It is held in Oakville, Ont. and is an international showcase of contemporary fibre and textile art.
This year’s show includes 315 artworks by 134 artists from 24 countries. It is a curated exhibition developed from the artwork submitted with no preconceived themes.
There are eight different exhibits in this year’s show. Stanley’s pieces are in the largest exhibit, called Solo Shows and Installations.
Artists in this section are either showing portions or entire bodies of work.
Stanley submitted 10 pieces for consideration.
“I have to say I’m honoured to be included. No one was more surprised than me that I was accepted,” she said.
Her three accepted pieces were mixed media sculptures made from natural materials like pine needles, waxed linen, branches and glass.
The first is called Helix. It was inspired by photos Stanley saw from the Hubble Telescope of the Helix Nebula. Helix has a turquoise eye and is made from turquoise, died reeds and pine needles, stitched together with a linen thread with willow branches, glass, a photo image, coiled stitch and encaustic wax.
“When I was a teacher, one of my favourite things to teach was about the universe and the planets. I really like looking at images from space,” Stanley said.
Her second piece is Cyclops, inspired by Greek mythology and made from smoked reed, to give it a darker colour, pine needles, waxed linen, sea whips from the Caribbean, and river stones that Stanley brought with her from Iceland. Cyclops has an a jeweler’s magnifying glass.
The final piece is The Eyes in the Trees Never Blink, inspired by a quote in a book called The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver.
In the book, a young girl dies from malaria, but before says she would like to come back as the eyes in the trees so that she can watch over her family.
Stanley likes the concept of lenses and eyes and looking through the world from a different viewpoint, a common theme in her sculptures.
“I’ve always been drawn to eyes. I think it is the first thing that I notice about people.
Lenses can mean introspection and reflection, but also have different meanings.
“A cyclops or a mythological monster, one of the symbols of that single eye in the forehead is giving you is greater vision or more focused vision. But it can also mean tunnel vision,” said Stanley.
She has been doing fibre arts since the 1970s, when she graduated from the University of Kentucky. Over the years, she has mainly made functional pieces, such as baskets made from morning glory vines. She is a member of the Whonnock Weavers Guild and only started exhibiting her sculptures in the past five years since, retiring from teaching.
Three-dimensional fibre art is Stanley’s passion.
“I think of two-dimensional fibre art as maybe weaving or tapestry, and I did a little of that. But I like something you can walk all the way around,” she said.
Most of Stanley’s inspiration comes from the books that she has read, especially mythology, but is also inspired by the materials themselves and the natural world.
Branches are one of her favourite inspirations, especially willows.
“Winter is my favourite season because that’s when all the leaves are off the trees,” explained Stanley.
“When the leaves are on, the leaves sort of blur everything out. But seeing the positive and negative space on bare branches is just beautiful,” she continued.
She likes to use a lot of tree roots, as well, because they mimic veins and are sturdy.
Stanley can’t say how long it takes her to finish a piece.
“I don’t ever keep track of time. I just go and work for I don’t know how long and I’m not even aware at how much time is passing,” she explained although admitting each piece is labour intensive and finely detailed.
“Just deciding where to place things, I can labour over that for a long time.”
• Gloria Currie Stanley’s work will be on display in the Corridor Galleries at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre in Oakville, Ont. The show runs from Oct. 29 to Nov. 27. For more information, go to www.worldofthreadsfestival.com. To see more of Stanley’s work, go to gloriacurriestanley.wordpress.com.