Friday, June 3, 2011

Blinking In The Daylight

You don't have to be a near-sighted, astigmatic stitcher with aging eyes to identify with this: After three months of staying focused approximately nine inches from the tip of my nose, this week I looked up and my eyes didn't want to adjust. Suddenly, it's summer and I'm blinking in bright light that's no longer reflected off of snow.

So Tuesday's 400-mile round-trip drive to the Keweeenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan was balm for my eyes as well as my spirit. Instead of spending a day packaging and shipping 17 pieces for a show, I took a day off and delivered them in person. It was a beautiful drive, and a pleasure to visit with Lynn Anderson and Ed Gray at Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet, Michigan.

The Fiber Show there, which also includes the work of Karen Tembruell and Bill & Linda Sumner, opens tonight and runs through June 29.

The work I'm showing is a textile essay called Night Vision. I spend my share of the wee small hours staring at moonshadows and trying to make sense of things. Night Vision is about the patterns and stories we see in the margins of sleep and contemplation, and the fresh start we get each morning.

Within The Eye by Donna Kallner
This work is really a celebration of new beginnings, so I wanted to use recycled textiles to tell these stories of renewal. You may notice the influence of Japanese boro layering and Indian kantha embroidery as well as references to my Midwestern farm upbringing (where we didn't call it "recycling"). I incorporated sheets and pillowcases, blankets, dish towels, tablecloths, garments, and fabrics used in class demonstrations and studio samples.

Night Shift by Donna Kallner
Looping is also a recurring element in these pieces, many of which include looped fillings or netting, a knotted form of looping. For me, looping is more than a technique. It's part of the contemplative process, and a commentary on how everything is connected to what came before and what is yet to come.

Valkyrie detail, by Donna Kallner
On Wednesday, June 22 there will be a special reception at the gallery in conjunction with Northern Wefts, the Midwest Weavers Association biennial conference, which will be held in nearby Hancock, Michigan. I hope to see some of you there! In the meantime, I'll post some of the pictures I took (when I remembered to take them) while making pieces in the show.


  1. Hi Donna,
    I really enjoyed your post. I have taken a looping class from you long ago and feel that your class taught so much about opening up to the process. Your writing reflects this and I feel fortunate to use your blog to be inspired. Many thanks!

    Paulette Attie

  2. It's nice to hear from you again, Paulette! Thank you for your kind words.

  3. I love your work and your creative mind. thanks for showing me all the pics, cant decide which is my favorite they are all so beautiful

  4. Thanks, Jeannie. Now to order that item you recommended...


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