Showcasing a wide variety of fabric arts, “Woven Together: Fiber Art within Special Collections” at the University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Native American Studies Center gives guests a look at some never-before-seen and rarely seen hand-woven creations from the Native American Studies collections.
Opening Thursday, Feb. 23, in the center’s Duke Energy Gallery, the exhibit includes regalia, fingerweavings, leatherworks, beaded items, moccasins, jewelry and more. “The goal was to highlight fiber arts that people may not have seen from our collection yet, as well as the artists who made them,” said Elisabeth Avelar, center special projects coordinator, who curated the exhibit, along with center assistant curator and program assistant Sharon Simmers-Norton.
“The items we have selected showcase beautiful works from an array of Indigenous artists, and I think each piece represents the broad genre known as fiber arts well.”
One of the unique woven items exhibited is a reed basket cradle, made by Marilyn Harrison in 1995 during a class taught by basket maker and former center artist-in-residence Faye Greiner. The cradle, exhibited along with a handmade blanket and pillow, was used by the artist’s own daughter when she was an infant.
Another item, which has never been displayed and was donated to Special Collections in the late 1990s, holds a special significance to Simmers-Norton. “My favorite piece in the exhibit is the child’s regalia, which was made by my great-aunt Brenda Sanders-Sigmon,” said Simmers-Norton. “She made it in the early ‘90s for my cousin and it was later passed down to my daughter, who wore it in the late ‘90s.”
Visitors may recognize a quilted wall-hanging by JoAnn Bauer in “Woven Together,” which was displayed for a limited time in the center’s galleries after reopening from the COVID-19 closure. A wooden barn quilt based on Bauer’s original textile work can also be seen in the center’s 10th Anniversary exhibit in the Back Gallery, “This is Us: Native American Studies at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.”
“Woven Together: Fiber Art within Special Collections” is on display in the Duke Energy Gallery through Aug. 3. The Native American Studies Center is at 119 S. Main St., Lancaster.