Letters

Letters 04-13-2015

Perplexing Eighth Street Changes I’m writing to you about the way 8th Street in Traverse City is organized. I commute on 8th Street daily like hundreds of others.

115 Years of Injustice Investigative reporter Pat Sullivan’s March 23 article “BURNOUT” exposed for the first time to many northern Michigan residents the 115-year-old tragedy that took place at Burt Lake in October of 1900.

Kicking The Prop 1 Can “Proposal 1 consists of only 100 words, but if approved by voters on May 5, it would trigger into law thousands of other words in 10 bills passed by the state legislature in December.”

Expose The Republican Playbook There was much angst among Democratic Party loyalists after the November election about their failure to convey a strong populist message.

Unions Are Essential Thanks to Stephen Tuttle for pointing out in his recent column how we have had trade apprenticeships for decades throughout Michigan and other states.

Home · Articles · News · Art · “The Land of Delight”
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“The Land of Delight”

Al Parker - June 23rd, 2014  

Empire fiber artist Holly Sorensen’s latest works are literally off the wall. After years of weaving colorful but conventional, artistic scarves, rugs, garments and wall hangings, she wanted to add a twist to her works and opted for a 3-D look.

Her current creations bring her weavings into a three-dimensional format; they seem to pop off the wall. Foam core, pipe insulation, aluminum fl ashing, Plexiglass and copper wire add the new dimension to her colorful works.

Sorensen’s newest specialty is a series of eye-catching masks. Using mannequin faces as templates, they are created in her former garage-turned-studio that now houses two working looms. Her work schedule has been interrupted lately by her caring for ill friends, but she tries to keep a steady fl ow of projects underway.

After years of traveling and living in places across the country, Sorensen moved to northern Michigan when her son went off to college. Leelanau County is a place she had long loved after childhood visits to a family cottage on Crystal Lake. The landscape near her Empire home and studio remain an inspiration.

HOW I GOT STARTED

My fascination with fiber began in my childhood, while playing in the old woolen mill that my family operated in Connecticut. The colorful webs of yarn, noisy clanking looms and rich smell of lanolin were magic to me.

THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION

After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in graphic design and working in New York City in the fashion industry, I did some extended travel. Eventually I settled in Ninilchik, a small fishing village in Alaska, near Homer. It was there in the mid-‘70s that I rediscovered my love of fiber while learning to make coiled baskets from beach-salvaged hemp fishing line wrapped with the colorful wool yarns my father sent me from the mill. I began studying various weaving techniques, made my first loom and started to explore yarn dyeing processes. Space dyeing, a method producing multiple blocks of color on a single skein of yarn, became my signature. I continue to use space dyed yarns in most of my work today.

I love exploring color relationships by creating a warp of space dyed yarns. Once it is on the loom, the weaving is easy and it is so pleasing to watch the juxtaposed blocks of colored threads form into a richly textured fabric. Then when the piece is taken off the loom, the fun begins: finding a way to make it into a three dimensional sculpture.

I guess I could be called a colorist as that is my medium, my favorite tool. Since moving to The Leelanau, “Land of Delight” as the Native Americans named it, I have found inspiration in the colors of its lovely landscapes and ever changing light. Each season always brings a fresh new palette.

WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF

After many years of weaving hand-dyed rugs, garments and wall hangings, I began experimenting with various stiffening elements to bring new dimension and movement to my wall pieces. Using foam core, pipe insulation, aluminum flashing and bent Plexiglass, I was able to bring my weavings off the wall. This 3-D sculptural approach led me to my present interest in creating masks, which I feel are my most original works to date.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE

Poet Anne Marie Oomen wrote a poem about one of my masks. It’s called “Kindred Spirits.”

MY FAVORITE ARTIST

There are many, but here are three – Henri Matisse, sculptural fiber artist Adrienne Sloane and local watercolorist Tim Lewis.

ADVICE FOR ASPIRING YOUNG ARTISTS

When I’m working on a piece, it feels like an extended experiment. I don’t believe in rules so much as breaking them when it feels right. I would encourage people to have fun. I also remember a quote from my favorite weaving teacher, Anita Mayer: “If you are not making mistakes and having failures, you are not learning anything.”

MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED

In Empire at my studio, at the Secret Garden, or at the Sleeping Bear Gallery. Also at www.hollysorensen.com.

 
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