Tag Archives: Selvedge

Family Affair

My hat is off to Able Baker Contemporary* of Portland, Maine. Their new exhibition Circle Time – Children and their Artists, (running 1/26 – 3/3/18) cleverly pairs the work of “local luminaries” (as one notice termed them) with the art of the young people in their families.


With such a great subject to write about, how could I resist sifting through the pages of saved artwork from my own two kids, looking for pieces that speak to me with the same sense of “transcendent visual art” referenced by the Able Baker Contemporary essayist? With my kids’ permission, I’m sharing a couple of my absolute favorites from each of them.

The curator’s accompanying essay frames this exhibition as something of an homage to the freedom and integrity of “childlike” creativity, touting its fearlessness as both an example and an influence for the mature artist, and for all who think visually.

Yet I see this show as so much more.  My process and resulting work was for many years largely informed through the necessities and demands of raising a family. The main reason I began to explore textiles as an art form in the first place was due to their non-toxic nature, making them safe to use in the presence of children, and the fact that I could pick up and put down work in a heartbeat, squeezing time for art in around the corners of all the other demands on a young mom’s attention. That’s undoubtedly why I find this exhibit a refreshing acknowledgement of the fuller picture behind the practices of the parent artists.

Lauren's Giant

Design-wise, I am captivated by the balance of elements in this piece that is the back cover of a book made by my daughter.

So often the backstage lives of emerging and young career artists are largely ignored unless there is something “noteworthy” to grab our attention, i.e. an illness overcome or exotic place lived that has influenced the work. There is little attention paid to the nuts and bolts backstory of the many who are diligently making art while simultaneously juggling the the day-in / day-out routines and challenges of being a parent.

Stu's Sunset

I see from the date that my son was two when he painted this sunset. We were living in Hawaii at the time. The colors say it all.

The genius of Circle Time, beyond acknowledging the enviable freedom and beauty to be found in a child’s art, is the celebration of the layers of life that contribute to and have sway upon the resulting work of the mature artists exhibiting alongside their children. Recognizing this bigger story as a necessary component in the evolution of the work and careers of these artists makes for a much deeper and more accessible experience for the viewer.

Stu's Lobster

As a native Mainer, I never met a lobster I didn’t love. This one takes the cake. There is something about the blue water that makes this piece sing for me.

I regret I probably won’t be able to swing a trip to Portland before the show closes on March 3rd, but I will be watching, and encourage you to follow, as the gallery continues to share images through Instagram.

*Able Baker Contemporary presented Selvedge last summer, an exhibition I was so glad to be part of, exploring the work of artists who embrace the history of painting via textile techniques.


I am just back from a fun weekend in Portland, Maine — the main objective being to visit “Selvedge”, the group show I am part of at Able Baker Contemporary. Kudos to curator Tessa Greene O’Brien who has compiled a thought-provoking mix of work that is challenging, eclectic, and highly conceptual.

Gallery view

“Selvedge” at Able Baker Contemporary

Despite the artists’ varying approaches and objectives, the work maintains a comfortable sense of integration and, as the week has worn on, the strength of “Selvedge” has become more and more evident as I can’t stop thinking about it. I regret that I wasn’t able to attend the opening so I could talk with some of the other artists about their ideas.

Salon Wall

Salon Wall : “Shift” ©2011 Elizabeth Fram, Wrapped-resist, Discharge and Stitching on Silk and Cotton, 10 x 9.5 inches (green lower half with horizontal stripes in upper right corner), just above the dark piece in the lower left corner of this image.

Tessa’s enlightening essay, which I encourage you to read in its brief entirety, clarifies her curatorial intent:

Each artist has developed a distinct visual language using textile techniques to resolve the two-dimensional concerns of color, space, form, and light. The artists’ use of non-traditional materials does not represent a rejection of painting’s history; instead, these painters embrace the medium with lively curiosity and sincerity.

It is an honor to be included and to see my work hanging in this beautiful gallery in the city next door to where I grew up. “Selvedge” runs through August 5.

Floe (left) and Crystallized (right) © 2015 Elizabeth Fram, Paint, Dye and Embroidery on Silk,  12 x 12 inches

Parterre (left) and Parterre 2 (right) ©2015 Elizabeth Fram, Paint and Embroidery on layered Silk, 12 x 12 inches

“Selvedge” participating artists: Cassie Jones, Elizabeth Kleene, Erica Licea-Kane, Susan Metrician, Maria Molteni, Tessa Greene O’Brien, Isabelle O’Donnell, Martha Tuttle, and Elizabeth Fram

Able Baker Contemporary


Outside the Studio

Happy June!    …month of the summer solstice and the Beta Taurids meteor shower.

I am really looking forward to being part of two exhibitions that open this month, one here in Vermont and another in Portland, Maine. No matter the venue, there is always a sense of liberation in getting work out of the studio and in front of public eyes. I am particularly excited about the Maine exhibit because it’s my first opportunity to show in Maine’s “big city”, the town next door to where I grew up.

Wild Fibers

Wild Fiberswhich opens locally on June 2, will be on view through July 9 at the Emile A. Gruppe Gallery in Jericho. It’s a collection of work from members of the Vermont chapter of the Surface Design Association, an international organization focused on “inspiring creativity, encouraging innovation, and advocating for artistic excellence … in textile-inspired art and design”.

We who are part of SDA Vermont are fortunate to have a very active committee that has devoted countless volunteer hours securing and organizing exhibitions across the state in an effort to expose the public to the wide range of possibility that exists within the world of surface design.* I think the growth of our membership can be directly attributed to the success of these shows. I am always amazed at the breadth of skills among our members, so if you have a chance to stop by the Gruppe Gallery in the next 5 weeks, I’m sure you too will be struck by the diversity of work and process on display.

For those of you who might be interested in activist artists who use knitting as a means of voicing their ideas and concerns about the world, let me give a quick plug to my friend and fellow SDA member, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, who will be presenting the talk “25 Years of Knitters Speaking Out” in conjunction with Wild Fibers. Her talk will be on Friday, June 16th from 6:30-7:30pm, also at the Gruppe Gallery.


Knitters at Town Meeting Day, Waterbury, VT     ©2016 Elizabeth Fram

Next week I will be shipping five pieces to Able Baker Contemporary for the upcoming show Selvedge, which runs from June 16 to August 5, 2017. If your travels take you anywhere near Portland this summer, I hope you will stop in. Curator Tessa Greene O’Brien has assembled work from nine artists, all of whom incorporate textiles in their practice while strongly maintaining a fine-art approach. The work is process-driven and carries a strong conceptual component. I’m thrilled to have been included and can’t wait to head to Portland in July to experience the show in person.


Able Baker Contemporary is on the Portland Stage block, within 300 yards of The Maine College of Art, Space Gallery, and Space Studios and the Portland Museum of Art, (where I’m excited to see Hans Hofmann; Works on Paper will be showing from June 16 to September 3), — in other words, a cultural hotbed that, combined with Portland’s fine restaurants and oceanside location, makes for an excellent weekend getaway!

Meanwhile, back to the unglamorous…I am slogging my way through an update of my website, and, as is probably to be expected, it’s way more time-consuming than I’d anticipated. There’s no escaping computer chores! However, to leave you on a happy note, I came across this  worthy diversion — a wonderful mix of metaphors and animation by Greg Condon that made me smile; I hope it will amuse you as well.


First Harvest     ©2017 Elizabeth Fram

*Surface design encompasses the coloring, patterning, and structuring of fiber and fabric. This involves creative exploration of processes such as dyeing, painting, printing, stitching, embellishing, quilting, weaving, knitting, felting, and paper-making.