A Field Trip to Goggleworks

I had an amazing day today, and met another amazing fiber artist - another Quilt National fiber artist - I'm such a groupie!

Today a friend and I took a trip to Reading, about an hours ride due west from Philadelphia, to visit the Goggleworks. The Goggleworks, named after the factory building it inhabits which used to make, you guessed it, goggles - is a gallery and artists studio cooperative. There is nothing like the Goggleworks in the Philadelphia area. Washington DC has the Torpedo Factory which functions along the same lines, but personally I think the Goggleworks is far superior.

Goggleworks is currently hosting a fiber exhibit which ends April 18th. You are welcomed into the gallery containing the fiber exhibit by an absolutely amazing work by Mary Stoudt, a past participant in Quilt National at the Dairy Barn. I love Mary's work - her sense of color and her ability to capture light make her compositions electric.

Mary actually has studio space in the Goggleworks and much to our delight was in her studio today. Meet Mary! My friend Nancy Cosmos and I had a delightful visit with Mary - we saw many of her works up close and personal and had the opportunity to discuss her technique and quilting philosophy. Mary's quilts are raw edge, never fused, and typically quilted on a grid. She paints and dyes much of her fabric. She has a wonderful new piece hanging in her studio of a cityscape. In addition to her quilts she showed us some felted pieces, beaded works and even pottery that she's been working on. She informed us she is typically in her studio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'd love to return to visit with Mary and watch her construction process - hmmm - wonder if I'll be invited --- Mary???

This is another quilt of Mary's from the exhibit - it is made of layers of wools - very 3-D.

I've been having a number of "coincidental occurrences" lately - I find them a smidge unsettling and creepy - well it happened again today. We found this beautiful woven piece by Karen Henderson in the gallery - I just love the way the path draws you into the trees.

When I got home this afternoon I went to my computer to up load my photos only to find this postcard on my computer. I put the postcard there yesterday - I found it in my sewing room and I wanted to make a point to find time to look the artist up on line. The postcard, from Karen Henderson, is from November 2009 when she was showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. The photo on the postcard is of her piece, Perseverance - same quilt I saw in the show today. See - unsettling, right?

I think this piece is interesting, Float by Amanda Salm, woven from horse hair.

This "playful" little piece is special - Le Sudoku de l'Artiste, by Barbara J. Walker - a woven sudoku game using found objects for the numbers.

Faye Youse created this beautiful 3 dimensional, felted piece titled Survival. It reminds me of my walk at French Creek this past weekend.

Apparently the Goggleworks made more than just goggles. Ladies - don't leave the house today without your Saf-T-Bra - - - Protection For Women in Industry! At least they had perforations to allow for air exchange - you know how uncomfortable it can be when your breasts sweat! Now, come on - who thought of this, and more importantly, who wore this????

An interesting observation about the Goggleworks - it's in Reading, PA - a town which has suffered from a lot of bad press as a result of their significant issues with rising crime. The establishment of the Goggleworks in a "difficult" area of Reading created an opportunity for people to return to Reading for entertainment. The Goggleworks neighborhood now boasts an Imax theater and an indie theater (in the Goggleworks). A hotel has also moved into the area, as well as multiple other businesses. Folks - this is what art can bring about - - - It creates a reason to gather, creates discussion, and enlightens all of us.