My Journey as a Fiber Artist from India – Speaker Series Follow Up

The following post is contributed by Boisali Biswas, featured artist for the 2022 January Speaker Series.

Fiber Artist Boisali Biswas

I am Boisali Biswas, residing at West Bloomfield, MI. I am a mixed Media Fiber Artist, originally from India. Having come from a country with a rich history of art and culture, my work is deeply rooted in Indian heritage. 

In January I was invited to talk to the members of Huron River Art Collective. I took the opportunity to talk about my entire journey as a Fiber Artist for almost 30 years, primarily after we moved to the US. By now I have spent more years of my life in this adopted country than my birth country, India.

As I age, I realize how impossible it is to move away from my roots. I was very fortunate that my parents chose a very unique university to send me for my BFA degree. If it was not for the Viswa Bharati (The communion of the world with India) University, situated in the rural settings of Santiniketan (The Abode of Peace), I would not be the person I am today.

Santiniketan (The Abode of Peace)

That five-year experience at Santiniketan came to mean a particular way of life and left an indelible impact on me. It was not merely an art education. Nature and the arts were all entangled in our everyday lives. We were encouraged to grow as complete human beings in a community of students, teachers, workers, and occasional visitors from all over the world. It followed a complete secular philosophy, and we celebrated the seasons, and other occasions in very unique ways.  You can read about Tagore’s philosophy HERE.

My soul partly dwells in India and adapting to my life here, my art has become a cauldron of multicultural assemblages. Subconsciously mundane images from my childhood or daily life there show up in my art seamlessly when I incorporate traditional techniques and motifs. I love to weave and also play with fabrics and manipulate them in various ways. As a result of that over the years, I have tried to combine both in my work.

Artwork by Fiber Artist Boisali Biswas

Another of my passionate interest is in upcycling discarded materials. I collect materials which don’t recycle and are harmful to the earth and try to use them in my work. For many years now I have been weaving with the plastic fruit netting which bags our onions, lemons, etc. Not only do they add an interesting texture and color, they are used in some way. Same way if I find any interesting styrofoam forms, I save them to use in my work in some way or the other.

My journey continues as I explore my medium of textiles. I contemplate on how cultures, countries are bound together by the warp and weft of civilization, how we are wrapped in cloth ever since our inception!! 

Artwork by Fiber Artist Boisali Biswas

Please visit Boisali’s website for more work. www.boisalibiswas.com

Boisali Biswas will be in several invitational and juried shows through the entire Spring thru Summer. Information will be available on her website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram @boisalibiswas.

Happy New Year! 2022 Email from the President

This post was first shared with our membership by email on January 4, 2022 from Lizzy Wilson, Huron River Art Collective President.

Happy New Year!

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
 – Friedrich Nietzsche

I want to express my deep gratitude for you as a member of Huron River Art Collective. I thank you for participating in the decision-making and being patient as we continue to work through major changes during this time of Covid and much transition as an organization. You are the heart of this organization and key to building a supportive community for artists and the arts.

Especially, I want to thank our volunteer board of directors and committee members who have gone above and beyond, yet again, this past year. They have put so much time and energy, working in the background on infrastructure needs and adapting to overcome the obstacles of Covid this past year while continuing to provide and even expand educational, exhibition, and member social and networking opportunities. This year we have worked on improving our use of technologies, along with training volunteers, members, and guests to engage virtually so we could continue our Speaker Series, Empowering Women Artists program, ArtShare events, Critiques, as well as our board meetings. 

We also have taken a serious look at our sustainability as an organization and what is needed to assure the Collective continues to meet with its mission to support artists into the future. One outcome of this work is that we terminated the lease in our current space and are preparing to sign a contract to lease Trust Arts gallery space just down the road from our previous space. The lease is to begin February 1, 2022. January and February will be busy with the move. Our expectation is that by April we will be hosting events in our new space.

All of these changes we have seen in the past year are being driven by membership interest and guided by our mission and values. This coming year, if you have not yet done so, I hope you will jump in and get involved to help to make the Collective even better in 2022! 

Sincerely, 
Lizzy Wilson
Huron River Art Collective President

Our Values

Personal honesty, integrity and respect in our work as a board, membership, and community members

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, membership, and community engagement

Passion for teaching, learning, creativity, innovation, and sharing

Collaborative community approach connecting members and collaborating

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Mission

Our mission is to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for a diverse community of artists to share knowledge and opportunities that promote individual excellence, collaboration, inspire new creative perspectives, and offer engagement with the public to foster participation, appreciation, and support of the arts.

2021 Fall Juried Exhibit

Juror, Durwood Coffey at Malletts Creek Library for the Huron River Art Collective 2021 Fall Juried Exhibit.
Juror, Durwood Coffey at Malletts Creek Library for the Huron River Art Collective 2021 Fall Juried Exhibit.

On Friday, December 3, 2021, the Huron River Art Collective had the long awaited Fall 2021 Juried Art Show Reception at Malletts Creek Library in Ann Arbor.  There were over 150 entries for this show.  The Juror, Durwood Coffey, had the difficult task of choosing just 40 pieces of art to hang for this show.  He requested that we up it to 42, saying it was very difficult to choose as there were many outstanding and diverse pieces.  

The Juried Exhibition Committee and a number of volunteers met in late October to hang this show at the library.  While hanging, a staff member of the library was overheard saying, “it is so nice to have art on the walls again!’  Isn’t that the truth!?!  Patrons of the library were treated to a lovely display of art as they entered, explored and exited the library.  All works were for sale.

Some of those who attended the 2021 Fall Juried Exhibit reception on December 3rd.

Artists, friends and relatives who attended the reception viewed the lovely art, and socialized with fellow creatives.  Juror, Durwood Coffey gave out awards to Tricia Hampo, Bryan Wilson, Quadre Curry, Anne Rogers, Marilyn Thomas, Gwen McKay and Mary Riley.  Durwood also shared some words of wisdom regarding creating art.  While reflecting on the submitted work and how he made the difficult decision, he said one thing always stands out and that is composition.  If the composition is no good then it doesn’t matter how well rendered a piece is.  Good composition always trumps everything else.  He also told the group that there are two kinds of artists, those who are a “circle” and those who are a “straight line”.  A “circle” artist is one who does one thing, then another, then another, then does what this person wants, and what that person wants and so on and so on (sometimes this is necessary to make a living (; ).  The “straight” line artist creates similar things, but always moving forward along that same line.  The circular artist does not progress as fast as the straight line artist.  To sum it up, he says the straight line artist most likely creates what they love.  Bottom line, do what you love!  

We hope to see you and your art at the next exhibit!

The Huron River Art Collective would like to thank artist Trisha Hampo for speaking at the reception and writing this blog post. Congratulations again on your first place award.