The threads that bind

The threads that bind
“Healing Stick of Hope and Dreams” by Donna Lee Gallo
  • “The Dressing Room” by Judy Gula

By Louise Krafft

“Connecting Threads,” an exhibit celebrating how fiber connects us, opened Nov. 2 in the Del Ray Artisans Gallery at the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center.

Show curators Dawn Wyse Hurto and Liz Martinez worked closely on the exhibit with show sponsor Artistic Artifacts’ Judy Gula and DRA member Christine Vinh. Gula has spent a lifetime working with fabric, weaving, spinning, dying and collecting it. With a degree in fashion design and marketing, Gula now focuses on making art quilts and samples.

“After touring the show, I was impressed by the unique group of artwork and interpretations of the theme, ‘Connecting Threads,’” Gula said.

DRA president Drew Cariaso also highlighted a few of the works.

“The many creative works [in the show] include the roving/felt piece by 101-year old artist Maria Kennedy, the post-apocalyptic wearable art by leather artist Lynn Fernandez, and the poem about a beloved quilt worked into a touching piece by Jenny Nicholson,” Cariaso said.

Nicholson combines watercolor, gouache and calligraphy to transcribe a passage from Marguerite Ickes in “Anonymous Was a Woman.”

Below is a passage of Ickes quoting her great-grandmother:

“It took me more than 20 years, nearly 25, I reckon, in the evenings after supper when the children were all put to bed. My whole life is in that quilt. It scares me sometimes when I look at it. All my joys and all my sorrows are stitched into those pieces. … So they are all in the quilt, my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, my loves and hates. I tremble sometimes what that quilt knows about me.”

“Rebecca, Art Pillow” by Sandra Owusu-Ansah adds reclaimed materials, specifically up-cycled Venetian blind linen cords, with yarn, muslin, fabric, beads and colored pencils. After weaving a tube with a green yarn warp and the Venetian blind linen strips, Owusu-Ansah worked on the face.

The image was inspired by a neighbor’s coloring book page of an angel. Owusu-Ansah finished off the pillow with beadwork she made while sitting with her dad as he underwent chemotherapy.

Another item not to be missed is the 2D piece, “What that quilt knows about me.” 

“The Dressing Room” by Gula, a fiber, mixed-media art quilt offers up a memory of times past. Step back and look again at Shauna Shiff’s, “Rain Rolled in Quilt.” Think of looking out across the way on a rainy night – darkness except for the rain on the window and the blurred colors from lights in the distance.

Connecting Threads features 98 pieces created by 55 artists. The Curator’s Choice Awards were presented to Ly Fernandez for “Post-Apocalyptic Apothecarist” and Rusty Lynn for “An Autumn Trifle.”

Artistic Artifacts gave awards to Barbara Prentice for “A la Monana Memorial Lanterns” and “What that quilt knows about me” by Nicholson.

Gula, summing up the show that runs through Nov. 25, said, “Such diversity. As you enter the gallery, beautiful tactile work surrounds you in a wide range of mediums, from 2D to 3D, even words jump off the page and fiber cries out to be touched … but please only touch with your eyes.”

Two additional workshops are being offered in conjunction with this show. On Nov. 15, Hand Stitch will be held at Artistic Artifacts on Eisenhower Avenue. On Nov. 17, a needle felted jewelry workshop at the Colasanto Center is on the calendar. Registration is required for both workshops. Del Ray Artisans is collecting donations of new towels, any type, for the Carpenter’s Shelter from now until Nov. 25.

The Del Ray Gallery is located at 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Gallery hours are Thursday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. For more information, see

Louise Krafft is a freelance photographer and writer who lives in Alexandria.