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Laurie Herrick:
Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Museum of Contemporary Craft
Portland OR – Mar 17-Jul 30, 2011

Laurie Herrick, Three Giraffes

Laurie Herrick, Three Giraffes (1970), linen, cotton and wool [Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland OR, Mar 17-Jul 30] Collection of MoCC in partnership with PNCA, Gift of Ken Shores, Photo: Dan Kvitka

Laurie Herrick, Purple Polychrome

Laurie Herrick, Purple Polychrome (1975), wool [Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland OR, Mar 17-Jul 30] Collection of Carol Smith-Larson, Photo: Dan Kvitka

The late Portland artist and master weaver Laurie Herrick (1908-1995) is the subject of a major exhibition that celebrates her life’s work and highlights weaving as a relevant contemporary craft and applied art. The exhibit highlights Herrick’s inventive woven structures in both abstract art pieces and loom-controlled “wearables”. Studio notes and thread samples provide insight into her practice.

Interested in the physical motion of weaving, Herrick applied process-oriented techniques that echo grid-like mathematics. Her many Op Art designs are precise and immaculate while her open warp pieces are multi-layered expressionistic artworks.

As a mid-century designer/craftsperson, Herrick worked at Martha Pollack’s Pasadena design studio in the 1940s before moving to Portland where she taught at Oregon College of Art and Craft for more than 20 years. Herrick is known for creating original textile designs for churches and synagogues in the region. Most notably, her three-panel Tree of Life tapestry (1970), which still hangs at the First Unitarian Church of Portland, was created with a traditional early American weave structure known as Summer and Winter. The orderly geometric structure produces double-sided designs that are exact opposites in tonality. Herrick’s neutral tree on a warm-hued background is meant to be reversed with the seasons to reveal a warm-hued tree on a neutral background.

MoCC’s website contains extensive information on Herrick’s process, including downloadable weaving drafts and the option for anyone to upload images of projects created with Herrick’s pieces in mind. The exhibition also includes a series of five artist-in-residencies. Each resident will create a work inspired by Herrick’s design principles.

Allyn Cantor


























Laurie Herrick, The River

Laurie Herrick, The River (1985), wool [Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland OR, Mar 17-Jul 30] Collection of the City of Lake Oswego Arts Council. Inspired by: Eliot Porter, The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado, New York: Ballantine Books, 1963, Photo by: Dan Kvitka


 Mon, Apr 4, 2011