Saturday, June 27, 2009


Here’s a schedule of current and upcoming classes taught by members of Fiber Art Options:

House Rules
with Susan Brubaker Knapp
Online at
Starts Nov. 3; $50 for five lessons.

Embellished Travel Journal and Memory Book
with Janet Lasher
Online at
Starts Nov. 12; $38 for three lessons.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fiber Art Options welcomes two new members

Last month, Fiber Art Options brought two new members into the group: K. Grace Howes and Deborah Michael Langsam. You can read more about them in the posts that follow this one. Welcome, y’all! – Susan

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deborah Michael Langsam

“Circuitous” might be the word to describe Deborah’s path to art. The colors, shapes, and textures of fungal spores led her to a doctorate in botany from Duke University and a career as a biologist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. After twenty two years her attraction to the visual and tactile took a different turn … this time in the direction of textiles.

Working now as “Barking Dog Fiber Art,” Deborah creates contemporary wall-hangings and fiber art wearables. Her wall-hangings combine traditional quilting techniques and fabrics with an array of unique materials — photo transfers, beads, and found objects — to form original contemporary designs that play with color, texture, and light. Many of her pieces incorporate urban images and some of her most recent works draw on these images to form fabric mosaics and landscapes.

“Fiber art marries two of my passions … science and art,” says Deborah. “At the core, science and art projects are pretty similar: you usually need a little precision, a bunch of trial-and-error experimentation, and then a whole lot of creative problem-solving. And just as in science - where there’s always a story behind a discovery – there’s also always a story behind the fabric and stitching.”

In addition to private collections across the country, Deborah’s work can be found at Maddi’s Gallery and at Beet Contemporary Crafts & Functional Art (both in Charlotte, NC). The proceeds from Barking Dog Fiber Art are donated to SupportWorks, a non-profit charity in Charlotte, NC that helps people find and form support groups and research medical information.


Havdalah I (2007) 20" x 20"

Tikkun Olam II (2006) 15" x 44"

Under the Watchful Eye of Queen Charlotte (2009) 28" x 46"

Under the Watchful Eye of Queen Charlotte detail (2009) 28" x 46"

Me'irah's Quilt: Study of Torah is Equal to Them All (2007) 33" x 22"

Driving Up to the Penguin (2008) 25" x 58"

I Wish I Had a River (2007) 15" x 39"

I Wish I Had a River detail

K. Grace Howes

“I have always been fascinated by fabric – it’s texture, its versatility, its ability to be manipulated and still be a tactile piece of woven material.”

K. Grace Howes has worked with fiber for most of her life, first making garments for clients in her native Bahamas then, with a family move to North Carolina, shifting her focus to quilts. This shift in how she worked with fabric eventually evolved into the fiber art pieces she now produces.

Grace’s work is a process of exploration whereby she creates pieces that are mostly abstract in nature using colour and form in a non-representational way. As she describes it “I play endlessly with line and shape, letting a piece speak to me as I try to map out its formation.”

These days you can find Grace in her studio making quilted artworks, playing with paper and fabric to produce her handmade journals and sketchbooks or up to her elbows dyeing or adding surface design to fabric.

With her fascination for colour, deeply rooted in her cultural history, and a connection and adherence to her own spiritual authenticity, Grace’s journey in art making is a never ending process.


Red Moon (2009) 17-1/2" x 19"

Mother Love (2008) 29" x 25"

GreenPiece (2008) 10" x 9"

The Place to Be (2007) 11" x 9"

Breathe (2009) journal

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What next?

I think I am almost done with the embroidery on this piece. I have really enjoyed working on it, and it was the perfect thing for me to take to the beach last week; very portable and small. I have decided to call it “Petri Dish Promenade,” because the circles are starting to look more and more like the circular petri dishes used to cultivate bacteria in the lab. Now I have to decide how I am going to finish this piece. I'm considering a frame of pieced hand-dyed fabrics.

The entire piece is shown above, and a detail shot is below. You can see more info and detail photos on my blog here.