Artists Weave Talent Into Textile


After years with their needles working fabric into art, The Threadplayers unveil a patchwork of talent during their "Expressions in Fiber" art show.

First organized in 2002, The Threadplayers create much more than grandma's stuffed-in-a-cedar-chest blanket.


Threadplayer Roberta Schaffer, a quilter for 10 years, says she learns new techniques from the camaraderie of the Rim Country's artistic quilting bee.

"Most of our artists come from the Shoofly Quilters," said fiber artist Alyce Leach. "The Threadplayers give us an opportunity to express ourselves using fiber."

These ladies express creativity through cloth, manipulating stitches, dyes, fabric, filament, beads and other embellishments -- even organic material such as sand and wood -- to convey emotion.

Leach dons a midnight-blue quilted vest, covered with aquamarine and tie-dyed panels, baubles protected by tea-colored tulle, and a variety of zig-zag stitches holding it all together.

"The challenge is conceptualizing an idea," Leach said. "In traditional quiltmaking there's a pattern -- creating ideas in my own head is my challenge."

Roberta Schaffer's compact quilt -- about a foot long and deep -- depicts a raised mesh of purple, patterned lizards. To accent the piece, she adds a chunk of driftwood, sand and three small horseshoes in the lefthand corner.

"It gives the quilt a three-dimensional look," she said. "You start it and the ideas come as you continue. Many times your mistakes turn into a new idea."

The show covers a range of textile art from clothing to rug-making.

"Expressions in Fiber" art runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 6 and 7 at Gila Community College, and though it's not on the official Payson Art League studio tour circuit, also that weekend, Schaffer and Leach encourage art lovers to add it to their itineraries.

For more information, call Nancy Bollard at (928) 476-2305.

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