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Gullah-inspired art dolls part of Jeannette gallery exhibition | TribLIVE.com
Art & Museums

Gullah-inspired art dolls part of Jeannette gallery exhibition

Shirley McMarlin
| Monday, January 7, 2019 2:51 p.m
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An Indigo’s Friends Art Doll by artist Imani Russell of Arlington, Va. An Indigo’s Friends Art Doll by artist Imani Russell of Arlington, Va.
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Crocheted hands holding garden crops by artist Jess Higo Walbridge of Greensburg. Crocheted hands holding garden crops by artist Jess Higo Walbridge of Greensburg.
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A rag quilt by artist Pamelajean Werner of Mt. Pleasant.

“Stitches,” a fiber arts exhibition opening Jan. 12 in Jeannette’s You Are Here Gallery, will include works that are “organic, whimsical and elegant in their own way,” says gallery co-founder Mary Briggs.

The three-artist show will feature Indigo’s Friends Art Dolls by artist Imani Russell of Arlington, Va., inspired by the culture of the Gullahs, an African-American population living on the South Carolina and Georgia coastal plains and sea islands.

Joining Russell will be the gallery’s resident artist, Pamelajean Werner of Mt. Pleasant, a weaver and maker of rag quilts; and its satellite artist Jess Higo Walbridge, a master crocheter from Greensburg.

Briggs says that an exhibition is part of being a You Are Here artist and, with the work done by both Werner and Walbridge, “obviously, it was going to be a fiber show. But it’s only thematic in that it’s fiber; their work is all very different and individual. I don’t think any of them use patterns.”

An opening reception is planned for 6-9 p.m. Jan 12 in the gallery at 406 Clay Ave., Jeannette.

“We’ll have a little bit of music, food, wine and beer, and a food truck outside,” Briggs says.

Dynamic exchange

On her website, Russell says she began creating the Indigo’s Friends dolls in the early 1990s after being introduced to the Gullahs, who traditionally were weavers and dyers, by reading Ntozake Shange’s novel,” Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo.”

Brought to the United States during the 18th-century as slaves, the Gullahs still retain elements of African culture and language in their lives today.

“Werner has decades of experience as a weaver and maker of rag quilts,” according to the gallery website. “Her work is inspired by both traditional and contemporary insights.”

Walbridge is a master crocheter whose intention is “to bring ‘women’s work’ into a fine art setting with references to monsters and powerful women,” the website says. “She has developed her body of work by morphing classical concepts, feminist undertones, and monstrous themes into unexpected fiber pieces.”

Briggs says that she and co-founder Jen Costello aim for “a dynamic exchange of ideas” by including a guest artist in each You Are Here exhibition.

The benefits are twofold, she says: an outside artist is able to show in a new venue, and local art lovers are exposed to the work of an artist from outside of the area whose work they might not see otherwise.

Details: 724-578-3332 or yah406clay.org


Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.


Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: AandE | Museums
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