Flow by Dahven White

The Art Group of Union Avenue presents EARTH, WIND, WATER: EXPLORING THE NATURE OF FELT in the Brigham Gallery. The art is the work of Carla Duncan and Dahven White.

Felt is a textile that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool or synthetic fibers such as acrylic. There are many different types of felts for industrial, technical, designer and craft applications. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can vary in terms of fiber content, color, size, thickness, density and more factors depending on the use of the felt.

Many cultures have legends as to the origins of felt making. Sumarian legend claims that the secret of feltmaking was discovered by Urnamman of Lagash. The story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher relates that while fleeing from persecution, the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters. At the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks.

"Imagine if the artist had to go to the store to buy her lines in set lengths and colors," writes Dahven White in her artist statement. "And then she made art by laying the lines on a page, hoping that a whiff of wind would not disturb arrangement, or an errant cat. When she was done laying out her lines, she would sprinkle them with hot soapy water and massage them gently until they stuck together. As she rubbed and rolled the bundle with increasing vigor, the piece would shrink and wrinkle. In the end, she would open up her bundle and hope for the best."

Such is art. The exhibition continues through November 7, 2016.