For a majority of September, the Student Art Gallery in the Strain Safety building will be home to a cozy collaboration of blue hues. Indigo, the latest exhibition presented by Associate Professor of Fiber Art and Printmaking Barbara Westman, showcases the collected works of students from both Slippery Rock University as well as the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland.

“This was the sixth year,” Westman explained. “We initiated in the 2013-14 academic year, and every year afterwards—over the summer and early fall — we exhibit these two collections of work.”

Students were assigned the task of making fiber art—creations of organic and synthetic materials such as yarn, fabric or denim—with a relatively simple set of instructions. Using four square panels, students were to create works that primarily featured the pigment indigo or similar blue colors.

“The whole collaboration is based on four small squares which could have been configured in whatever way students wanted to,” Westman elaborated. “You can see a variety of either four together, or a diamond or just one vertical line.”

As Westman said prior, this is one of many exhibits of fiber art created by the intercultural exchange. Just last semester, the University Union housed a very similar gallery—titled Student to Student—instead based on layers. Despite the difference in specifics, the goal of the project remains the same: to analyze how peers from across the world create such different —or similar—pieces from the same instructions.

“We can definitely see that there are some differences between how our American students express their artistic vision for indigo, and then also the Polish students will definitely have a different spin on this assignment,” Westman said. “When we put these two collections together we realize that people interpret things in very different ways!”

These fiber art exhibitions are a yearly tradition for Westman and her students, with the gallery popping up in both Poland and SRU at different times throughout the year. For the time being, however, Indigo shall remain quiet, calm and contemplative within the Student Art Gallery until the Sept. 20 when it shuts its doors in preparation for next year’s creations.


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