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HeartFelt: Ellen Spring’s new fiber art on view in Bristol

BRISTOL — Bristol’s Main Street gallery, Art on Main, is hosting HeartFelt, an exhibit of new silk and felted clothing from Ellen Spring of Starksboro for the month of May. This show of silks, felt and other fiber art is in conjunction with Vermont’s state-wide Open Studio weekend May 24 and 25.
A longtime textile artist working in dyed and hand-painted silk, Spring’s latest foray into Nuno felting has completely captured her imagination. Using water and pressure, this technique “bonds loose fiber, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt,” Spring explained. “The fibers can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allows the backing fabric to show.”
Spring’s new work is a revelation of color and texture — the elegance of the silks layered with the rich softness of hand-felted wool to create garments that feel like a celebration of expression — for both the artist and the wearer. Unlike the bold colors of her almost tribal silk patterns the felted pieces often feature muted tones that blend together; more like a weaving or watercolor. And the garments are not simply beautiful; they are also warm and sturdy enough for a cold Vermont winter.
Spring’s studio will be open to the public May 24 and 25 during Vermont’s Open Studio Weekend Tour. It is a great opportunity to see firsthand the labor intensive process that goes into creating one of her Nuno felt garments; as well all the other textile magic that happens there.  Other area studios that will be on the tour include Bob Compton pottery and Deborah Holmes watercolors in Bristol, Judith Bryant pottery and Vermont Folk Rockers in Starksboro. Stop by Art on Main for a 2019 Open Studio map at 25 Main Street in Bristol.  The gallery’s spring hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and closed on Monday.  For more information call (802) 453-4032 or visit artonmain.net.

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