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What is Fiber Art?

Fiber Art Naples

Fiber Art Naples

Since the beginning of humanity, people have used creativity throughout their lives. Thousands of years ago, people discovered they could use plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct functional objects to make their lives easier. While constructing items for practical use, they also found that they could add decorative details. As they grew in creativity, people began to create artworks that served no practical function; the focus was on the materials and the process of constructing the pieces, with the priority placed on the aesthetic value over utility of the finished pieces. When people began creating things from natural fibers purely for visual enjoyment, they engaged in what has come to be known as fiber art.

Fiber art refers to the field of fine art that involves the use of natural or synthetic fibers and other elements such as fabric or yarn, to create decorative artworks. “The term fiber art came into use by curators and art historians to describe the work of the artist-craftsman following World War II,” according to WikiArt. “Those years saw a sharp increase in the design and production of “art fabric.” In the 1950s, as the contributions of craft artists became more recognized…an increasing number of weavers began binding fibers into nonfunctional forms as works of art.” All artists face the dilemma of explaining what art is–people outside of the art world tend to want an objective and definitive answer. This is much more of an issue for fiber artists (and others who have practiced handicrafts) because their work historically has been associated more with practical utility than aesthetics. The fiber arts were born in the earliest days of humanity, but only really have been recognized as fine art since the 18th century.

Some examples of fiber arts techniques include quilting, weaving, knitting, and crochet; these are some of the most well-known techniques. Quilting is the process of sewing layers of fabric together, while weaving is a method in which two sets of yarn/thread are interlaced to form fabric or cloth. Knitting and crochet are similar; each involves creating fabric by twisting and looping strands together. Many fiber artists practice a variety of techniques, but specialize in just one or two. Regardless of which fiber arts techniques they use, their creations are certainly pieces of fine art to be appreciated.

The Naples Art District is home to the largest concentration of working fine artists in the Southwest Florida area, with over 80 professional creatives maintaining studios and galleries there. The Naples Art District (NAD) member artists work with a wide variety of art mediums and share their artistic processes with visitors to the District via gallery exhibits and special events like art walks and demonstrations/workshops; their hope is that people are encouraged to learn more about and gain a greater appreciation of the creative fine arts. If you are interested in learning more, plan a visit to check out the work of NAD member artists, including fiber artists Leigh Herndon and Lynn Fishbach Miller. NAD publishes a calendar of events, classes, and workshops online for anyone interested in learning more about the arts from NAD member artists. Contact the Naples Art District online or by phone at 239-249-1977 any time.