SIOUX CENTER—A love for Midwestern landscapes inspires a Sioux Center resident to create two types of art that are on display at the Sioux Center Public Library.
Photographs on display through February in the main hall of the Sioux Center Public Library are a type of art that often inspires Joanne “Jo” Alberda’s second exhibition at the library. Behind the glass are also some of his fiber art pieces, which are original fabric art pieces.
“Born in Montana but moved to Iowa in my early twenties, this walk in between gave me such a love for the scenery,” Alberda told a group of about 30 women who came to listen. talk about his work on fiber on January 1st. 11 at the library. “The rich history of the prairies, the vastness of space, the soil, the changing of the seasons are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for my photography and my vision as a fiber artist.”
Alberda creates her fiber pieces by machine sewing a collage of fabric. She shows her work through the Artisans Road Trip each fall at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji as well as through various quilt exhibits.
His nearly three-decade career as an art professor at Dordt University gave him a love for all manner of mediums and art history, but an invitation along the way to be a part of a quilting group gave her an avenue for her artwork today.
“At Dordt, I taught all the art classes at one time or another. It allowed me to find out what I really liked,” she said. “Along the way, I was asked to join a quilting club. I didn’t know much about quilts but I knew how to sew. This club was my introduction to quilting. They were a very traditional band and probably one of the best introductions anyone could have.
Alberda is still a member of the Sioux Prairie Quilters Guild.
“I love the emphasis on rhythm. I don’t think there’s anything that quite matches the rhythm of quilt patterns,” Alberda said. “Everyone loves a nice quilt. .”
While she was learning quilting, a symposium she attended introduced the idea of using quilting as an art form.
In retirement, Alberda gained more time to mix mediums to develop a body of work that explores multiple subjects.
For the past six years or so, her fabric designs have begun by making her own fabrics through ice-dyeing or block printing – the two she talked about how to do during her presentation of the afternoon. She then cuts out pieces lined with pocket-backed iron-on material to assemble her collages and uses colored yarn to give each piece its finishing touch.
Although she continues to use commercial fabrics available in a variety of colors and patterns, Alberda chooses to include fabrics that have been created by experimental printing, dyeing and bleaching techniques to provide a more personal to his subjects.
“My work can be described as a translation of everyday images of nature into an aesthetic format,” she said. In her series “Improvisations on Nature”, she said that “the viewer’s attention is first drawn to images of common nature subjects – leaves, flowers, seed pods, cocoons – but quickly moves to rhythms, textures and colors of the formal arrangements of these images.
In his “Tales From a Ghost Town” series, Alberda had documented aspects of the ghost town of Virginia City, MT through photography.
“Empty rooms and broken doors invite speculation about the lives of long-dead people, but the decaying wood invites viewers to search for another story – the life of living material that grew and developed. , has been cut and used by both skilled and unskilled hands, and finally left to dry and rot.
“I was moved to capture some of these ‘tales’ with hand-dyed fabric, created by the uncontrolled mixing of colors, often resembling the growth patterns seen in cut and decaying wood.”
The collection has grown over several years.
In recent years, she has focused on landscapes.
“I was looking for something simple to make a fiber part,” Alberda said. “There’s really something dramatic about starting with something simple and emphasizing its baseline, the rhythm, the movement of the scene. It was really a lot of fun.