Fiesta Fibers
   Janes fabrics003a.jpg (9684 bytes) Janes fabrics004a.jpg (7734 bytes) Janes fabrics001b.jpg (8835 bytes) Janes fabrics002a.jpg (8023 bytes) Motto3.gif (6190 bytes)
 

LOCAL QUILTS TO EMBASSY IN SAUDI ARABIA

For immediate release – 3/15/10
Berkeley Springs, WV

Press contact: Jane Frenke – 304-258-4582

It is not enough that Jane Frenke helps turn Berkeley Springs into Quilt Central every May, now she has set her sights on the planet.

A paired set of Frenke’s quilts have been selected as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies program and will hang, on loan, for three years in the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

“The Ambassador’s wife, Janet Breslin Smith, specifically asked for my quilts,” said Frenke. “She learned about my work from Morgan Arts Council board member, Ann Harkins.”

Breslin-Smith is the first ambassador’s wife to go along on the Saudi mission. She selected quilts as the artwork she wanted to feature in the public spaces of the embassy because quilting is an indigenous American art form. By late spring, Frenke’s quilts will be hanging in the main foyer of the embassy along with a vintage quilt of Ambassador Smith’s great grandmother.

“Dr. Breslin-Smith told me she wanted to use the quilts as a way to open conversations with Saudi women,” said Frenke. “Given the role of women in Saudi culture, she felt using fabric art was a good approach. Every culture has respected stitchery as women’s art.”

The process of creating the quilts began when Breslin-Smith came to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen annual show at Sunapee, NH to see Frenke’s work. “She showed me floor plans for the embassy and gave me the color scheme,” said Frenke. “Originally we talked about a wood paneled formal dining room but then decided on the main foyer which opens to the grand staircase.” Breslin-Smith saw Frenke’s leaf quilt that hung in the Ice House for the 2009 Quilt Show and decided that was the theme she wanted. “I was thrilled,” Frenke said.

Once contacted by the Art in Embassies program with an order to proceed, Frenke had only a couple months to complete the work. “The quilts were shipped out in late February,” said Frenke.

The set of two full size quilts are descriptively named Pale Branch Blue Leaves and Pale Ten Leaves. They represent Frenke’s contemplation of the state of nature today and the hardiness of certain plants. “I’ve used leaves as a main motif for years,” said Frenke. “A specific leaf from the Amazon was the direct inspiration for these.” She pointed out other design features that reflect man’s impact on the natural environment.

Creation of the fabric and its colors is distinctive feature of Frenke’s fabric art. She uses an ever changing combination of discharge and direct dying for the quilts. Discharge is a process of removing dyes from fabric while direct dying puts color onto white fabric. Using both processes provides the subtleties that make for the right effect. “It’s all about chemistry,” said Frenke about the process of achieving varying colors and shades. She uses fiber reactive molecular dyes to put color in and common household cleaning substances to take dyes out.

Frenke appreciates the recognition that comes with being selected for such a prestigious program and the exposure for her art. In addition to hanging in the embassy, the quilts will also be included in the annual book of Art in Embassies. “I’m excited both by being accepted as such a high level and by having my art used to stimulate conversations with Saudi women,” she said.

Jane Frenke is a fiber artist currently specializing in quilts. Her Fiesta Fibers business is located in Berkeley Springs. Locally, Frenke’s work is available at the Ice House Co-op Gallery. She is a member of the Morgan Arts Council’s board of directors and the Delectable Mountain Quilters with whom she developed the popular Yard Square Quilt project. For more information on Frenke, call Fiesta Fibers at 304-258-4582 or check online at www.fiestafibers.com.


From: Tom Williams
Subject: Re: One of two wv quilts hanging at amb's residence here
Date: January 31, 2012 11:58:22 AM EST
To: Lois Turco

On January 29, 2012 the U.S. Embassy hosted a reception for the "Art in Embassy" program, with over 100 guests and press present to observe the American and Saudi artworks on display. The U.S. Ambassador, James Smith, talked about quilting as a function of family as it is passed down within families from generation to generation, and he highlighted Jane's art, as well as a quilt that had been created by his own mother in honor of the U.S. bicentennial. He spoke out how happy he and his wife, Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith, were to share this family art with their Saudi family, which included several prominent artists in the audience.

The quilts, needless to say, were a big hit, and featured on the cover of the booklet created to celebrate the event.