A stitch in time
Whenever I visit Hibberd, McGrath Gallery on the corner of Ski Hill Road and Main Street in Breckenridge, I come away shaking my head – not in dismay, but rather, in awe.In addition to the ceramics, pottery and other crafts visible from the street, the work gracing the gallery walls will inspire, as well as fascinate, any viewer.What brought me there again recently was Mical Aloni’s current show. The exhibition, “Honeymoon Album,” runs through Aug. 10, and the hand-embroidered miniatures reflect her delight with the surrounding sights of her honeymoon in Baja California.If you are new to her craft, it’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen. Aloni captures the nuances of color, shadow and texture with colored threads stitched with such skill they are almost photographic in her pieces, which are a bit larger than postage stamps. Faces with wisps of hair covering expressive eyes, a shadow cast across the forehead of a child, or even the hook in a fish’s mouth, are marvels of detail and the mark of her extraordinary talent.There are several of her works on display, including an image about 2 1/2 by 3 inches, depicting fishermen with seagulls at their feet and the boat and sea in the background. Another, a sleeping child, is a study in tranquility.”Eric & the Giant Sunflower” is just that, a boy with a big sunflower, and although its subject borders on quaint, the workmanship is astounding. Aloni layers thread in a manner reminiscent of egg temperas by the old masters. It is a painstaking process, and it takes a very long time to put together a show. No doubt it is one of the reasons these charming and fantastic works are so small.The gallery is one of only half a dozen such galleries in the U.S. featuring the work of fabric artists. Hibberd and McGrath are superb curators, and they are more than happy to share their knowledge about the art and artists they represent.Among the other textile wizards you will see are Tom Lundberg, a teacher at CSU, whose crest-shaped miniature embroideries have a very graphic appearance.Carol Shinn does work using a sewing machine as her medium. These too, are incredible to see. Such details as the texture of weathered wood and rust on trucks are all visible in her work. Seeing the subtle changes in light and shadow and knowing the image was created on a sewing machine is jaw dropping.If more abstract art is your preference, Lee Malerich has produced embroidery panels that mirror early Braque and Picasso-like figures, yet their color and design give off a lyrical and unique effect.All of the fabric art at the gallery requires an “up-close-and-personal” viewing to be completely appreciated. You too, will come away shaking your head in disbelief.Hibberd, McGrath- Location: 101 N. Main St., Breckenridge- Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except Tuesday, which is by appointmentStew Mosberg is a writer and journalist working out of Blue River. He holds a bachelor of design degree from the University of Florida, College of Fine Arts and Architecture, is the author of two books on design and is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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