Chicago-Area Fiber Resources
(First published in September/October 2003;
updated in October 2004)
Each fall, the SOFA (Sculpture Objects and Functional Art) expo, sponsored by Expressions in Culture, Inc., brings visitors to Chicago to view and collect work in fiber and other media (in 2004, November 5–7). In the spring, the International Quilt Festival comes to town (in 2005, April 8–10). While in Chicago, here are some other hot spots to check out. We recommend that you call for opening hours.
International Quilt Festival, (713) 781-6864, www.quilts.com
SOFA, (800) 563-7632, www.sofaexpo.com
Aron Packer Gallery, 118 N. Peoria, (312) 226-8984, www.aronpacker.com: Eclectic contemporary art (a few fiber artists)
Douglas Dawson, 400 N. Morgan, (312) 226-7975. www.douglasdawson.com: Archeological and historic non-Western art, including tribal textiles from areas such as Africa, Oceania, and Southeast Asia
FLATfile Contemporary, 118 N. Peoria, (312) 491-1190, www.flatfilegalleries.com: Contemporary photography, work on paper, painting, and sculpture (a few artists who work in fiber)
Function+Art, 1046 W. Fulton Market, (312) 243-2780, www.functionart.com: Functional art in all media, specializing in studio furniture and fine decorative craft
Northern Possessions, 900 N. Michigan Ave., (312) 397-0300: Wearables, jewelry, and contemporary craft
Perimeter Gallery, 210 W. Superior St., (312) 266-9473, www.perimetergallery.com: Contemporary fiber and textiles, as well as other media
Roy Boyd Gallery, 739 N. Wells St., (312) 642-1606, www.royboydgallery.com: Contemporary painting and sculpture, including Chicago fiber artists Joan Livingstone and Anne Wilson
Vale Craft Gallery, 230 W. Superior St., (312) 337-3525, www.valecraftgallery.com: Contemporary fine American craft, including fiber and textiles
Woman Made Gallery, 2418 W. Bloomingdale, Chicago, IL 60647-4301. (773) 489-8900; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.womanmade.org
Zg Gallery, 300 W. Superior St., Chicago, IL 60610. (312) 654-9900; email@example.com; www.zggallery.com
Aikos Art Materials, 3347 N. Clark, (773) 404-5600, www.aikosart.com: Japanese handmade papers, art supplies, stationery, and books
Chicago Canvas & Supply, 3719 W. Lawrence Ave., (773) 478-5700, www.chicagocanvas.com: Wide seamless canvas and muslin
Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts Unstore, 1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Floor, (312) 344-6630, www.colum.edu/centers/bpa/home.html: Dry and processed papermaking fibers, Pellon, books, bookbinding tools, colored linen thread, beeswax, book board, book cloth, and handmade paper
Fishman's Fabrics, 1101 S. Desplaines St., (312) 922-7250, www.fishmansfabrics.com: Large selection of high-quality fabrics for apparel and interior decorating
International Bead & Novelty Co., 111 N. Wabash, Room 714, (312) 332-0061: Beads and trimmings
Knitting Workshop, 2218 N. Lincoln, (773) 929-5776, www.knittingworkshop.com: Wide range of yarns and knitting supplies
Leonard Adler Co., 1001 W. Van Buren St., (312) 432-1004: Fabric and notions
Off The Bolt Inc., 1333 N. Kingsbury St., (312) 587-0046: Discounted designer fabrics for upholstery and drapery
Paper Source, 232 W. Chicago Ave., (312) 337-0798; 919 W. Armitage Ave. (773) 525-7300; locations also in Evanston, Highland Park, and Oak Park Ill.; www.paper-source.com: Fine handmade papers from around the world
Pearl Arts and Crafts, 225 W. Chicago Ave., (312) 915-0200, www.pearlpaint.com: Art and craft supplies, fabric paint, stamps
Textile Discount Outlet, 2121 W. 21st St. (call for hours), (773) 847-0572: Huge warehouse of greatly discounted fabric
Vogue Fabrics, 623–27 W. Roosevelt Rd., (312) 829-2505; also with locations in Evanston and Lansing, Ill.; www.myvoguefabrics.com: Large selection of fabrics and designer remains
Chicago Historical Society, Nancy Buenger, 1601 N. Clark St. (312) 642-5035 ext. 374, firstname.lastname@example.org: Conservation of textiles
Textile Restoration, Frank Connet, Textile Restoration Inc., 6140 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60639, (773) 637-7007: Restoration, conservation, and cleaning of antique, historic, and ethnographic textiles. Frank Connet, the restoration specialist, also has his textile-art studio on site. Call for an appointment.
Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Floor, (312) 344-6630, www.colum.edu/centers/bpa/home.html: Offers an M.F.A. program, as well as public classes in letterpress printing, bookbinding, and papermaking
Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, (847) 475-5300, www.evanstonartcenter.org: Classes ranging from basketry to katazome resist technique
Fine Line Creative Arts Center, 6N158 Crane Rd., St. Charles, (630) 584-9443, www.finelineca.org: Workshops, supplies, exhibitions, annual wearable-art show in the fall
Museums (call to see if textiles are on view at the time of your visit):
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 443-3600, www.artic.edu: Vast textile collection—16,000 textiles—spans twenty centuries and includes contemporary work
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 40 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston, (847) 491-4000, www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu: Twentieth-century sculpture and works on paper from the sixteenth century to the present. Occasionally exhibits textiles or fine craft.
The Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., (312) 922-9410, www.fieldmuseum.org: Biological and anthropological holdings, including textiles. Through January 9, 2005: Night Visions: The Secret Designs of Moths (digital images by Joseph Scheer) (Inspired by Scheer’s gorgeous images of moths, we included a blurb on his book in our November/December 2003 issue.)
Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave., (312) 280-2660, www.mcachicago.org: Art in all media from after 1945. Through January 9, 2005: The exhibition Soft Edge focuses on the use of natural materials and forms to craft suggestive works that relate to the earth and the body, including contemporary fiber work.
Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, 2320 W. Chicago Ave., (773) 227-5522, www.uima-art.org: Cultural exhibitions and work by artists and sculptors of Ukrainian descent
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 443-3600, www.artic.edu. For library policies, see www.artic.edu/aic/libraries.
Fashion Resource Center, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 10th floor, Room 1008, (312) 899-5169, www.artic.edu/saic/art/frc. Call to confirm access and hours. For groups of 4 to12 people, director Gillion Carrara can arrange for materials to be available on particular research subjects, such as pleating or the work of Issey Miyake.