Quilt art exhibition attracts community

Eddie Rhodes gallery hangs decorative tapestries, promotes local artists

By Mayra Garcia, Staff Illustrator

A reception for the most recent exhibit at the Rhodes Gallery drew the largest crowd of any other receptions held this year.

The reception for the exhibit of quilts and other fabric arts, titled “Layers of Meaning,” was held in conjunction with the Harvest Show ceramics reception taking place the Art Building’s atrium, adjacent to the Rhodes Gallery.

“It made sense to have the separate art shows in one reception” Eddie More, ceramics class assistant, said.

The tandem reception took place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16, during which time many guests arrived to peruse the two exhibits and to socialize with artists and one another over refreshments.

In a joint effort with the Society of Fabric Arts, a locally based quilting group, adjunct fine art professor Dana Davis helped to organize and bring this art form to the Rhodes Gallery.

To prepare for the ceramics portion, the Harvest Show, Art major Linda Lewis said she, along with other students, took care of cleaning the atrium, where the ceramics students art pieces where showcased.

“(The two galleries are) really nice and well put together. They highlight the diversity of people,” said SoFA quilter Sandy Goldstein.

Consideration of color display was apparent as there was clear attention to detail in the way the works were presented, Fern Royce, gallery visitor and volunteer at Berkeley High School, said. She pointed out the bright, happier tones of quilts hung on one side of the wall as opposed to the reflected earthy colored quilts on the other side.

Besty Livak, retired director of graduate admissions at U.C. Berkeley, had been eyeing a quilt piece that had been hanging from the center of the room.

“(The quilts) all share a sense of playfulness,” Livak said. “The quilts, like any other art, can portray an artist’s emotion.”

Featured quilt artist Robin Halprin said some of her quilts had been displayed at the Berkeley Public Library, but that this was her first time in Eddie Rhodes Gallery at Contra Costa College. Halprin said she enjoys the free form techniques of quilting.

Barbara Ramsey, featured SoFA artist and quilting teacher at New Pieces in Berkeley, explained some of the different quilting techniques, where she focused on improvisational quilting. This style does not start off with a set pattern she said — it involves freely cutting shapes without a set pattern. Ramsey said the beauty of this style is enjoying being spontaneous. Planning the whole thing out before hand is not as fun, she said.

Halprin said that quilting, unlike painting, creates a surface that invites people to touch it.

“It is never behind glass,” she said.

For many who took pleasure in eyeing art pieces from “Layers of Meaning,” being able to view something different in the atrium was a pleasant surprise for some guests. Barbara Ramsey, nurse practitioner, found herself inside the Harvest Show, though she came to show support for her friends from SoFA in the quilt show. Ramsey said she appreciated getting to see other forms of art on display.

Unaware that his ceramics piece would be displayed alongside “Layers of Meaning,” ceramics student Anthony Garcia said he was happy to see his lion piece on the wall.

Finding guidance by a former colleague, Garcia said his lion piece took him two to three weeks to complete. He said taking consideration of little details had been really important but pointed out another piece of his — a sculpture of a skull with animal tusks. He said the tusks came from an idea of an elephant, which he models as strength, wisdom and knowledge.

Though one tusk had been broken and glued back together, Garcia said he never considered tossing it away.

“An artist manages to correct a mistake into something beyond beauty,” he said.