‘Twisted, Beaded, Braided’: Fiber arts go beyond traditional domestic function

‘Twisted, Beaded, Braided’: Fiber arts go beyond traditional domestic function

“I think fiber artists are often overlooked in the art world,” says John Rankine, a photographer and multi-media artist himself. He’s also one of the owners of Brews, a craft beer and coffee shop in Eureka Springs where art always fills the walls. The current exhibit, on show until March 3, is titled “Twisted, Beaded, Braided” and features weaving, beading, macramé, felting, quilting, sewing, stitching and combinations of all of the above in an eclectic show featuring seasoned artists like Arkansas Treasure Eleanor Lux and Edwige Denyszn to newer artists like Josh Clark and Caragh McCallion.

“These seven are just a small portion of artists doing beautiful works in the traditional women’s roles,” Rankine says.

The show exists both at Brews and online on Facebook, something Rankine started because of the covid-19 pandemic.

“Even though at Brews we don’t have openings and are very strict with mask wearing and social distancing rules, I know many people are still uncomfortable going into any kind of establishment,” he says. “An online presence, while hardly the equivalent of seeing it in person, allows many in the community to see what is happening in the art scene in Eureka Springs.

“I especially love these themed group exhibitions and am always blown away by the plethora of talent we have in our tiny town,” Rankine adds. “Artists, like everyone else, are struggling right now, and I love having a display venue for many of the creative types living here. But I miss the art openings and look forward to the time when we can hug and cheer each other on in person!”

Meet the artists here.

Kathy Martone

‘Death And Rebirth’
Kathy Call Martone
Diptych: Fabric

Born in Little Rock, Martone has called Eureka Springs home since 2015.

“My primary medium is fabric, specifically velvet tapestries embellished with ribbons, feathers, braid, seed beads, rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, costume jewelry, antique jewelry, semi-precious stones and found objects,” Martone says. “I was inspired by a dream in 2005 to begin making fabric art. In the dream, I was gifted with a banner that used similar materials to create an image. I have always loved velvet and bright colors, so I decided to try using that fabric and settled on the use of images from my dreams as the subject matter. I had been looking for a way to make art using fabric and other materials, as I really enjoy creating objects of beauty in a somewhat three-dimensional format.

“One of my tapestries is a diptych titled ‘Death and Rebirth,’ and the two pieces tell the story of Nimawa, a Native American medicine woman, who is embraced by her death aspect as she re-emerges from her last journey between the worlds. The reason these pieces are different for me is that the images were not inspired by a dream, but instead, from a series of shamanic journeys. All the other pieces on display at Brews were inspired by my own dreams.”


Josh Clark

Josh Clark

From Jonesboro, Clark moved to Eureka Springs in 2014.

“Jewelry craft is my primary medium,” says Clark. “I have that magpie eye for shiny objects. The piece titled ‘Shiny’ is a good representation of that. Several jewelry techniques are involved.

“‘Blue Mountain’ is the one that is actually the most out of my wheelhouse. It started as an experiment to use waste materials but just kept growing until a pattern emerged. The use of beads may seem random but was actually dictated by this pattern. Also, ‘Blue Mountain’ is my first macrame hanging to be shown in public.”


Eleanor Lux

‘Ozark Mountains’
Eleanor Lux
Cotton, wool, flax and glass beads

Born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., Lux moved to Eureka Springs in 1971.

Lux graduated from Memphis State University with a degree in history and printmaking, but it was there she took her first weaving course. She loved stained glass and worked in a Memphis Glass Studio for 10 years creating stained glass window designs in watercolor, mostly for church windows. After moving to Eureka Springs with her daughters, she began to work as a weaver, demonstrating spinning, weaving, and yarn-dying techniques at craft shows and local businesses while also creating custom fiber tapestries, rugs, and window shades, and other functional fiber art pieces for clients.

She travels to Mexico every year with her husband and needed a way to continue creating on the road. That is where her passion for beadwork began. “Technically, beading is also weaving because I’m weaving with a needle through each glass bead,” she says. “It combines my two loves.”

Lux is a co-founder of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts and in 2016 received the Arkansas Arts Council Living Treasure Award.


Edwige A. Denyszyn

‘The Eye’
Edwige Denyszyn
Quilting, felting and fabric paint

Born in France of Polish immigrants, Denyszyn came to the U.S. in 1962 and to Eureka Springs in 2004 to start Keels Creek Winery.

“From the early 1990s, beading has been my primary medium; second is fiber art,” Denyszyn says. “As to why, well the short story is I was a basket weaver in the 1980s where I incorporated a lot of beads and fibers into my weavings. I have made masks before in different mediums. The use of threads or fabric is new for me.

“What is at Brews currently is more representative of the fiber art. My bead work is very elaborate and expensive, [and] I keep in mind the cost for Brews clientele.”


Caragh McCallion

‘Macramé With Quartz Crystals’
Caragh McCallion
Driftwood, organic cotton with embedded quartz crystals

“Nature has always been my inspiration to create,” says McCallion. “Houseplants bring nature and harmony to your space and are amazing air purifiers. In appreciation of the macrame aesthetic and with a desire to surround myself with plants inside my home, I began to make plant hangers.

“Enjoying the macrame process, I expanded to creating decorative wall hangings, curtains, jewelry, wedding decor and more. I work primarily with 100% organic cotton and also use other natural and sustainable materials. Each piece of Morning Glory Macrame is one of a kind.”


Kelli Cole Ladwig

‘Blue Shawl’
Kelli Cole Ladwig
Hand knitted from hand painted merino and corriedale yarns

Kelli Cole Ladwig has lived full time in Eureka Springs since July after having “lazily circled the Ozarks my entire life.”

“My primary medium is thread, cotton or wool, preferably,” she says. “I quilt, knit and crochet. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love paper and cloth. I remember pestering relatives to teach me to quilt and embroider. I also remember cutting the buttons off a hand-me-down housecoat and sewing ‘fancy’ buttons on from my mother’s button box. That was a lovely mess. I had to have been 4 because I wasn’t in school yet.

“While I love the shawls that I have made, and I own an online knitting business and teach knitting classes, my heart is with the American flag quilt [at Brews]. It isn’t the best quilt, but it represents one of my passions, and that is teaching fiber arts to children. It was a sample I made for a children’s fiber art camp. They made that quilt in one week from start to finish. I am proud of those children and what they learned in one week.”


Alan Margolies

‘Inclusive Man’
Alan Margolies
Mixed media: crochet, beading, paint

The seventh artist could not be reached for this story.



‘Twisted, Beaded, Braided’

WHEN — Until March 3

WHERE — Brews, 2 Pine St. in Eureka Springs

COST — Admission is free; art is for sale

INFO —www.brewseurekasprings.com or facebook.com/Brews-online-art-exhibition-115300743496377

Categories: Cover Story