Fiber National 2020

The Workhouse Arts Center is pleased to present the 3rd Biennial Fiber National Exhibition. This completely virtual exhibit is on display from May 13 – August 9, 2020. 

Fiber National showcases the best in contemporary fiber art from around the United States and highlights exciting, innovative artwork utilizing both traditional and non-traditional techniques.   

This juried show includes 29 pieces with the following awards:

Bunny Clark Award of Excellence  – Sandi Goldman, Stitching the Blues

Innovation in Fiber Arts Award   – Alex Younger, Abuse Patterns (Institutional Stripes)

Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery Award  – Gwen Lowery, Quarry

Surface Design Association Award of Excellence  – Andrea Finch, Magnolia Grandiflora III

Honorable Mention #1 – Barbara Hollinger, Pele’s Breath

Honorable Mention #2 – C. Pazia Mannella, Stained Glass

Juror – Trudi C. Van Dyke

Trudi C. Van Dyke is an independent curator and fine arts consultant who specializes in exhibitions of fiber and fine craft. She was formerly director of the Torpedo Factory Arts Center (Alexandria, VA) and the Ellipse Art Center (Arlington, VA). She travels around the country as a festival judge and conference speaker on the business of art and the adaptive reuse of facilities. She has curated numerous exhibitions in all media at galleries, embassies and international venues. Her jury experiences include Cherry Creek Fine Arts Festival (Colorado) and Festival of the Masters (Downtown Disney, Orlando, FL). She writes on the Arts for Fiber Arts Now Magazine, Elan Magazine and the Studio Art Quilt Association. She was an adjunct faculty member in the Masters in Arts Management Program at George Mason University where she developed a course in Gallery Management.

Studio Talk with Heidi Hooper

Studio Talk with Sarah Entsminger

Studio Talk with Annalisa Leonessa

Studio Talk with Eileen Doughty

Studio Talk with Vicky Somma

Studio Talk with Cindy Grisdela

Studio Talk with Sally Cooney Anderson

Studio Talk with Sophia Kelly Shultz

Artists and Artist Statements

For purchase inquiries, please contact Gallery Manager, Audrey Miller, at or (703) 584-2911.

Heidi Hooper, Frazetta's Egyptian Queen


24 in x 36 in
Dryer Lint

This is part of my series honoring artists I admire and was done with permission from the Frazetta estate. I always work the artist into the work, so that’s him leering from above

Kristina Penhoet, Identity Landscape


36 in x 24 in x 4 in
Wool Fiber/needle and wet felting

That which identifies us cannot define whom we become, just as abstractions of fingerprints become unimagined landscapes.

Sophia Shultz, Giant Tube Worms


14 in x 11 in x 1 in
Black cotton, single strand silk and perle cotton thread, applique

I have always had a fascination with the giant tube worms living in the precarious transitional zone between the freezing waters of the deep sea and the scathing heat of underwater volcanic vents.  Tube worms, which exist in conditions that would be toxic to humans are so different from us that they may as well be from another planet.  I felt that their beautiful grace would be an apt subject for a piece of embroidery.

Gerri Spilka, Oh, No


48 in x 50 in x ½ in
Procion MX dye printed and painted on cotton, machine quilted

Oh, No is part of my Urban Fabric series investigating the manipulation of the deconstructed silk screening process to create strong forms and interacting, unexpected color. The images recall experiences and memories of visible human-made and natural features, as well as people in my beloved city of Philadelphia.

Sharron Parker, Fire & Ice


15 in x 15 in x 3 in
Dyed unspun wool, yarns and stone beads; felting and stitching

Iceland is a fascinating place. It is full of contrasts — still active volcanoes and very old glaciers. On the coast is Diamond Beach, where chunks of ice caught the colors of the sunset and looked like jewels.

Ann Liddle, Happy Tree


45 in x 30 in x 10 in
Cotton, poly batting wood. Machine and hand sewing, stuffing

I saw a picture of a fabric tree made by another artist and it inspired me to make one of my own.  Mine looks nothing like hers!  As is mostly the case with sculptures, a large part of making them, after the inspiration, it is how to make it work and stand up.  It was a little trial and error.  I just wanted the outcome to be fun, hence the name “Happy Tree.”

Frauke Palmer, Blue Ghost


57 in x 48 in x 1 in
Digital composition, print, batting, backing, machine quilting

The power of water is beautifully demonstrated in the slot canyons of Arizona where rocks are carved by water into dramatic shapes and lit by the sun. In this composition I aim to defamiliarize the natural contours of these walls through tension between the representational and abstract. Personal photographs are manipulated, layered and rotated on the computer then professionally printed.

Sheila Gaquin, Blue Bike With Bread


35 in x 37 in
Commercial cottons, hand-dyed, hand painted fabrics

For years this rusty blue bike has leaned against the wall of the True Grain Bakery in Cowichan Bay, on Vancouver Island.  I’ve drawn the bakery and bike many times, but one summer I decided the time had come to stitch the bread and bike into a quilt.

Sandi Goldman, Stitching the Blues


31 ½ in x 47 in x ¼ in
Cotton fabric, indigo dye, shibori, wet cyan, cotton thread, cotton batting

Who knew the color of the year would be classic blue when I started “Stitching The Blues”? I wanted to re-purpose some gray blocks so, I added some shibori stitching and threw them in an indigo pot. And lucky for me they went perfectly with the leaf print squares I had previously created. The subtle lights and dark’s in the blues were apparent to me as I hand stitched the lines throughout this piece.

Gwen Lowey, Quarry


11 ½ in x 12 ½ in
Rayon thread stitched on Lutradur

While in Carrara, Italy, we discovered an abandoned marble quarry. I was inspired by the light and shadow, the lines and angles, the juxtaposition of weeds and abandoned equipment. From this inspiration, I’m creating a series of large and small 2- and 3-D pieces. This piece was designed on paper, scanned into the computer, then printed full size on Lutradur. After bonding together several layers of Lutradur, I stitched it on a quilting machine.

Andrea Finch, Magnolia Grandiflora III


72 in x 60 in x 20 in
Cotton, polyester, acrylic, wool, vinyl, aluminum wire, polyester stuffing, cotton batting, wood framed canvas, polyester and cotton thread

I am fascinated with this prehistoric tree and the center of the Magnolia flowers, the small curves of the stigmas, often lost to the viewer.  As the work has progressed they have started to become more abstract.  The opposition of the soft, smooth tepals and hard, sharp seed pods has led me in further exploration . Assembling the pieces requires thought of how gravity will change the work over time, but I love the challenge.

Heather Larsen, Caprice


24 in x 18 in x 1 in
Wool, cotton, tencel, silk (weft), cotton seine twine (warp); tapestry technique

With “Caprice”, Heather has combined her love of textiles with her fascination for the landscape of the human face and figure. By continually seeking new ways to make her tapestries more expressive, she employs techniques which subvert the tapestry grid, adding life and movement to her portraits in cloth. Through her larger than life portraits, Heather calls attention to the female experience from a female perspective, conferring elite status to everyday women.

Sally Cooney Anderson, Asymmetrical Scarf


60 in x 8 in
Free form crochet with yarn and fabric

One-of-a-kind brown and tan free form crochet scarf.

Joan Hutten, Cherry Blossom Festival


14 ½ in x 41 in
Woven cotton, rayon, painted and dyed paper

Cherry Blossom Festival is a weaving of fiber and hand-dyed and painted paper designed to evoke a traditional oriental scroll wall hanging while mixing cultural themes and mediums.

Cindy Grisdela, Aquarius


53 in x 47 in x ½ in
Cotton fabric, batting, variegated thread

Aquarius celebrates curves cut freehand without a ruler. Creating lines and shapes directly out of fabric is a liberating dialogue with my materials.

Alex Younger, Abuse Patterns, Institutional Stripes


468 in x 42 in, Installation dimensions: 84 in x 42 in x 54 in
Jacquard-woven cotton, mohair, wool, rayon, rabbit hair, and astra-glow lurex, text from official correspondence regarding sexual assault claims from representatives of Swarthmore College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Abuse Patterns explores the constant accumulation of small triggers for sexual violence survivors who attempt to navigate systems of accountability. The piece is a pattern repeat, woven with mixed materials that vary widely in yarn weight and texture, from thin mohair, to astra-glow lurex and chunky cotton. As the weights and surfaces of the materials change, the words visually warp, and shift, accumulating into an extended roll that suggests the unending nature of these interactions.

Annalisa Leonessa, Coral Vessel


8 in x 9 ½ in x 9 ½ in
Domestic wool, wet felting

Starting from carded domestic wool, I used different resist techniques to push the potential of traditional wet felt making. After the multiple phases of felting I finally hand dyed the vessel to evoke the idea of an imaginary coral reef. While this piece is soft and impossible to break, its gentle proportions and the intricate openwork enhance to its sense of delicacy and preciousness.

Meredith Bennet, Rising Waters


22 in x 16 in x 1 in
Silk and merino wool weft and seine twine warp in eccentric weft tapestry

Tapestry evoking water rising (or falling) between rocks.

Marisela Rumberg, Purple Zendala with Golden Hearts


18 in x 18 in
Hand dyed cotton fabric, free motion quilted without marking, textile paint and crystal beads

The Zentangle Method® is a relaxing and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. I am a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) and my art quilts are my way of translating the method into stitches. 

I love Zentangle because it’s meditative -it leads me to a peaceful and mindful place. Combining Zentangle and free motion quilting together is an endlessly fascinating experience for me.

Eileen Doughty, Ocean 2.0


24 in x 19 in x 11 in
Angelina fibers – blended, fused, machine stitched; machine stitched repurposed plastic bags, metallic threads, plastic bottles

Just kidding…there is no ocean 2.0.  We just have ocean 1.0, with its growing seas of plastic bottles and bags. The fish find themselves in an unnatural place.

C. Pazia Mennella, Stained Glass


46 in x 40 in
Hand woven cotton on a Thread Controller

I work in the medium of weaving, a process that was historically highly valued as a skill and product. This process has lost almost all inherent value because of global textile production. I replicate lavish architecture commissioned by wealthy patrons to convey prestige and power long forgotten among the contemporary social classes in an urban environment.  Each weaving becomes an expression of time in compression.

Floris Flam, Equipoise


14 ¾ in x 18 in
Hand dyed cotton, machine pieces ad machine quilted

Abstract study in asymmetric balance

Judy Gula, Joy in Things Remembered


40 in x 47 ½ in x 2 in
Indigo dyed and rusted fabric combined with vintage fabrics and photo

It gives me great joy to find treasures from another year. This piece began with the orphaned photo of a young woman, then I gathered vintage trinkets & fabrics to support the photo. The blue pattern fabric behind the photo & wide brown trim is from the late 1890’s & the rusted fabric created by me in 2018. There is a great joy in using these vintage items to create my mixed media fiber art

Barbara Hollinger, Pele's Breath


38 in x 26 in
Cotton and silk fabrics pieces and quilted by machine

Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire, is renowned for her passionate and fiery temperament. As tales tell, she devours the land around the Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea on the island of Hawaii in a longing to be with her true love.

Perhaps we all have that same burning in our souls.

Sarah Entsminger, A Winter's Morning


36 in x 52 in
Hand-dyed fabrics, colored pencil, wax pastel and thread

Lanscapes are the main focus of my work, all types of weather and time of day. This piece was created from memories of walking through the woods at Camp Golden Valley early in the morning.

Vicky Somma, Great Blue Heron Needlepoint "Stained Glass"


39 ½ in x 27 ½ in x 1 in
Needlepoint on plastic canvas with yarn and 3D printed PLA/PHA Plastic

With this piece, I wanted to emulate stained glass by combining my current love of 3D printing with an older hobby, needlepoint.  My subject is a familiar face to the Occoquan River– the Great Blue Heron. The black “lead work” is made out of 12 3D printed parts. The “glass” is comprised of 130 plastic canvas panels that were hand-stitched over the course of nine weeks.

JoanGriffin, QuietMarsh


10 in x 10 in x 2 in
Wool yarn, gold thread, horsehair

Slight breezes in the Marsh.

Cheryl Neway, The Sun Goddess


36 in x 60 in
Cotton fabric, canvas, batiking with wax and dye, painting

The Sun Goddess, contains a world of energy and free-spirited love. I was driven to create a bright, bold and powerful piece that would radiate good energy for a positive vibe to combat against turbulence in our society. Motivated by a deep sentiment to fight against the negative political divisions we face not only in our country but throughout the world, I hope this piece  brings light and healing to myself and those around me.

Elizabeth Scheid, House Tree


38 in x 39 in x 32 in
Fabric, wire, quilt batting, found materials

This is a house tree.  If you look in the house nests, there are surprises

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