Recent Work by Serge Nepomnine

Serge is a silk painter. He recently finished two paintings, one of poppies, called “Laughing Sisters”, and one of apple blossoms, called “Radars of Spring.” They are part of the "Flower Portraits" series he is painting right now.

Laughing Sisters

Laughing Sisters

As always, Serge has encoded numbers into his paintings. If you discover the number, you will see that literally everything in the painting is an aliquot to that number, or a couple of them…

Radars of Spring

Radars of Spring

Even the number of letters in the name of the painting is relevant.

The challenge for Serge is to make it so inconspicuous that the main objective, which is the story and composition, does not suffer. If you ask him to explain, he will smile, and answer, “I will just say that in my compositions you will always see an odd number of flowers, even for a very large compositions. The number of floral elements in the composition plays a significant role in many cultures, including Russian and Japanese cultures, which I studied as an Ikebana artist. I do believe in the power of numbers, and have my lucky ones, but absolutely don't believe in ‘numerology,’ which takes it to absurdity.”

As far as "how does he do that"? He considers it a challenge and his secret — how to create a balanced, yet dynamic, composition and make sure that it has the right amount of elements in it.

Members Present Continued

At our July meeting, we also had presentations from Kathy Nida, Michael F. Rohde, and Brecia Kralovic-Logan about their work.

Kathy Nida is a quilt artist, but she has been doing some embroidery work in the last few months. She recently started a piece for The Tiny Pricks Project, a play on words about what a needle does in fabric, but really a massive protest against the words of Donald Trump. The project started when its founder, Diana Weymar, decided to document a Trump tweet on a piece of her grandmother’s linen. The project grew to over 1000 submissions, with a goal of 2020 pieces by 2020. Nida is involved in a feminist art group who chose to be part of the project.

One of Nida’s friends found a doily of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Nida proceeded to start stitching a quote from Trump about how we can leave if we don’t like it here.

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Nida is freehand stitching the letters, noting that there was no easy way to mark them. Her plan is to fill the piece with his words, taken from a speech on July 17.

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She’s using stem stitch and a Perle 8 cotton. She did layer the doily on a solid background both for stability and visibility of the image.

Nida also brought a drawing of one of the embroideries she has designed.

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This is Desert Mother. Her patterns are available at Global Artisans.

Michael F. Rohde took members on a tour of his work and ideas as he started weaving until current day.

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He spoke of hand-dying his own threads, working with controlled block shapes, and weaving inlays over a block. He has written articles about some of his techniques, collaborated with a quilt artist for alternating squares, and finally transitioned from thinking of his work as rugs to thinking of them as wall hangings. He has woven kimono shapes around the four seasons, house forms, designing in a row, some organic shapes, and even went 3-D into basket shapes at one time. His work references at times Turkish tiles, boro cloth, kente cloth, and tiles from Morocco. He worked on pixelating faces, including this recent piece Reality, which is part of the FiberArts IX exhibit at the Sebastopol Center of the Arts through September 8.


He is currently working on generating squares as language using all hand-dyed threads. He has completed 4 pieces, with 5 more in process. The first 4 were types of speech language; now he is focusing on what we’re seeing on the news. It takes 3-4 months for him to complete one of these large pieces. He chooses the squares in a random way, using cards that document asymmetric arrangements of colors and pixels. Is each square a letter? A word?

Brecia Kralovic-Logan has been managing a large piece called Women’s Woven Voices. Brecia explains the project on her website as a woven tapestry based on the stories of 1,000 women globally, which she hopes to have completed by 2020. The purpose of exhibiting the work will be to shine a light on the creative accomplishments of women while calling attention to the challenges women currently face worldwide. She brought the panels she has completed so far, which consist of 150 woven stories, including a few California Fibers’ members.

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Another goal of the project is to foster a culture of self-knowledge and sharing that builds courage and fosters a sense of power in women everywhere to contribute to their communities in positive ways. Also she hopes to allow women to tell the story of their lives, as a catalyst for change, particularly by opening up discussions about issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse in a safe and supportive way. The red fringe is a documentation of the fact that 3 out of every 4 women is subjected to some form of sexual abuse in their lifetime. She also hopes to promote resilience, compassion, open communication, healing and peace in individuals and communities.

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If you’re interested in contributing to the project, click on the link above for more information on how to get your weaving kit and start your personal story.

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Members traded off holding panels and walking around to look at details of the project.

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The finished panels have been displayed in a variety of locations and will continue to be exhibited as the project grows.

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As you can see, California Fibers’ members are involved in a wide variety of projects. Stay tuned as we continue to delve into their works in progress.

Members Present

California Fibers has quarterly meetings, where we do all the normal business stuff that any group does, but we also have a program each time. This meeting, we had five members present about their work, some focusing on how they got where they are today, and others on specific pieces that they are currently working on.

Two of the members who presented at the July meeting were Peggy Wiedemann and Gail Fraser. You’ve seen Peggy’s progress in creating a chair from a some structural materials and pine needles in the last two posts, but she brought the finished project to the meeting, as well as a bird created with pine needles and some upcycled, traded fibers from our April meeting.

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Peggy (on the left) talked about how she got started in coiling pine needles, as opposed to other art forms. She finds the coiling meditative. She didn’t start working in baskets until after the age of 50, although she owned many of them. Working on these projects is a way to experiment with structure. The chair has part of a real chair underneath, and then sculpture wire for other parts. The bird below also has some wire for structure and stability.

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Wiedemann often starts a piece with no clear idea of how it will turn out. She also often has ideas about where to go next while she’s solving problems in the piece she is currently working on. She is starting another chair, but this one will be a wall piece, based on some of the ideas she had while working on this chair.

Gail Fraser has been experimenting with succulent leaves from her garden. She waits for the leaves to dry and then treats them with a variety of materials to get them flat and more flexible, so she can work with them. The leaves on her current projects have come from these two plants…

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After processing them, she then stitches them into panels. You can see the dried and treated leaf below with some of the stitched panels in the background.

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Fraser hasn’t decided what she will do with the panels next…

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We’re looking forward to seeing what comes from these…

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Fascinating projects. Stay tuned as we check in with the other three members who presented at our July meeting. And if you’re interested in becoming a member of California Fibers, contact us for more information about how to jury in. We have upcoming shows throughout Southern California and perhaps further out, plus more member presentations in upcoming meetings.