Showcasing the Arts


Jan. 2013 Featured Artist: Philis Alvic

Philis Alvic After completing my new wonderful studio, I had expected my work to continue along similar lines of the past, exploring the visual complexities of woven pattern structure in a two-dimensional format. With the new space, my work opened up and moved into three dimensions. I sought to take advantage of the property of fabric to drape. Throughout my career, I have respected the textile properties of the material that comes from my loom. Rejecting armatures, the fabric hangs or drapes as gravity dictates.

For more than 25 years, I have been a member of the Sixteens sample exchange group. Each year we receive an assignment to use a weave structure with creativity that utilizes all 16 pattern harnesses on our looms. I send out my samples to others in the group and receive 20 samples in return that explore the wide range of possibilities within complex pattern weaving. Membership in this group has reinforced an early interest in using the loom as part of the creative process to produce intricate design figures and varied surface textures. Over the years I have been challenged to explore new directions, sometimes reluctantly.

Knowledge gained from participating in the Sixteens is now applied to my current “Portal” series. Not only am I employing the draping properties of fabric, but the new work contrasts many different weave structures within one piece. Previously my major large panels were executed entirely at the loom, needing only minimal finishing when cut off. This required careful planning and monitoring of color interactions and proportions during the weaving. Because the work was essentially one length of materials, it used only one weave structure. Now, because pieces are constructed of several lengths of fabric, many different types of structures and patterns play off of one another.

My work utilizes commercially spun and dyed yarns. Always jealous of my time to weave, I rejected the many hours of fiber preparation and the mastering of dye formulas. Because color has always been a major factor in my work, I have learned to combine yarns and take advantage of the optical mixing of color that occurs when yarns are interlaced. The surface is enhanced by using a variety of thread textures.

The pieces I created during the last several years are part of the “Portal” series that suggest transformation, change and emergence. Visually the work hints at doors or windows, moving through or looking out, and contemplating. The method of construction with draping and combining of elements emphasizes the content of this series. As the “Portal” series represents change within my own thinking, I hope it will inspire others to examine transitions within their lives.

Philis Alvic
Lexington, Ky.



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