Karen Lohn’s ‘Peace Fibres: Stitching a Soulful World’
Ryan Summerlin September 14, 2012
Can the very act of working with fibres serve as an avenue toward peace within an individual?’ asks Karen Lohn, author of ‘Peace Fibres: Stitching a Soulful World,’ a colorful book that is as much about developing a harmonious relationship – with oneself, others and the larger world – as it is about fiber craft.
“Entering a creative mode, rhythmic needles singing, the stillness of focused attention is meditative. People who feel centered are more likely to emanate peace,” writes Lohn, for whom fiber work – spanning cultures, generations and economic classes – serves as both metaphor for and manifestation of peace.
The nearly 200-page book is beautifully appointed, with each glossy page featuring a colorful border created from an image of fabric artwork. The photographs are captivating too; not only are they bright and colorful but of great visual interest, from the “yarnstorming” or “fibre graffiti” image of a tree wrapped in close-knitted “sweaters” and the Mayan women in their bright, handmade huipiles to the author’s own airy but colorful batik, a striking piece titled, “The Big Bang.”
“Peace Fibres” has the feel that the book itself has been stitched together with loving care, down to the last detail. It evokes Lohn carefully selecting the photographs like a quilter selecting fabrics, or a knitter choosing her yarn, before weaving them together with her moving, personal tales, which in turn illustrate a human fabric woven of individual, albeit interdependent experiences.
Each chapter – from “Webs of Connection,” “Stitching Through Crisis” and “Ripping Out, Resilience” to “Celebrating the Fabric of Life” – starts with a prayer of peace from around the world and concludes with activities designed to deepen awareness of self within a larger context through fiber art. Activities range from finger crocheting to batik art and are accessible both to fiber artists and first-timers.
A retired psychologist and teacher, the Minnesota-based author has spent decades working with individuals and groups of all ages. She and her husband frequent Summit County regularly to visit her daughter and son-in-law, Darci and Chris Hughes, plus grandson Riley.
Lohn had a book signing on Aug. 18 at The Next Page Bookstore, 409 Main St., Frisco. Her books can be purchased there and at What’s Needling U, 279 Main St., also in Frisco. A percentage of the proceeds is donated to groups working through fiber creations to empower marginalized people.
Magical Scraps, 310 S. Main St., Breckenridge – A studio and retail store with handmade clothing and accessories. Info: www.magicalscraps.com
Summit Quilters – This quilters’ group meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month from 7-9 p.m. at the Summit County Community and Senior Center, 83 Nancy’s Place, Frisco. Info: email@example.com
Family Intercultural Resource Center Bag Shop at La Riva Mall in Dillon – Open the first Saturday of every month, the shop carries items made by volunteers with sales benefiting FIRC programs. Buy products or volunteer to sew. Info: www.summitfirc.org
Breckenridge Arts District – The Breckenridge Arts District offers periodic fiber arts workshops.
JK Studio, Lincoln West Mall, 100 Main St., Breckenridge – The studio is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Info: www.jkstudiollc.com