Fiber: No Boundaries, Innovative Cloth Artistry by Judy B. Dales, Delsie Hoyt and Amanda Weisenfeld opens in the Back Room Gallery of the Northeast kingdom Artisans Guild April 17.

These three Vermont craftswomen have taken the traditional utilitarian crafts of blanket, rug and wall cover beyond practical status, into the realm of art. Beginning with cloth, hands, needle and thread, these crafts have altered the aesthetic appeal into a deeper context, of emotion, enriching the viewer with fresh ideas and imagined ideals.

Judy B. Dales has influenced fellow quilters around the world, through exhibitions in solo and group shows, instructional books, and inclusion in art books, along with workshops and teaching sessions.  Judy writes a line in her artist statement that is echoed by the other two artists about their work:  “The techniques and materials I have chosen to work with influence, and sometimes restrict, my artistic choices.  I consider these limitations a challenge to both my creativity and skill. . . . These challenges ensure that each image is distilled to its purest form, stylized by still recognizable.” 

Delsie Hoyt, has shown her rugs in Folk life and Crafts Exhibitions, as well as I workshops as an instructor throughout the country.  Delsie writes “I was inspired by the complex artistry my Great-Grandmother, Annette “Nettie” Nelson, drew out of this simple craft over a century ago.  Nettie’s unique, braided “pinwheel” was a major break with rug making conventions of her time.”   Delsie continues this daring step beyond the ordinary in her unique designs stepping beyond the margins we expect in braiding.  She has also “stepped off the floor” into braiding wool into hats, bowls, table decor & boxes.

Amanda Weisenfeld calls herself a “traditional rolling, pounding, soapy water hand felter.”  She has turned what started as functional felt art into a story telling genre, featuring gnomes, ravens, foxes, porcupines, and all kinds of creatures including the Scandinavian Tomten, playing among the animals.  She also transforms these fantasies into fanciful illuminated lamps, storybook wall hangings, dolls  balls and cards.  Amanda states, “I started out as biology major, morphed into Environmental studies, and ended up finding my forever home in felt art.”

The Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild is located at 430 Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury.