Institute of Contemporary Art's Fiber Sculptures

The new show aims to spotlight a plush and passionate world of fiber sculptures

Welcome to the plush world of fiber sculptures, all knit, woven and crocheted from wool, rope, linen, the works.

"Everything's ready-made materials, you know, a lot of it is really over-the-counter materials," fiber artist Sheila Pepe said.

In a new show at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, fiber hangs or cascades from the ceiling, flops on the floor and dangles down the elevator shaft.

"Ideas about form, about gravity, about scale, color is very important here," exhibit curator Jenelle Porter said.

They're calling this show "Hooked and Twisted;" I got hooked on the colors.

"And there's no such thing as colors not going together. All colors go together," fiber artist Sheila Hicks said.

Thirty-three fiber artists are displaying 50 works on and off the walls.

"There had been this great legacy of work beginning in the 1960s," Porter said.

The ICA sits by Boston Harbor, so fiber sculptor Pepe crocheted her high-flying exhibit from sea-colored yarn, working aloft by the ICA'S glassy elevator. A femminist, elevating women's work - literally!

"Getting it tall and monumental," she said, "this piece in particular, working from very small fibers and building them up."

Porter is passionate about fiber art and artists.

"A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Sheila Hicks, one of the artists in this exhibition," she said.

Hicks stood me before her cascading "pillar of inquiry," a wild tangle of multi-colored yarn, thick and thin, curled and straight. I "inquired" about the colors. She answered with an inquiry.

"Look and say, well, which one's my favorite one? See how hard it gets," she said.

But it was a joy to blend, as any knitter knows.

"Get the brain, the hands and the eyes moving together -- it's a very big, explosive, emotional experience. In fact, you knitters and weavers, accustomed only to crafting things to be worn or walked on, this exhibit is for you," Hicks said.

"They are going to see that handwork that they do at home but they're going to see it deployed by artists in ways where the scale is huge, where they're putting things on the floor where you shouldn't put soft, you know, pliable things," Porter said.

Because it's art and sculpture, pure and simple, soft and bright.

And until Jan. 4, you'll find it at the ICA. 

Contact Us