Monthly Archives: June 2015

Tapestry Goes Contemporary in the Hands of Fiber Artist David Johnson

Tapestry. If you’re like me, the term conjures up mental images of slightly faded Renaissance scenes on giant fabric wall hangings in museums and old mansions.

Visit the new tapestry exhibition on the sixth floor of the Denver Art Museum, however, and you may find, as I have, that those mental images start to fray. Creative Crossroads: The Art of Tapestry includes two tapestries that fit that stereotype. Nonetheless, the exhibition has numerous other pieces that are quintessentially contemporary art.

"Transformation" by David Johnson of Thornton, Colorado

How contemporary can a tapestry be? This 4′ x 4′ work by fiber artist David Johnson suggests the answer. “Extreme Fibers,” formerly titled “Transformation,” will hang in the Muskegon Museum of Art this summer as part of its “Icons in Fiber and Textiles” exhibition. (Photo provided by D. Johnson)

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Leather Craftsman Jeff Icenhower Finds a New Direction in the Arts and Crafts Movement

Walk into the workshop of most master leather workers and you will find belts, holsters, and any number of items used while riding the range of the American West. Jeff Icenhower’s workshop was no exception five years ago, when Jeff turned his longtime hobby into a business. Before long, however, friends in the Colorado Arts & Crafts Society stirred his interest in the leather work of the Arts and Crafts movement.

leather clock by Jeff Icenhower

This leather clock by Jeff Icenhower follows the style of the Arts and Crafts movement that began more than a century ago.

Jeff studied everything he could find about the movement. It started in England in the 19th century, he told me, as a revolt against the impersonal character of industrial production. William Morris, the icon of the Arts and Crafts movement, championed fine craftsmanship, simple form, and motifs found in nature. The mantel clock Jeff made (pictured above) exemplifies Morris’s points. Continue reading

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