A display of fiber art and handcrafted dolls will bring playfulness to the Community Arts Center of Cambria County.
“Dorie’s Village,” featuring fiber art from the late Dorothy “Dorie” Sheridan, will be on display Saturday through Aug. 23 in the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center gallery at the arts center, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.
Sheridan painted and sculpted silk into intriguing characters.
Her work is mostly figural, with references to animal forms.
The richness of her dyed silk is complemented by the semi-precious gems and found objects she incorporated.
Sheridan developed layering techniques that combine fibers with binders, giving added depth.
Her collections of Village Folk, Spirit Guide Dolls, Empresses, Vessels and Royal Knobbies are graced with humble charm, mystique and whimsy.
They strike a familiar chord in a personal way to each viewer, evoking cultural richness and spiritual renewal and making hearts smile.
The people Sheridan portrayed are not meant to be recognizable from one particular time or place.
Rather, they are for all to relate to and feel connected.
“My mother’s work helps the viewer find what’s special, hidden within simplicity, and what’s relatable, hidden within the extraordinary,” said Marcene Glover, Sheridan’s daughter.
“Her work is filled with empathy, which still remains the greatest influence on my own art.”
Angela R. Godin, executive director of the arts center, said she didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Sheridan, but added that the impact she left is undeniable.
“Her husband Patrick has been an integral part of the Community Arts Center’s staff, and it is a true honor to host his late wife’s amazing talent,” she said.
“Patrick and his daughter, Marcene, have worked diligently to gather an astounding array of her work as a true tribute to Dorothy.”
Godin said the exhibit will include wall hangings, dolls that are meant to hang on the wall and stand-up 3D dolls.
“It’s really impressive,” she said.
“One piece is part of our permanent collection, and it’s three dolls holding hands in a circle all facing each other.
“It’s all fabric, so the intricacies that it took to make the hands and the faces are so detail-oriented. You can see the manhours and dedication.”
Some of the pieces in the exhibit will be for sale following the show.
In an artist’s statement, Sheridan said silk painting is unpredictable and uncontrollable and a joy to experience.
“The brilliance and purity of colors, the fluid movement of the dyes on silk, the vibrancy and immediacy of the medium are what draw me to silk painting,” she said.
“It is a challenge to allow the silk to determine its destiny and, at the same time, create a very personal expression of my own.”
Sheridan said there’s an added challenge and pleasure from creating vessels and sculptures from silk.
“The challenge comes from having to overcome obstacles presented by the use of a soft fabric,” she said.
“The pleasure comes in seeing each Butterfly King, Ishtar the Brave, Empress and Spirit Guide emerge from the silk.”
Sheridan’s sculptures have been awarded and featured in regional exhibits, including the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art’s biennials, tourist boutiques and the 1982 World’s Fair.
They’ve been commissioned by celebrities, including Mrs. Arnold Palmer and former First Lady Nancy Reagan. They also have been collected by U.S. foreign ambassadors.
Sheridan was inducted into Bottle Works’ Artists Hall of Fame and was represented by the Christine Frechard Gallery in Pittsburgh.
“Even though she did this as a hobby, it was something that blossomed and bloomed into so much more than that,” Godin said.
“I hope people see the love and dedication she put into everything she did because she was truly passionate about it.”
To celebrate the exhibition, an opening reception will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 3.
A gallery talk with Glover will take place at 2 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.
“Marcene will talk about her mother’s work, share stories, memories and anecdotes and express how watching her mom helped open her eyes into being an artist,” Godin said.
Light refreshments will be served.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
For more information, call 814-255-6515 or www.caccc.org.