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a non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts

31 East 3rd St., Richmond, VA 23224
Open Thurs-Sun, 12-4 PM and by appointment | (804) 232-6464
Mailing Address: Zero East 4th St., Richmond, VA 23224

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January 27 - February 19, 2017

Hillary Steel – "Textiles"

Traditional Craft/Contemporary Art
Helena Davis Gallery

Opening Reception for the Artists
Fourth Friday, January 27, 2017
7:00-10:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public

Closing Artist Talk
Sunday, February 19, 2017
2:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public

Artist Statement

Cloth touches us, surrounds us, and silently bears witness to our lives. I am an artist who is trained as a weaver and dyer. I turn hand-dyed threads into cloth, over-dye the woven pieces, and cut and arrange components of my textiles, allowing the content to assert itself and take dimensional form. The abstract narratives created through this fabrication and repeated manipulation of the cloth provokes thought and conversation about our inherent human abilities and common experiences.


The technique of ikat (kasuri/jaspe/abrband) is a process of resist tying warp and/or weft threads to achieve a pattern (either random or predetermined) as the cloth is woven. Material used for resist might be anything that, when wound tightly around the yarn and then submerged into dye, does not allow the color to penetrate bound areas. The process belongs to the larger family of resist dyed cloth; i.e., batik, shibori (tie dye), and stencil resist. Ikat is unique because the planning, design and binding is carried out on the threads before the cloth is woven, rather than on a pre-existing piece of cloth. Consequently, the design is an integral component of the fabric's structure and, like hand weaving, it is a construction method.

The process of shibori, (plangi, tie dye) relies on the way the dyer folds and/ or manipulates a piece of cloth, secures it in a compressed state, and then dyes the fabric in order to create a pattern. The dye only penetrates the areas of cloth that were left exposed. After the dyeing and removal of protective coverings, the resisted parts emerge as negative patterns and retain the original color(s) of the fabric. Shibori is considered a surface design technique.

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Page Updated Jan. 2, 2017