elin noble: ethereal installation
by Patricia Belyea
LA CONNER WA Last Thursday night Elin Noble’s Vox Stellarum, an installation of itajime sihbori-dyed panels, transformed the third floor gallery of La Conner Quilt & Textile Musuem. Floating from the ceiling, 29 double lengths of silk organza created an experiential display shimmering with translucency and opaqueness, overlapping patterns and shifting shapes.
Elin explained her itajime dyeing process: “The cloth is accordion folded to create a repeat. Wooden shapes are held on either side of the cloth with spring clamps. The many complex layers of color and pattern begin to appear after color is removed and another color is put in its place. With each successive step of adding and subtracting color, the wooden shapes are moved to create another layer of subtle transition.”
I know Elin as the daughter of my dear mentor, the late Maurine Noble. The rest of the textile world looks up to Elin as an internationally renowned dyeing expert. The author of the award-winning book, Dyes & Paints: A Hands-On Guide to Coloring Fabric, Elin gained her BFA in fiber from University of Washington and formerly worked as the Lab Manager at PRO Chemical & Dye.
The La Conner installation marks the tenth time Vox Stellarum has been shown to the public. In the last seven years, the exhibit has included more or less panels—in solo and group shows around the country.
Elin’s work was inspired by a engraving in Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s four-volume, 18th century extravaganza of art, science and mysticism entitled Physica sacra. The engraving references Genesis 15:5, depicting Abraham fruitlessly trying to count the stars at night.
Although Elin lives in New Bedford, Massachusetts, her family resides in the Puget Sound area. At the opening of her show I got to catch up with everyone. Shown below: top L—father, Ed Noble, top R—brother Russ Noble, bottom L—neice, Sierra Noble, bottom R—husband Lasse Antonsen. Not shown: brother Lee Noble and sister-in-law Diana Noble.
Many textile lovers and Museum supporters also attended the event. Curator Kathleen Kok (L) smiled non-stop, enjoying the exhibit that had been hung by Elin and her husband, Lasse. An artist and former curator at the Danforth Museum, Lasse understands how to work with spaces and light to create wondrous installations.
With Vox Stellarum, Elin created a meditative space that’s engaging and interactive. It’s exciting to see a textile installation that’s pure visual poetry!
Vox Stellarum by Elin Noble
La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum
La Conner, WA
October 9 – December 28, 2014
Show catalog available in The Museum Store