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STREETSEEN  |  Felicitas Sloves

Photo by Steve Roberts

Felicitas Sloves: Weaver

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger

Felicitas Sloves’ family was originally from the Dutch East Indies. After World War II her parents lived in a military state until they were able to leave and go to Holland in the late 1950s. It was there that Sloves was born. Ultimately, with assistance from a nonprofit organization called Church World Service that helps refugees from embattled countries, the family ended up in Boston.

Since then Sloves has lived in many places, including New York, Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It was when her husband, Harold, accepted a job with The State of Tennessee in 2000 that Sloves moved to Memphis.

When asked about her path to art she said, “After graduating Smith College in 1977, I went to museum school in New York for a two-year program. What I liked best was a class I took about the history of American textiles. I learned about weaving and other textile arts such as quilting, embroidery and cross-stitch. There was something about weaving colors together and the textures of the yarn that really drew me in. I also learned about spinning yarn, dying wool and traditional weaving patterns.”

Once Sloves realized how much she loved weaving, she took more classes and explored the art style on her own. In 1980 she became serious about weaving and began selling her creations through shops and fairs in Massachusetts. She accepted commissions, as well. But she realized she couldn’t make a living as a weaver, so she went back to graduate school and studied Occupational Therapy, graduating in 1985 with a master’s degree from Tufts University.

After moving to Memphis in 2000, she resumed her craft and found a way to weave together her two career interests. 

“I started teaching through Creative Aging Mid-South, a nonprofit organization that brings the arts to the lives of local senior citizens,” explained Sloves. “I began as a workshop instructor in early 2000s and still teach for them from time to time. I love sharing my enthusiasm for weaving and using my skills as an occupational therapist as I work with senior citizens in our community.”

Sloves said that her multi-cultural background is what inspires her art as a weaver.

“I like to draw on my cultural background for the colors and designs, incorporating cultural artifacts, batik fabrics and shadow puppets that represent different myths,” explained Sloves. “Wool was my yarn of choice when I lived in Boston. Now I use mostly cotton and light weight materials like bamboo, silk, rayon (wood pulp) and Tencel (wood chips).”

Working with four looms in her home studio, Sloves crafts wall hangings and wearable art like scarves, purses and shawls. Additionally, she has completed a number of religious commissions for churches, synagogues and members of the clergy. 

“I have made several altar cloths for St. Johns United Methodist Church, as well as pulpit falls (long banners that hang over the front of the pulpit) and woven prayer shawls for the clergy, often different ones for different seasons,” said Sloves. “I have also woven stoles (Tallitot) for the rabbis at Temple Israel.”

Sloves’ work can also be seen at local and regional shows, like Winter Arts, the Pink Palace Crafts Fair and shows sponsored by the Memphis Guild of Handloom Weavers or the Tennessee Crafts Southwest. 

To learn more about weaver Felicitas Sloves, visit her Instagram page (Memphis Weaver) or contact her by email at memphisweaver@gmail.com.

 

 

STREETSEEN  |  Adam Farmer

Photo by Steve Roberts

Adam Farmer: Painter

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger

Adam Farmer, 28, is a native Memphian. After graduating from Houston High School, he attended the Memphis College of Art (MCA) where he completed a bachelor’s of fine arts degree, majoring in painting. During his time at MCA, Farmer spent a semester participating in the school’s New York Studio Program.

“It was a residency program,” recalled Farmer. “I was there from June through December. It was more like being in graduate school — I was allowed to do pretty much whatever I wanted. I worked on a lot of large scale oil paintings and some video art. I also recorded a lot of music.”

Farmer continued, “For me, an artist’s relationship to their work is a spiritual one and the artful life feels like a religious experience. Every artist finds their own path to expression. It’s a language of symbols, finding that which is personal and manifesting it in public spaces.”

To that end, for the last three years Farmer turned a portion of his home in Midtown into a gallery called, “Glitch.”

“I was removing the carpet in my living room and I realized that I could run an art gallery out of my home,” said Farmer. “It wasn’t my intention to become a curator, but for three years I created a collaborative space and held monthly shows for other people. Having been active in the local art community, I had a network of fellow artists. In 2014 I got an Arts Accelerator Grant from Arts Memphis that really helped me open doors for other artists, like friends, professors and former classmates from MCA, and people got to see some of my work as well. It turned out to be one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”

For Farmer, maintaining his studio is a very big part of being an artist. After hosting 48 shows, including music shows that were separate from the art shows, he found it difficult to maintain his own studio practice. 

“Maintaining your studio is a very big part of being an artist,” explained Farmer. “Now I’m focusing my time and attention on ‘sampling.’ Some of my work involves stacking two canvases together and cutting away part of the top canvas, like a peep hole, to reveal the images on the second canvas. I also cut up books to create drawings by cutting. 

Farmer is a self-described strategic hoarder. He said his art is about destroying things then putting them back together — that Information can be reused or recycled — and no material is off limits.

“For me, destruction is a form of creation,” explained Farmer. “I have to go through the destruction process in order to rebuild. At some point I feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have amassed and I have to purge, choosing what is worth keeping.”

Farmer said that sampling, repurposing information, also encompasses the music aspect of his life — that when he is not painting, he is probably recording music.

“Lately, I’ve been pretty occupied with converting years worth of cassette tape recordings to digital albums,” said Farmer. “Accompanying these digital albums are album covers that I’ve redesigned by repurposing snippets of paper and images to rework old vinyl record sleeves.”

With so many outlets for his creativity, Farmer said that mentally he is always preparing for a show. He spread his wings last March with a solo show at Marshall Arts titled, “Welcome Home.” 

Farmer said, “I’ve been in a cocoon for a while and this year is probably going to be my ‘butterfly year.’” 

For more information about Adam Farmer and his art, visit avantgauze.com