Monday, April 29, 2013

pHive Having pHun!

By Roberta Andresen
Photos by Deb Rychert

If you ever want to have a good time, be sure to get involved in a project with CQA member Deb Rychert.  Deb heard about the possibility for an outdoor sculpture at CQA's upcoming "Salsa!" exhibit at Mighty Tieton, near Yakima WA, and asked if some of us were interested.  The resounding answer was, “Yes.”  Deb, Barbara O’Steen, Sonia Grasvik, Carla Stehr and I met at Deb’s house.  We wanted to make a sculpture that could wrap around one or more of the trees outside the gallery.

Our initial supplies included recycled produce bags, yards of  nylon, a heavy mesh, and an exhibit catalog on textile sculptures. We started by looking at the catalog and picking out some favorites.  As we looked at the materials we thought we could use the heavy mesh as our support, and sew long narrow pointed tubes from the nylon that could be tied to the mesh.  The other materials were talking to us--we just didn’t know quite what they were saying.  A delightful lunch and lots of good conversation sent us on our way to do more thinking and gathering of supplies.    

A few days later we reconvened. The nylon tubes were tied on as were some of the produce bags that had been rolled into doughnut shapes.  It was starting to take shape.  Time for another break and then we got together again.  Now we had added surveying "whiskers," colored plastic cups that had been cut and heated to flare into flower-like forms, and bright pipe cleaners. Twist ties anchored our forms to the mesh and it became fuller and fuller.

Sonia mentioned that she crocheted around rocks and was immediately put into action.  Some rocks from a neighbor and fluorescent nylon cord were all she needed.  The finishing touch was being created.

As we worked we frequently took our creation outside, wrapped it around a tree in Deb’s yard, and critiqued our growing masterpiece.  Some tulips got trampled in the process, but what fun we were having!

Now for a name...With all our interest in recycling, the sea-form look, and Carla’s interest in the ocean, we thought about how the pH of waters are changing and the fun we'd had creating together.  And so we came to the idea of using words that started with “F” but substituting “pH”  for the “F” in words.  Our final selection was pH-antabulous, pH-ibrous pH-lotsam.  We just had pHun and did not take ourselves too seriously.  We hope that viewers, whether in Yakima or on Deb’s street, have as much pHun  looking at it as we did creating.  
CQA's "Salsa!" exhibit, comprising more than 30 art quilts, six pieces of decorated "art cloth" and five 3D pieces, will run from May 25 through July 14 at the Gallery at Mighty Tieton, with an opening artists' reception from 12-5 on May 25. Part of the exhibit, "Salsa in the Sun," will present various artworks placed outdoors around the town. Tieton is a small agricultural-based town near Yakima, WA, the heart of which--"Mighty Tieton"--has been converted into an incubator for artisan businesses. The gallery space is a huge, refurbished former fruit warehouse. (For more information on the venue, driving directions, etc., go to


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