An exhibition of art quilts, wall hangings and handwrought jewelry created by Swarthmore artist Helen Larkin will be on display from February 4 through March 1, 2015 at Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue, Swarthmore. The public is invited to the artist’s reception on Friday February 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, scheduled as part of Swarthmore’s First Friday. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
The exhibit, entitled “Landscapes of the Imagination,” presents the work of Ms. Larkin, a Swarthmore artist and former longtime Wallingford resident, which she describes as being inspired by nature and by her travels to China, the Poconos, Louisiana and the American Southwest.
Her interest in quilts was sparked by early experiences with her grandmother, who used remnants from Ms. Larkin’s sewn clothing in her quilts. She describes herself as having been fascinated with the graphic quality of the quilts she saw in a mid-1970s quilt exhibit at the Whitney Museum, and that her attraction to pattern and texture in fabric led her to a quilting class taught by Nancy Rose of Swarthmore in 1985, and then to an exhibit of contemporary quilts at the Quilt National 1987 biennial exhibit. She says that the inspiration from those quilts has “led me on an adventure exploring two different facets of this historic art form: the graphic aspects of design inherent in the quilt-making process, and the use of fabric to translate my impressions of our natural surroundings.”
In the early 1960s, she took her first jewelry class with Miriam Elsbree at the Community Arts Center, Wallingford, followed by classes and workshops with artists Don Pyewell, Faith Pfaffet-Lugassy, Harold O’Connor and Marcia Clark. Her pins and pendants are made from metals such as silver and copper, and semiprecious stones such as, picture jasper and plume agate. She says “the beauty that comes from the earth, and the process of creating a wearable piece of jewelry, never ceases to amaze and inspire me. I enjoy both the puzzle and the mechanics of translating that inspiration with a melding of earth’s rocks and earth’s metals into jewelry.”
Ms. Larkin has exhibited locally in a number of area shows and juried exhibits, including the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, and has won a number of prizes for her art quilts and her jewelry. She has been a member of Main Line Quilters since 1987, and a participant in the Advanced Jewelry Studio Workshop at the Community Arts Center since 2000.