Down by the Shore open now through Sept. 24
By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
A new exhibit is making waves at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay — Down by the Shore, a collection of fiber art projects made by the Fiber Artisans of Northeast Wisconsin.
Bonnie Berken, a member of the Fiber Artisans of Northeast Wisconsin, said the group has artists who dabble in all types of fiber arts, and some have even gained national recognition.
“This group is an exceptional group to belong to because the women there are just wonderful artists and they have a lot of creativity,” she said. “Some like to delve into paint with their fibers and some people like to do weaving and some do natural things, like dying and things like that. They just love fiber arts and incorporate lots of things — natural things, metal, all kinds of embellishments — and the things they make, some of them have won awards and national competitions.”
Berken said being a part of the group is truly an enjoyable experience, providing opportunities to share projects among other artists and learn new skills together.
“It’s just a wonderful group to belong to,” she said. “We meet every month, on the third Tuesday of the month, in the upstairs community room at Festival Foods on the East Side, on University Avenue, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m… Every time we meet, we share things that we’ve been working on or we have projects or activities during the session where we might learn some new skills or teach some new skills and we do a show and tell so we can share our expertise with each other and it’s just a great group. It’s one of my favorite groups.”
Something the group does every year, Berken said, is decide on a challenge which members are encouraged to complete in their own unique way.
This year, the group decided to assemble their challenge projects into an exhibit for the public to view.
“This exhibit came from a challenge,” she said. “Every year, we give ourselves a challenge. There’s a challenge committee that comes up with a theme and then gives us parameters. Our last challenge was to create a 18-by-24-inch fiber project, more like an art quilt, and this year’s theme was Down by the Shore. A person can just interact with that however they would like, so we have a variety of different ways of looking at Down by the Shore and many different materials were used.”
The collection of water- and shore-themed projects just completed a stint at the Door County Maritime Museum and is now on display through Sept. 24 in the Neville Public Museum’s Community Exhibit Space.
“They came up with an exciting exhibit,” she said. “It’s done two months in Sturgeon Bay at the maritime museum there and was very well received and had a lot of visitors. Now it’s come back to Green Bay to be at the Neville Museum. We kind of planned it so that we could have it shown in some different venues. We usually get the challenge in spring and then in December we have our unveiling of all of our challenge pieces at our December meeting. We decided it was pretty wonderful — the things we came up with — and we said, ‘Let’s look into seeing if we could display this at a larger venue.’”
In past years, the group has only exhibited their work at local quilt shows, but Berken said the response to Down by the Shore so far has been good.
To learn more about the Down by the Shore exhibit or plan your trip to check it out, visit nevillepublicmuseum.org.