Janet Wade enhances fiber arts at BAYarts
There has been a resurgence of fiber-based classes in Bay Village the past two years. This is because Janet Wade has returned to BAYarts after living out of state for 20 years.
Wade began teaching at the arts center in 1980. "I taught at Baycrafters (now BAYarts) over a span of 15 years, from 1980 to 1995, and enjoyed it very much. Growing up in Bay Village, I took many classes at Baycrafters so it has always had a very special place in my heart and in my life."
In the late '90s her family moved to Missouri and stayed there for 20 years until moving back a few years ago. Now she is back as part of the BAYarts faculty.
Along with being a passionate teacher, Wade is an equally passionate artist. In 2011 she was introduced to fiber arts, which she says she "loved immediately." The medium gave her the ability to freely create while also focusing on the message. "For me, art is a storyteller, a way to communicate. It becomes a platform to make a statement." Specifically, Wade shares, "My art tells a story about attaining and/or seeking out personal freedom."
This sense of communication is conveyed in a special, newer piece the artist has titled "Threaded." She says it is about "being able to speak out without fear. ... I was so inspired by the bravery of the women who came forward during the 'Me Too' movement that I found myself compelled to create an equally bold statement in support of their action."
It is a fashion piece, as well as a sculptural piece. "It is a wearable knitted yoke highly embellished with many strands of multicolor fabric interlaced with spools of used thread. Each individual strand represents one of us and each spool of thread represents one story. When these multicolored pieces come together, they become one and mirror back to us that when we all stand together for justice and truth, we too become one. There is strength in numbers and fiber art is a wonderful medium to express this because it too is comprised of many fibers all coming together and creating one piece."
Some of Wade's other sculptural specialties are her Artdolls. "The Artdoll sculptures are created by sewing together dyed fabrics, overdyed fabrics, and other found objects. Their themes run along the lines of spirituality: renewal, rediscovery and the quest for unleashing personal freedom."
She has now incorporated a similar type of project into her teaching syllabus. "New to the roster at BAYarts this fall is a class on creating your own Spirit Dolls. Similar to my Artdolls, these dolls will be based upon a poem, lyric or meaningful passage brought in by each student. Each week we will add new techniques that can be used in the creation of our individual and meaningful spirit dolls."
This fall she will also be teaching a one-day class on Boro and Sashiko Stitching. The term "Boro" is for the Japanese art of mending, and the practice is about patching pieces together. Similarly used in Japan for centuries, Sashiko is a form of Japanese folk embroidery that creates a patterned background. "In this class, we will sew a sampler of different Japanese Boro and Sashiko stitches and we will go over techniques to Boro patch jeans, jean jackets and other wearables."
The popular Indigo and Shibori vat dyeing class will be offered again this fall. Shibori involves ways that cloth is folded in order to create patterns after a dip dye. "This class begins with an introduction to indigo vat dyeing, we then move to Shibori clamping, folding, and binding instruction on cloth. Once dipped into the indigo vat the bound cloth creates designs. We finish the class with patterning and dyeing a wearable indigo dyed scarf."
Dozens of these scarves have now been created on campus under Wade's guidance. It is a campus that Wade is proud to have seen grow so much since she was last here.
"I am so happy to see this beautiful place growing and being utilized by so many artists, students, families, and instructors from all over the area," she says. "It is a thrill for me to be a part of this fantastic and highly skilled community."
Jessica Stockdale is the Marketing Manager at BAYarts.