Threads and textures at Tupper Arts

Elena Kuki uses secretive processes to instill her felt vests with unique and captivating textures. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — Fabric artists were setting up their displays at Tupper Arts on Wednesday for the “Totally Textiles” show, opening today.

Beth Johnson, who helped organize the exhibit, said it features works from 30 artists, all within a 50-mile radius. The show was initially supposed to last through the end of October, but it has been extended into November, she said.

The arts center is filled with cozy textures, vibrant colors and complex patterns — felt vests, crocheted shawls, hand-dyed wool scarves, antique quilts, new quilts and pastoral scenes created in felt layers.

Elena Kuki was hanging up wool scarves she’s pressed outlines of leaves and coniferous branches into. This process is called botanical contact print and she creates the unique patters using leaves gathered from the forest around her home in Lake Placid.

Exactly how she does this is a secret process, she said.

Raynie Callahan has been crafting crochet creations since she was 7 years old, learning the fabric art from her grandmothers. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Kuki said she finds nature inspiring and graceful. This way, she’s able to carry a bit of nature’s beauty with her. After studying, teaching and creating art, she said felt is one of her favorite mediums because it combines many of the skills she’s picked up as a costume designer, set designer and public artist.

Raynie Callahan, from Tupper Lake, wrapped herself in a crochet shawl, one of her latest creations. Callahan has been crocheting since she was 7 years old, learning the trade from both of her grandmothers.

“I love the feel of the yarn through my fingers and knowing as I’m making each stitch that I’m going to be giving this as a gift to someone,” Callahan said. “Most things I make, I make with someone in mind.”

The scarves, shawls, bags and hats she is displaying at the arts center are mostly pieces that she made and never gifted.

She gives some of her pieces names, even if she finds it a bit corny.

People sometimes ask her how long it takes to make a piece. She doesn’t know, and she doesn’t care to find out.

“I don’t really pay that much attention. The time just goes by,” she said.

She’ll crochet while talking with someone, watching TV or being driven somewhere.

The exhibit is open every week, Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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