BRATTLEBORO — A new show by visual and fiber artist Ruth Shafer opened Aug. 21 in the new gallery space in Hermit Thrush Brewery's expanded storefront. The show features fiber wall hangings, works on cardboard, and mixed-media canvases.
Shafer works from her home studio in Brattleboro. “I sew, weave, crochet, draw, write, and experiment to make art that amuses me,” she says on her website. “Much of my work is about 'inner life,' from the private experience of the body at home to the recycling of pop culture on a personal news feed.”
Said 'personal news feed' is reflected in the primary feature of the show, a series called “Cheap Trendy Art” is made up of hundreds of individual works on recycled cardboard with acrylic paint pens.
In February, Shafer won a microgrant at the EAT! Micro-Grant Dinner hosted at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center to fund the creation of Plush Studies, a stuffed sculpture series.
“Unfortunately, it's not a great time in history for interactive sculpture,” says Shafer. “But our homes need joyful art more than ever.”
With long hours isolated in the studio, Shafer turned to weaving tapestries on a homemade frame loom. Using a variety of techniques and materials, including yarn, string, fabric scraps, and embroidery thread, the tapestries range in color, size, and mood. The latest, “Golden,” was woven with a range of white fibers and then dyed, giving color to wool and silk threads but leaving acrylic and cotton unaffected.
Other works include quilted wall hangings and embroidered canvases.
This show is the first at the brewery since the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to close in early March.
When re-opening became possible, Hermit Thrush took advantage of new outdoor seats in the High Grove parking lot and is renovating a new retail and gallery space at 29 High St.
The brewery, which opened its doors in 2014, has been serving up to 12 customers in the outdoor space since July 24.