On November 23 DH and I drove about an hour from our home to New Bedford, a New England town once famous as a whaling port, and then, when petroleum made whale oil obsolete, as a textile manufacturing center. There is a remnant (no pun intended) of the garment industry still here, as Joseph Abboud's line of menswear is still made here.
Other types of textile work continue, in the form of Elin Noble's hand-dyed fiber art. As part of the annual New Bedford Open Studios event, we visited Elin's studio, housed in an old industrial building.
|Elin tells us about her process.|
Elin's medium is fabric - folded, clamped, dyed, discharged and otherwise manipulated in ways that may seem almost magical but are the result of deliberate and well-practiced technique. In some series the finished fabrics are layered and quilted. After many years of quilting even very large pieces on a domestic machine, Elin added long-arm quilting to her repertoire, and the results are impressive. The quilt world has acknowledged her achievement with the 2013 Quilts Japan prize.
|Studio visitor admires art and long-arm quilting machine.|
|Wall of thread, for use in the long-arm.|
In addition to finished artworks, Elin offered fabric, thread, garments and other items for sale. We also met Elin's partner, Lasse Antonsen, an accomplished sculptor.
|Hand-dyed fabric for sale.|
After making our purchases - thread for use in sashiko - we realized it was lunchtime and on Elin's suggestion we motored about a mile to Cork, a tapas and wine (and beer) bar near the waterfront. Elin didn't steer us wrong - risotto cakes with spicy pimenta moida sauce and pan-seared scallops over rice and mushrooms with macadamia cream sauce were just delicious.