Mary Babcock "78° 3′ 0′′ N" (detail)

“Exhibition in Print: Soft Borders” Out Now!

Surface Design Association is excited to announce “Soft Borders” our Fall 2019 International Exhibition in Print. Juried by Monika Auch and Elizabeth Kozlowski, this exciting edition features seven award winners as well as twenty featured artists from all over the world.

As Elizabeth states in her Editorial, 

Interpretations ranged from the use of maps and physical demarcations to abstract representations of exclusionary social practices. Materials and techniques spanned from the traditional to the contemporary…Borders are also a familiar tool for artists. For example, they can be used as a pictorial framing device. I have added a border to a quilt on more than one occasion to save myself from the (sometimes) weary process of piecing. The selvedge or border is also a necessary part of textile manufacturing and keeps the ends of fabric from unraveling. It would seem we cannot escape the boundaries we create.

In the pages of this issue you will recognize familiar faces and new friends. It is exciting to follow the growth and development of our membership and to learn from those who have dedicated their livelihood to the field of fiber arts. Each round is a blind jury followed by a conversation between the guest editor and myself. This year we had the pleasure of welcoming Monika Auch, a frequent SDJ contributor and practicing artist. She brings an international perspective paired with a contagious passion for our field.


Here’s a preview of what you’ll discover:

1) Surface Design Award 

Amy Usdin’s fiber work is a meditation on memory, time, and place. Using needle weaving, knotting, and wrapping, Amy rescues and redefines aging fiber artifacts—manipulating their functional rope armatures, creating a complexity that disrupts previously existing borders.

Amy Usdin Dismount Left 2019, cotton, linen, paper, silk, wool, repurposed horse fly net (rope), needle woven, knotted, 31′′ x 15′′ x 6′′.

2) Guest Juror Award 

Susan Smith is a social practice artist who’s done work at the site of the Texas/ Mexico border. Mourning Cloth was part of a performance on the International Bridge between Juarez/El Paso, while the sculptural works are based on border wall fragments embedded with fiber, clothing and items left behind by refugees traveling to safety in the United States. 

Susan Smith The Passage: Mourning Cloth 2019, linen, woodblock, screenprint, boro stitched, laser cut, 72′′x 72′′.

3) Craft and Community Award 

Alicia Decker’s Crossing Paths is part of a creative series and research project called Cut From the Same Cloth, which uses printed and embroidered woven cloth to tell the story of cultural displacement, instability, identity politics, personal tragedy, and transformation.

Alicia Decker Crossing Paths 2018, cotton canvas, fiber reactive dye, hand-drawn illustration, digital printed, hand- and machine-embroidered, 54′′x 42′′.

4) Innovation Award 

Anne-Claude Cotty uses enlarged, mural-sized pinhole photographs and prints them on silk; depicting the human form; and, addressing issues of a world in crisis.

Anne-Claude Cotty Without Within / Caged 2019, silk, cotton, batting, pinhole photograph, appliquéd, quilted, 34′′x 32′′.

5) Material Exploration Award 

Ruth Tabancay uses microscopic imagery in her work—embroidering directly on printed micrographs to interact with the scanning electron microscope images.

Ruth Tabancay Nylon Knee Highs 156X 2018, watercolor paper, embroidery floss, scanned electron micrograph digital print, hand embroidered, 13′′x 16′′.

6) Fiber Reinterpreted Award 

Andrea Donnelley uses a loom as the ground from which she builds conductors into stories, lovely flawed experiments, unanswerable questions, and intimate bonds, inspired by quantum physics, poetry, literature, and psychology. 

Andrea Donnelly Portrait of a Recent Storm Cloud 2019, cotton thread, dye, PVA, canvas, hand woven, ikat-dyed thread, immersion-dyed cloth, cut, reassembled, 56′′x 80′′.

7) Next Generation Award 

Kirsteen Buchanan is a fashion and textile print designer, intrigued by beauty—the flow of fabric, color interplay, pattern engineering, and the opportunity that we have as fashion designers to engage, intrigue and challenge through clothing. She has created a collection based on visions of maps which are bounded by border prints constructed of motifs common to many cultures, as well as by those commonly used in mapmaking.

Kirsteen Buchanan Borders That Unite: Melting Maps (front) 2019, silk chiffon caftan, velvet bra, silk habotai pant, digital printed, indigo dyed, 45′′x 65′′. Photo: Aaron Ottis, model: Sydney Bia.

8) “Soft Borders” also includes twenty featured artists, each with one page highlighting the amazing work our members create: Heather Schulte, Janice Lessman-Moss, Eva Camacho-Sanchez, Jessica Wildman Katz, Betty Vera, Nancy Koenigsberg, Hannah Shimabukuro, Gretchen Morrissey, Anna Chupa, Susan Hensel, Meredith Grimsley, Kei’Anna Anderson, Kristi Swee Kuder, Barbara Osborne, Raija Jokinen, Mo Kelman, Michelle Browne, George-Ann Bowers, Mary Babcock, and Alison Muir.

Anna Chupa White Quilt 2015, cotton, sateen, free-motion longarm- quilted, 53′′ x 53′′.

Barbara Osborne Like a Space Needle Pagoda 2018, coiled pine needles, Jasper slice, cut Septarian Nodule, waxed linen, 161⁄2′′ x 7′′. Photo: Paul deRoos.

Eva Camacho-Sanchez Border Scars 2019, merino wool, cotton thread, porcupine quills, wet felted, hand stitched, 35′′ x 25′′.


To buy a copy of “Family Matters: SDA International Exhibition in Print”, go to the SDA Marketplace. A free digital sample will be available on our SDA Journal page.

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