Ad Spot

Mary Zicafoose brings power of cloth to Oxford

Self-taught weaver Mary Zicafoose gives museum guests a tour of her collection Fault Lines during her lecture at the University of Mississippi Museum in Oxford, Miss. on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. (Chi Kalu, Oxford Eagle)

Master weaver Mary Zicafoose spoke at the University Museum last night, marking the last days of Pop Up Oxford and the beginning of the eighth-annual Fiber Arts Festival.

Zicafoose, who is based out of Omaha, Neb. began weaving over 25 years ago and is best known for her large-scale Ikat-patterned tapestries. In last night’s lecture, she highlighted the importance of textiles throughout her life, beginning as a Catholic schoolgirl helping organize liturgical garments before daily mass and continuing through her adult life.

“As a weaver and a dyer and a maker of cloth, my relationship with fiber defines me,” she said. “It is my personal and unique thumbprint and singular voice. On this planet, us textile folks are a small but mighty force, and we’ve got some big shoes to fill, because we are the present tense of a mundane but very sacred practice of making and adoring cloth.”

Zicafoose turned her passion for textile and emotions the medium inspires into a career. She has pieces on display throughout Nebraska and the United States, and currently has a collection, “Fault Lines,” at the University of Mississippi Museum through Feb. 10.

All of Zicafoose’s pieces are hand-dyed, a process she says came naturally when she began weaving.

“The week I started dyeing was the week I started weaving,” she said. “I’d have the wool dye on the stovetop, stirring it next to a pot of spaghetti. It’s become a huge part of my practice.”

She says her favorite colors to work with are in the blue and yellow color families, specifically navy blue and chartreuse. Pieces can take as many as six months to complete, and she has a team of three people working at her studio.

Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, who recently retired from the Ole Miss biology department, began weaving five years ago, and took one of Zicafoose’s classes. When introducing her at last night’s lecture, he described her as an artist, not a craftsman.

“[She] taught the humanity of the subject,” Threlkeld said. “That it’s not just a craft, but an art. You go out and learn from people, and everyone brings their ideas to the table.”

Weaving and other fiber arts have historically been discounted as crafts rather than an art form, but museum director Robert Saarnio says artists like Zicafoose are actively changing perceptions.

“Textiles and fiber arts have their own dedicated following, just like people who are into horticulture or poetry. It’s a large niche,” Saarnio said. “She’s really a visual artist who almost paints with textiles. She’s really elevated it from craft, to an art.”

In addition to last night’s lecture, Zicafoose will lead a weaving demonstration, titled “Art of Ikat,” on Friday morning at 9 a.m. at the Powerhouse as part of the Fiber Arts Festival. The Fiber Arts Festival begins today at 3 p.m. at the Powerhouse, and ends Sunday at 4 p.m. For more information or to sign up for a class, visit https://oxfordarts.com/events/fiberfest.

Lafayette County

Communicare Sees Infusion of Federal Grants

Crime

Kinne’s attorney requests psychiatric evaluation in capital murder case

Business

Area venues hosting Ole Miss watch parties due to limited capacity at stadiums

Lifestyle

Weekend kicks off “FinsUp Fanfare” at Lafayette County Arena

Business

Board of Aldermen approve more outdoor dining licenses

Crime

Local law enforcement agencies speak out against Initiative 65

Business

McCormick’s set to open at the Ole Miss Inn this weekend

News

First Regional Library Connects the Lafayette Community

Elections

Absentee voting begins in Lafayette County amid COVID-19

News

City of Oxford renews contract with Mississippi Critterz

News

Mississippi Senate honors Oxford Eagle Scout with resolution

Business

EDF partners with TVA To Help Bring 100 Remote Jobs To Lafayette Residents

Business

Outdoor dining areas around Downtown Square approved

Lafayette County

Supervisors claim Confederate statue is property of Lafayette County

Crime

Oxford Police Department has responded to 11 overdose calls this year

News

Board of Aldermen relax some retail and restaurant COVID-19 restrictions

Events

Halloween will still happen in Oxford, but with COVID-19 guidelines

News

Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi’s cardiovascular rehab program receives certification

News

NOTEBOOK: Moore ready to turn the page on Egg Bowl ending

Education

University of Mississippi named among Top 100 public universities

Education

Oxford and Lafayette County School Districts report low COVID-19 numbers

Education

Dr. Deborah Birx meets with University and Oxford officials on COVID-19 response

Business

Lamar Yard bringing Texas BBQ and good times to Oxford

News

Oxford High students host 4th annual tennis tournament for Memory Makers