Imagine poetry and fictional stories translated into textile artworks: fabric that’s been dyed, painted, hand-stitched, quilted and embellished. That’s the artwork that will adorn the walls of DeLand City Hall for the city’s next public art exhibit.
Members of Arts Etc., a textile surface design group based in Volusia County, will exhibit works in the foyer and City Commission Chambers of City Hall from October through December. An opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, and is free and open to the public.
The exhibit is titled “Lit. from Within,” with each artwork inspired by a work of literature. The inspirations and pieces created are as varied as the members of the group.
Some works in the exhibit were inspired by novels, including A Study in Scarlet (the first Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle), The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.
Other artists were inspired by poetry, including “America” by Maya Angelou, “When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” by Sandra Martz, “Imagine” by John Lennon, “Morning in the Burned House” by Margaret Atwood and “Mother on Her Knees” by Cornelius Eady. Several members also composed original verse to inspire their quilt.
Literature for children served as inspiration too. There is an homage to Dr. Seuss, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, and a multi-book celebrating the joy of reading with children: “If You Can Read This Thank a Teacher.”
Three of the works in the exhibit have an unusual purpose. They were designed as wheelchair covers for use in facilities serving patients with dementia. Artist Margaret Loomis has created hundreds of covers, which are being used in research studies with dementia patients.
She notes that most art in facilities is hung too high for a hunched-down person in a wheelchair to see. Her colorful, humorous works feature recognizable images and characters and bring art to the level of the patient.
This exhibit marks the third year Arts Etc. has exhibited in DeLand City Hall. Previous exhibits have been themed on “City Life” and “Journey.” Art quilting is a medium with thousands of makers worldwide, employing varied art-making methods to represent ideas and images of all kinds.