as locations, stars, and other interesting highlights to amuse and inform his audience. Held at the Old San Ysidro Church—966 Old Church Road, across from Casa San Ysidro. The event is free and open to the public.


 

Boxes, by Amy Sproul; Silence Speaks Poets Rhyme, by Vicki Bolen; Paper furnishings, by Bonnie Hayes

Oh Sheet! . . . Paperworks!

“Oh, Sheet...Paperworks!” is the September Art Exhibit at the Placitas Community Library. Three paper-loving artists have folded, sculpted, and constructed useful and inspirational objects from pulp, sheets, rolls, and corrugated boards.

Amy Sproul incorporates many of the Southwest’s strangely beautiful, desert-adapted plants and seeds into her unique boxes, collages, journals, and handmade paper. (www.botanicoarts.com)

Vicki Bolen delights adults and children alike with her chains of whimsical origami garden cranes, handmade greeting cards, boxes, journals, and poetic paper quilt wall hangings.  (www.vickibolen.com)

Bonnie Hayes just likes to make stuff...lots of stuff, ranging in size from earrings to convertible sofas. Most of it begins as recycled paper and U-Haul boxes. (bonnhayes@gmail.com).

Meet these charming, obsessed women and enjoy seeing their imaginative creations at their free public reception at the library on Friday, September 9, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Their work will be on display from Saturday, September 3 through Thursday, September 29.


Regina Ress

Compassion, generosity, grace: a program of stories from 9/11

~Regina Ress

The morning of September 11, 2001, I was at my computer, trying to sort out which of the many NYC mayoral candidates to vote for in that day’s primary, when a low flying aircraft—sounding very much like a roaring demon set free from the underworld—flew directly overhead, shaking the foundation of my one hundred year old apartment building. I thought it was some idiot helicopter pilot showing off. It was not. And that plane, the first of four we’d be seeing in the news that day, didn’t just shake my building—it shook the world. The war was in my backyard.

Because I lived one and a half miles directly north of the World Trade Center, I found myself at the edge of the center of that disaster. I was far enough away to be okay. I was close enough to participate in what became an extraordinary outpouring of help, first from us locals, then the country, then the world.

After securing my own reality (the first thing I did was fill all my pots and jars with water), I hit the streets and found myself in a buzzing community of good people reaching out to help. That day and for days, weeks, and months, I found myself as neighbor, then as a teacher of both children and adults, participating in something most of us only see on TV: disaster relief.

Beginning with that day, my stories include helping Mother Teresa’s nuns make sandwiches for the rescue workers, braving a cordon of NYC police to bring soup to my local fire house, telling stories to, and being told stories in return, by middle school children three days after the attack, and visiting an almost forgotten tribe in the remote rainforest of Costa Rica who wanted to understand what had happened in NY so they could do something to help. The stories are heart warming, often funny, and always human.

The hijackers thought only of loosing terror. Instead, what I witnessed was a tidal wave of compassion, generosity, and grace in response to that horrific attack. The terrorists’ act of anger prompted hundreds of thousands of acts of love. Please come and let me tell you about it. You will feel better about human beings.

I am a long-time resident of the fabled Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, and an award-winning storyteller, actor, and author, a two-time winner of the National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Award, and my CD, New York and Me, won the 2014 Storytelling World Honor Award.

Join me at the Placitas Community Library on September 10, at 2:00 p.m.

 
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