art, fiber art

John Skau, a memorial

Here is the cover of Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot magazine (the official publication of the Handweavers Guild of America) from Summer 1998, when it published an article about John and his work. At the end of this post, you’ll find links to the article, which I scanned, and other links that I found about John on the Internet.

From 1993, for the Greensboro Weavers Guild “Whimsical” exhibit, John presented a woven shirt and a snake. John really liked snakes.

He is not in many of the Guild’s photos because he took most of them.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction (exhortation?) he wrote to Greensboro Weavers Guild members about “Let’s Be Whimsical,” the group project/exhibit that the Guild undertook in 1993-1994:

To me, the word whimsy strongly suggests the word freedom. I like that idea. We as artists and crafts people need more freedom. Working in the medium of fiber we are all too often faced with restrictions and constraints of one kind or another…

Throughout history artists and crafts people have had to deal with their own set of circumstances and limitations. Many of their limits were self imposed as many of ours are today. We can gain a great deal of artistic freedom by observation and thought followed by action. We all want to grow and explore new avenues as we create. We probably all realize that nothing is really “new” under this sun. But we really can bring our ideas and materials together in fresh and curious ways – in visually intriguing and thought provoking ways.

For an invigorating and inspirational exercise I like to examine the stuff of the past. Past peoples, past cultures, past movements, etc. A virtual treasure trove of art objects and solutions to visual problems is out there, waiting for us to learn from and enjoy. It can be so satisfying and almost overwhelming to witness the range of artistic expression that has gone on in the past. These objects belong to all of us, many may seem outlandish or “whimsical” but each serves as a bench mark for all who seek freedom of expression. Enjoy the images.

We went up to Virginia to be with our family for the holidays. One evening we went out for a drive to view the holiday lights. As we took off my brother-in-law who was driving announced that for safety purposes he was issuing ‘back seat driver’s licenses’ to all passengers! Wow! What an idea! I must do that for our guild members!

My dear guild members, under the auspices of our Greensboro Weavers Guild I am pleased to issue your well deserved ‘Artistic License.’ Use it in good health and ‘Whimsically’ of course!

Thank you, John. I believe that I’ll dig out that license, dust it off, and put it to use.

John Skau Links:

“John Skau in 3-D”, Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot, Summer 1998 (in jpg format, sorry!)

Page One
Page Two
Page Three

Cranbrook Academy of Art – his alumni online exhibit

American Art Company – John discusses his work; click on the photos to see larger images.

Peninsula Fine Arts Center – a description and photo from a 2006 exhibit.

Wexler Artist Gallery – three more photos of his work

Blue Spiral Gallery, Asheville

“Rock On” at Theatre Arts Galleries in High Point

Artists rally to help one of their own, News and Record, June 12, 2007. There’s a wonderful photo of John weaving a basket in this article.

John’s obituary and guestbook in the News and Record, in which he is described also as “a stay at home dad, cook, and bottle washer.”

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