by artist Candace Thomas and friends,
September 17-October 9 in The Green Gallery at The Scrap Exchange
Reception on Friday Sept. 17, 6-9 p.m., with free food, drink and art-making activities, open to the public
The whirring of a sewing machine is often all Chapel Hill fiber artist Candace Thomas needs to meditate her way out of a creative block. With her latest hurdle, that machine took her full circle, sparking a new group exhibit called “Meditations” at The Green Gallery in Durham’s The Scrap Exchange. "Meditations" opens Friday September 17. An opening reception is scheduled from 6-9 pm and is free to the public.
Subtitled “A Fiber and Mixed-Media Exploration of Meditation,” the exhibit features an interactive sewing exploration and other works by Thomas, as well as mixed-media creations by Triangle artists Sauda Zahra, Karimah Abdusamad, Alexandra Smith and Terra Omni, and D.C. artist Kath Robinson.
Thomas originally planned for a solo exhibit, but she lamented to a friend months ago that she hadn’t yet thought of a theme.
“My friend said, ‘What do you think about when you sew?’ ” Thomas recalled. “I said, ‘Hold on, let me call you back.’ So I stand at one of my older machines and put my pedal to the metal and just listen to that ‘shhh-shhh-shhhh.’ It was like prayer for me. I was supposed to call her back in 15 minutes and I didn’t call her ‘til the next day."
Thomas began exploring books on meditation, prayer and mantras, she contacted fellow artists, and the exhibit took shape. An integral piece is an interactive station at which visitors to the gallery will be able to write down affirmations, prayers or any positive thoughts and sew them into a long, circular strip of fabric. Among the other works are an interactive labyrinth, a mandala and a quilt with pockets in which people can place their prayers.
“It’s not going to be a lot with the exhibit,” Thomas said of her own contributions, “but it’s going to be where I am right now -- looking back at views on God and prayer and meditation and spirituality. Not to define who God is or what God is but just that repetition of my sewing machine and how it’s able to balance me when I’m about to go to pieces.”
The exhibit is also about friendship and inspiration, Thomas says.
“I love talking about life and art with my artist friends especially, because we can go to the moon and back,” she says. “It takes me back to going to church as a child and watching the women get the fire, the spirit.”
Some of her friends’ contributions will be a surprise to Thomas – at her request. She knew their art would fit together naturally. Her only stipulation was that nobody’s work could involve stress or negativity.
“It has to be about living and meditating,” she says, “and bringing all of these things we have within us out to share.”
The Green Gallery is open during store hours: Mon., Tues., Wed. & Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. 548 Foster St., Durham. For more information call 919-688-6960, or go to http://www.scrapexchange.org/.
(Story written by Orla Swift - thank you Orla!)