Category Archives: Philadelphia Art Alliance


Inside the Bloody Beehive with Artist Judith Schaechter

Video by John Thornton Films

“The first time I ever heard of artist Judith Schaechter was sometime back in the early 1980’s when we were both in a group show at Philadelphia’s Art Alliance. She had  this small unassuming painting that I have never forgotten. Judith stopped painting and went on to excel in another medium, stained glass, and on October 17th, 2015 I went back to the Philadelphia Art Alliance to see a dazzling display of her work. Later, I spent an afternoon at Judith’s home and studio. I believe that this funny, brilliant woman is one of the world’s greatest living artists.” – John Thornton

“It seems my work is centered on the idea of transforming the wretched into the beautiful in theme as well as design. For me, this means taking what is typically negative — say, unspeakable grief, unbearable sentimentality, or nerve-wracking ambivalence, and representing it in such a way that it is inviting and safe to contemplate and captivating to observe (to avoid ending with preposition). I am at one with those who believe art is a way of feeling one’s feelings in a deeper, more poignant way.” – Judith Schaechter excerpt artist statement

Judith Schaechter’s work is gut-wrenchingly beautiful. “Beauty” says the artist, “is considered the most horrible crime you can commit in the modern art world. People are suspicious of anything that makes them feel as though they may lose control. Beauty forces you to confront your helplessness as well as your dark side. My work is not intended to make comfortable people unhappy, although it may make unhappy people comfortable.” – University of the Arts faculty

Like Judith Schaechter Stained Glass on facebook

Subscribe to John Thornton Films on YouTube

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWs on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.

Lithuanian Festival 2013

Lithuanian Festival 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Lithuanian Embassy in the United States and the Lithuanian Honorary Consulate of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce a Lithuanian Festival of eventscelebrating the Lithuanian presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2013. In partnership with numerous Philadelphia organizations, fifteen events will give an unprecedented insight into Lithuania’s contemporary culture through its international award winners in art, design, jazz, photography, film, and cuisine; as well as world renowned scholars in politics, economics and history.

Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.S. Žygimantas Pavilionis noted, “Philadelphia has been kindly welcoming Lithuanians since the 19th century, and the current interest and enthusiasm is extraordinary. I am delighted that the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ is open to learning about our Baltic nation, and building bridges of insight and understanding in the world, celebrating that which is best in all people.”

This is the first Lithuanian Festival of this magnitude in Philadelphia, and is a keystone celebration of Lithuania’s EU presidency. All events are open to the public; for those events which require tickets or reservations, contacts are noted; events are listed below in chronologic order.

Living Foods Workshops

Location: Loreta’s Living Foods, 1291 Wisteria Dr., Malvern, PA. Time: Saturday, October 26, 2013, Noon-3 pm. Cost: $75 per person, reservations required, call 610-648.0241 or email See:,

The modern day living foods movement was founded by the late, Lithuanian born Ann Wigmore, who healed herself of cancer and countless others of myriad conditions by applying the Hippocratic maxim “Let food be your medicine.” Main Line resident Loreta Vainius studied with Ann Wigmore and many others, and is one of the foremost authorities today on the living foods lifestyle, which is growing in popularity all around the world. The medical and academic communities in Lithuania have embraced its concepts, constructed an Ann Wigmore memorial, and are integrating living foods into their research and commitment to creating the next paradigm of health care. At this workshop, participants will learn about organic raw, fermented and sprouted living foods, and learn how to sprout their own seeds at home, prepare energy soup, almond vegetable and herb pate, fruit “ice cream”, wheatgrass juice, and other healthy, revitalizing foods.

“Mugė” Lithuanian Community Fair

Location: Lithuanian Music Hall, 2715 East Allegheny Ave., Philadelphia Time: Saturday, November 2, Noon–9pm & Sunday, November 3, 2013, Noon–6pm Cost: Tickets can be purchased at the door, $5 adults and children under 12 free. See:, for info call 215.739.4831

The annual “Mugė” Lithuanian Community Fair is organized by the Lithuanian American Community and features vendors selling handmade jewelry and ornaments, books, music and memorabilia; traditional Lithuanian savories and sweets including arguably the world’s best potato pancakes; Lithuanian folk and contemporary music, dancing, face-painting and games for children.

Lithuanian Inspired Dinner with Guest Chef Michael Laiskonis

Location: Sbraga, 440 S. Broad Street. Time: Wednesday, November 6; reservations accepted from 5pm–10pm. Cost: $75 per person for 5 course prix; reservations required, please call: 215.735.1913

Menu: Textures of Borscht Amuse Bouche; Herring with Smoked Potato, Pickled Parsnip and Carrot; Savory Lamb Dumpling “Cepelinai”; Roasted Duck with Chanterelle, Cabbage, and Fried Black Bread; Poppy Seed Beignet “Spurgos” with Huckleberry, Creme Fraiche Sorbet; Apple Confit with Rye Tuile, “Alus” Beer Ice Cream. See:, Facebook Michael Laiskonis.

Michael Laiskonis is trained in classic culinary traditions and has won international accolades from Guide Michelin, the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appetit and the New York Times among some. Proudly, he also celebrates his Lithuanian heritage, having traversed the Baltic nation, and creatively incorporated its traditions and flavors into totally modern new recipes. Kevin Sbraga, owner of the eponymous restaurant, has won his own share of laurels, most notably from Bocuse d’Or, Bravo’s Top Chef and Esquire magazine.

Contemporary Lithuanian Photography Lecture by Eglė Deltuvaitė

Location: The Print Center, 1614 Latimer Street, Philadelphia. Time: Thursday, November 7, 6pm. Cost: Free and open to the public, but reservations can be made by contacting Eli VandenBerg at 215.735.6090 x1 or See:,,

Lithuanian Photography in the 20th & 21st Centuries

Lithuania has a vibrant and flourishing photographic culture, which embodies the European sensibility of inclusiveness and experimentation. Contemporary Lithuanian photography reveals the influence of classic traditions that originated with the Lithuanian school of the 1960s, as well as elements of the “aesthetics of boredom” and social landscapes of the 1980s, to the recent hybrids of neo-conceptualism, documentary and staged photography.

Eglė Deltuvaitė is one of the foremost photography curators in Lithuania. In 2008, she received her Master’s Degree in UNESCO Cultural Management and Cultural Policy from Vilnius Art Academy in Lithuania. She has worked with the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers and coordinated numerous international cultural programs. She is currently acting director of the International Cultural Programme Centre, and director of the non-profit organization for photography and publishing projects “Culture Menu”.

The Print Center, founded in 1915, supports printmaking and photography as vital contemporary arts through exhibitions and related educational programs, art sales and an award-winning public school arts education program. This is the first time this lecture on Lithuanian photography will be presented in the US.

An Evening of Lithuanian Fare with Michael Laiskonis

Location: COOK, 253 S. 20th Street, Philadelphia. Time: Thursday, November 7, 7pm. Cost: $145 per person (includes class, dinner and beverage pairings); reservations required and will be accepted online after October 4 at or 215.735.COOK

Menu: Borscht, Traditional and “Deconstructed”; Herring with Smoked Potato, Pickled Parsnip and Carrot; Savory Lamb Dumpling “Cepelinai”; Poppy Seed Beignet “Spurgos” with Huckleberry, Crme Fraiche Sorbet. See:, Facebook Michael Laiskonis

Michael Laiskonis is trained in classic culinary traditions and has won international accolades from Guide Michelin, the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appetit and the New York Times among some. Proudly, he also celebrates his Lithuanian heritage, having traversed the Baltic nation, and creatively incorporated its traditions and flavors into totally modern new recipes. Opened in 2011, COOK is Philadelphia’s first state-of-the-art, fully equipped kitchen-classroom where guests enjoy chef tastings, culinary demonstrations and cooking classes in a beautiful, intimate setting. With the help of partners, Philadelphia Magazine and Foobooz, COOK provides a platform for learning, experimentation, menu tastings and private dining events focused on celebrating the craft of cooking, drinking and gathering at the table – a space where everyone from the aspiring novice chef to the most decorated master of cuisine can come share their love and knowledge of food and drink.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show featuring Lithuanian Guest Artists

Location: The Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street. Time: Thursday, November 7, and Friday, November 8, 11am-9pm; Saturday, November 9, 10am-6pm; Sunday, November 10, 10am-5pm. Cost: Tickets in advance, online at; and at the door $15 per person. See:; for info call 215.684.7930

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show is one of the largest and most highly regarded professional craft shows in the world. During the four day event, nearly 18,000 people attend. The annual show presents 195 of the finest American artists are selected from over 1200 applicants, and 23-26 artists are selected from one single country each year. Shining the spotlight on Lithuania during its current presidency of the European Union, 23 international award winning Lithuania artists will offer jewelry, ceramics, textile, glass, leather, furniture and paper. This is the first time a show of Lithuanian crafts and design of this scope has been presented in the United States.


CERAMICSDaiva Ložytė (, Nomeda Marčėnaitė (, Dainius Strazdas (, Rūta Šipalytė (

Ruta Sipalytė, ceramics, Lithuanian Festival 2013

TEXTILES – “Baltos Kandys“ or “White Moths” Artistic Group (, Danguolė Brogienė, Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė (, Indra Dovydėnaitė (

Severija Incirauskaite-­‐Kriauneviciene, textile, Lithuanian Festival 2013

JEWELRYUgnė Blažytė and Danas Tamašauskas (, Laura Dailidėnienė (, Tadas Deksnys, Ingrida Didika (, Darijus Gerlikas ( &, Sandra Malaškevičiūtė (, Šarūnė Vaitkutė and Dainius Narkus (

Darijus Gerlikas, jewelry, Lithuanian Festival 2013

GLASSViktoras Dailidėnas (, Remigijus Kriukas (, Lina Austė (

Remigijus Kriukas, glass, Lithuanian Festival 2013

LEATHERVirginija Giniotytė (, Dalia Marija Šaulauskaitė (, Aušra Petroškienė

PAPERKlaidas Navickas (

FURNITUREIndra Marcinkevičienė (

Psilicone Theatre performs “Greenhouse Stories”

Location: Friends Select School, 17th & Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Time: Friday, November 8, 10:15am-11:15am. Cost: Free, special performance for Friends Select students; limited additional seating available, reservations required for all guest or call 215.561.5900. See:,

Psilicone Theatre’s actors are miniature puppets, made from silicone, animated by pressing them between clear plates in breakneck speed under a projector which magnifies the image onto a screen. They are mixed with drawings, texts, and liquid pigments to create rich visual effects. In “Greenhouse Stories” the artist Auksė Petrulienė worked with the Kaunas Botanical Gardens to create characters from molds of actual plants, telling a live, huge and colorful ecological tale of extinction and conservation, mystery and wonder. Friends Select School is a PK through 12, college preparatory Quaker school in Center City Philadelphia that fosters a diverse, globally-aware school culture and curriculum. Students learn in a safe, courteous community, so there’s space to explore new ideas fearlessly. Hands-on learning and adventures beyond the classroom—in art and science rooms, in the city of Philadelphia, and beyond—make learning an active, engaging experience. The mission is to cultivate curiosity and to prepare every student successfully for an engaging and fulfilling life.

“Lithuanian Crafts as an Expanded Field: Challenging Stereotypes” Lecture by Virginija Vitkiene

Location: The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. Time: Friday, November 8, 6:30pm-7:15pm. Cost: Open only to members/supporters of the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; to contribute $50 and become a member/supporter, and reserve a ticket please contact: or call 215.684.7858

Virginia Vitkiene is an art critic and editor, curator, director of the Arts Centre at Vytautas Magnus University, and artistic director of the Kaunas Biennial international textile exhibition. Her lecture will offer an overview of current trends in Lithuanian craft and design, and provide a context for understanding the country’s unique artistic sensibility. The Young Friends is a dynamic group of art enthusiasts, committed to supporting the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Members enjoy a diverse schedule of programs including, engaging social events, educational lectures and tours, art-inspired excursions, and enrichment activities.

Don Russell aka “Joe Sixpack” leads a Handcrafted and Lithuanian Beer Tasting

Location: The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 1101 Arch Street. Time: Friday, November 8, 7pm. Cost: $45 per person, includes admission to the Craft Show, advance reservations required, can be made online at, or call 215.684.7930 See:,

Don Russell is an award-winning Philadelphia writer, and as “Joe Sixpack” is America’s bestknown beer journalist. He has traveled and discovered beers all around the world, including Lithuania. As founder and executive director of Philly Beer Week, he produces the largest beer celebration of its kind with over 1,000 events. The New York Times named Lithuania one of the top places to visit in 2013, all because of its beer.

Kestutis Vaiginis Quintet Lithuanian Jazz Concert

Location: The Philadelphia Museum of Art Grand Staircase, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Time: Friday, November 8, 5:45pm -6:45pm and 7:15pm-8:15pm. Cost: Free with museum admission (museum admission: $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (65+), $14 for students (with valid ID) and youth (ages 13-18), free for children ages 12 and under and members; you can purchase a ticket at the museum, or online or call 215.763.8100. See:,

Kestutis Vaiginis Quintet Musicians:

Kęstutis Vaiginis – saxophone

David Berkman – piano

Alex Sipiagin –trumpet

Ed Howard – bassist

McClenty D. Hunter Jr. – drums

Kęstutis Vaiginis is arguably one of the most talented jazz musicians of his generation, playing soprano and tenor saxophones as well as the flute. Recognized for his clear and controlled sound, lyricism and passion, he rapidly established his role in the contemporary international jazz scene, and performing with stars like Barbara Dennerlein, Daniel Messina, Hernan Romero, David Berkman, Randal Corsen, Bilal Karaman, Burak Bedikyan, Herbie Kopf, Joonas Haavisto, giving concerts all around the world, winning awards and applause. Kestutis Vaiginis is performing in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s popular Art After 5 program, a unique evening of entertainment, light supper by Starr Events, and cocktails, turning the Grand Stair Hall into an intimate and extraordinary cabaret.

Meet the Artists

Location: The Lithuanian Consulate, 410-412 S. 16th Street, Philadelphia. Time: Saturday, November 9, 7:30pm-10pm. Cost: $20 per person, advance reservations required and attendance is limited (no tickets sold at the door), please contact or call 610.496.8146. See:

The Lithuanian American Community of Philadelphia is pleased to welcome the acclaimed artists from Lithuania who are exhibiting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. These 23 artists serve as cultural ambassadors for their country, and are feted this evening for theirextraordinary dedication and achievements. The Lithuanian Consulate in Pennsylvania was established in 2010, by designation of the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Lithuanian Jewish Heritage Symposium

Location: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East. Time: Sunday, November 10, Noon-5pm. Cost: Free and open to the public, reservations required and can be made by contacting or calling 202.234.5860 ext.118

This conference offers insights into Lithuanian Jewish culture, seeks to throw light on losses during World War II, and attempts to assess conditions for preserving and reviving Jewish heritage in today’s Lithuania and among Lithuanian Jews worldwide. This event is organized by the Lithuanian Embassy, the Israeli Consulate, the American Jewish Committee and the National Museum of American Jewish History. Speakers include: Lithuanian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Nerijus Germanas; Prof. Šarūnas Liekis of Vytautas Magnus University; Prof. Antony Polonsky of Brandeis University; Deputy Director of the Institute of Lithuanian History Darius Staliūnas; Prof. Eliyahu Stern of Yale University; Prof. Emeritus Saulius Sužiedelis of Millersville University; Associate Prof. Adam Teller of Brown University; and Antanas Zabulis, founder of The Northern Jerusalem Project.

Lithuanian Festival 2013 events are organized in celebration of Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of 2013. Lithuanian Festival 2013 events have been organized by the Lithuanian Embassy in the United States, the Lithuanian Honorary Consul to Pennsylvania and the International Cultural Programme Center.

Lithuanian Festival 2013 events are made possible through the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Enterprise Lithuania, the Maersk Line, Limited, the Bajorunas/Sarnoff Foundation, and Ikea. Special thanks to all of the partnering venues who are participating in Lithuanian Festival 2013 and without whose interest and collaborative spirit these events would not be possible: The American Jewish Committee, The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Birzu Alus, The Brothers Vilgalys Baltic-Style Spirits, The Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia, The Consulate General of Israel, COOK, Drexel University Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Exelon, Friends Select, Global Philadelphia, Independence Visitor Center, International House Philadelphia, Knight International LLC, The Lithuanian American Community, Philadelphia Chapter, Loreta’s Living Foods, The National Museum of American Jewish History, Parkway Realty Services, The Philadelphia Museum of Art Art After 5 Program, The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, The Print Center and Sbraga.


In 1429, Lithuania, then a Grand Duchy and the largest country in Europe, organized its first summit of European leaders. Lithuania’s current presidency of the Council of the European Union comes after centuries of strife and occupation. In 1990, Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union, and in 1993, a partnership was established with the Pennsylvania National Guard as part of a federally mandated State Partnership Program.

Lithuania was invited to join the EU and NATO in 2002. For more info, please see

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania boasts one of the largest Lithuanian diaspora groups in the world, second only to Illinois. Most Lithuanians came to the U.S. during various wars and occupations, as Honorary Consul Bard’s own parents did in 1949. Bard’s first trip to Lithuania was in 1988, when she led a group of US culinary journalists and chefs through the Soviet Union; restaurateur activist Judy Wicks documented the event and restaurant exchange with Lithuania’s Stikliai Hotel in a chapter of her book, “White Dog CafŽ Cookbook: Multicultural Recipes and Tales of Adventure from Philadelphia’s Revolutionary Restaurant.” Bard was named Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2010.

For further information contact: Evaldas Stankevičius. Cultural Attache, Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, DC. T: 202-234-5860 ext. 113

Krista Butvydas Bard, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,,, 215.735.7110

More information at Lithuanian Festival 2013

Read DoNArTNeWs review of LTextile

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.


Laima Oržekauskienė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Laima Oržekauskienė, Daily Life Series, 2010, “Ritual Washing Feet“, digital print, synthetic fiber, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

LTextile is a collection of contemporary textiles created by local and international artists associated with the Vilnius Academy of Art in Lithuania. Lithuania borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south and the Baltic Sea is to the west.

The Vilnius Academy of Art (LithuanianVilniaus dailės akademija, previously State Art Institute of Lithuania) in VilniusLithuania, grants a variety of degrees in the arts. The academy was created as a separate entity in 1940; it had previously been part of Vilnius University. It was closed during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, and re-opened in 1944. In 1951 it was organized into the following departments: painting (including frescos, mosaics, and theatrical design), graphics, sculpture, architecture, and ceramics and textiles. – Wikipedia

Lina Jonike, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Lina Jonike, Flower Seller, 2008, digital print, embroidery, linen, silk, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

The LTextile art show mixes traditional fiber arts with high tech printing and weaving. Throughout the exhibition there is a wonderful exuberance, a liveness unrestrained yet with an underlying code like a secret message. Tapestry, weaving and crochet all rely on mathematical formulas to create a fabric and within the mathematics can be hidden a message like a secret code. DoN talked with Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Krista Bard about the mystery.

“So, when the Soviets took over after World War II, everything, all the schools, the businesses, was run by the State. Under very strict rules. You know? We talk about censure now but it’s almost incomprehensible to us in the U.S. culture because we have so much freedom, we’re not a perfect system yet, but, compared to the rest of the world our Democracy is fairly evolved. And we are moving in the right direction.

It’s only when you get into, when you see, an oppression, or you’ve lived through an oppressive situation, when you experience it, then you recognize it. When I went to Lithuania the first time in 1988 there was only one business that was privately owned, it was the first business that was privately owned. Everything else was run and dictated by the State.

In a sense, art survives. No matter what. And luckily the Soviets did not totally suppress art and culture but they put very strict rules in the subject matter. You were only allowed certain subject matter. But because of the symbolic nature of art itself, they found, Lithuanians and the other occupied countries, a way to express themselves none the less. And I think it actually strengthened their ability. Art, you can’t stop art. Anywhere. It’s not possible to do that. “

Severija Inčirauskaitė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Severija Inčirauskaitė, Installation: Autumn Collection “Ladle, cover, grater, milk-can, watering can”, Found metal objects, cotton, cross-stitch, drilling”, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

“So, they kept creating. And they just developed another set of skills. There is one work of art in the middle gallery where at one point the Soviets did try to stop the language and stop religion. So religion was forbidden. What they did anyway was they used the Russian alphabet but they still wrote in the Lithuanian language.

They wouldn’t let themselves not find ways around it. There was a whole underground movement. Imagine? It was like Fahrenheit 451. Imagine if you were not allowed to speak English anymore. And all your books had to be hidden.

They wanted to suppress the language. Lithuanian and Latvian are the only remaining Baltic languages where we don’t understand each other. We’re talking about censoring the whole language. It was like, ‘OK. Now everything is going to be written in Russian. Or Chinese. That’s our official language.’ And suddenly you’re not allowed to speak your language anymore. There is no way you can suppress a language.”

Žydrė Ridulytė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Žydrė Ridulytė, Copper Cloth, 2009, weaving, semi-wool, wool, cotton, wire, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

“The denial. You know? There’s a term that says, ‘What you resist persists.’ You can’t suppress people. It doesn’t work. It actually tended to make people more patriotic and make them stronger in their desire to preserve their culture. And more clever about it.

The other thing the Soviets did is they relocated people. It is true that most people do not realize that the Soviets are considered to be as brutal as the Nazis were. They transported, Lithuania is three million people, they deported 300,000 people out of Lithuania. They were re-populating, sending people to work camps. And even if you didn’t go to a work camp all during the Soviet era they were physically moving people. We had no choice.

You and I could move to another city and go get a job somewhere else. But they would tell you where to go and they consciously wanted people to move to other places so they could systematically destroy the culture. And now in Lithuania there is a large population of Belarussians, of Poles, of Russians.

I was there when they sand-bagged the Parliament. It’s interesting the Lithuanian President was a musical historian. He’s a musician. He’s not a politician. It”s just people doing the right thing.”

Laura Pavilonytė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

DoN asked Krista Bard how the Lithuanians overcame Soviet oppression? Was there other pressures going on?

“You can analyze it, historians do a far better job than I. My sense is it was a moment in history where forces came together. There’s only so far and so long that you can subjugate people. Now, of course, hindsight shows me that, but, at that time I never thought it would be possible. Things are constantly changing, there are opportunities. It’s very inspiring. It reminds me as I go through my days – what are the tunes that I’m not singing? What possibilities are there that I’m not seeing? What do I take for granted as it’s just the way it is? Well, that’s not true of anything. Everything can change. Soon Lithuania assumes the Presidency of the European Union. It’s an extraordinary moment. It really is.

Here in America we have such a vast country where we all speak the same language. And it’s all the same rules. We’re not forced like other countries to learn other languages or know our geography in quite the same way. In Lithuania a comparable thing would be like driving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and if you cross over into Ohio you’re in a totally different country that speaks another language. We would have to learn. But that’s what it’s like there.”

Laura Pavilonytė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Fiber arts are a major element of the Philadelphia art scene from Philadelphia University’s heritage of textile and science to the yarn bomber tags to fashion design and fine art. Fiber arts is taught in most of Philadelphia’s art schools. Philadelphians love finding one of Kathryn Pannepacker’s fence weavings creating a pop of art in unlikely locales. DoN wondered what the social life of young artists is like now in Lithuania? Is it like the university town vibe of Philly? Krista Bard said,

“Yes. It’s similar and there’s a strong emphasis on the whole center. The old town of Vilnius is an international historic site. Much like a good part of Philadelphia is historic and is on the national register. It’s unusual. There are a lot of comparisons: the emphasis on history, the emphasis on design. I think we think that we’re the only people in the world where X, Y & X are happening and yet the whole world is coming along together.

The internet has made communication and idea sharing very available. I will say this, though. I look at what’s happened in Lithuania, since I’ve been going there since 1988, seeing how quickly they adapted and adopted to a free market system. And to democracy. And even if you look at the art, all of the new ideas that are there, it’s like they were hungry for innovation. And they embraced it. There is an energy around. Even in the Soviet system there was still a high respect for art and culture.

Even Evaldas Stankevicius, Cultural Attaché to Lithuania, he’s in Washington and helped with this exhibition, had to serve in the Soviet armed forced. But because he had gone to art school he was given art duties. During his service he drew thirty-seven picture of Lenin.”

Aleksas Gailieša, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

DoN commented on the feminist aspect of the embroidered papers strewn across an embroidered table cloth. Pages of text embroidered with traditional images like flowers are lined up along the wall. Some of the text is even embroidered.

“What this is is from her dissertation. It was the bureaucracy, it was her way – she was over-burdoned by the bureaucracy – and how could she possibly make something beautiful into this? Is there any way that any of this could make any sense? She did. This is not hand done embroidery, it’s embroidered on a machine. She said, ‘These documents mean nothing to me. There has be something, some beauty, on them.’ She calls it Red Tape. Because this is the red tape she had to go through in her life. So her life is all woven up. Along with the coat and the bag. Your identity is wrapped up and she just wouldn’t tolerate having it be left alone. This was her statement to turn it into something pretty.” – Krista Bard

Aleksas Gailieša, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Vladas Daškevičius, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Vladas DaškevičiusLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Philadelphia Art Alliance curator, Sarah Archer joined the conversation with some salient points.

“You know, Philadelphia Art Alliance is small and any time we get a chance to do something international we feel it’s a wonderful thing to bring to Center City and make it accessible to so many people. And also share that this is the tip of the ice-burg, it alerts people to media, design and contemporary craft and art that is not heavily on the radar.

Even walking through the show with the curators, the co-curators from Lithuania are in their forties and early fifties, I think, and they really ran to their embroidery because it’s something from their cultural archive. It’s something that their grandmothers did and that kind of happens all the time with artists. Ranging from Chile with Sheila Hicks who had a show at the ICA, to people like Sabrina Gschwandtner’s film quilts downstairs. Those are the kind of things that use feminist craft history and documents to creat non-comfortable, non-cozy artworks.”

Jurga Šarapova, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Jurga Šarapova, Yellow Green Red, 2012, set of three bigger mugs, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Sarah Archer continued, “There are lots of artists using these forms as almost an anonymous heritage that as women in the 21st Century, none of us were brought up to sew or we just do it for fun like knitting, time to unwind because we all work. So, it’s not the equivalent of being taught to sew as a child in 1910. Where your destiny is to be a Mom and darn socks. That’s totally different.

I still have all my grandmothers sewing and knitting things. My Mom was sort of a hipster in the 70s with embroidered jeans and I sort of love that line of activity, that sort of is keeping it alive in a way. But with a contemporary twist. Because it has, in our day and age, a totally different context. It means something else to embroider today. Duchamp wasn’t embroidering in 1911, there was not an art world equivalent to fiber art in that context.

This is a wonderful way to show people that it’s international. And every part of the world has textiles. We can’t live without them. We are sheathed in fiber. There’s a woman named Sonya Clark who said at a lecture, ‘If you think about it there are fibers touching you right now in places where it would be inappropriate to touch yourself in public.”

Discover the secret codes hidden in LTextile for yourself at the Philadelphia Art Alliance through August 18th, 2013.

LTextile is organized by Egle Ganda Bagdoniene, Vice-Rector at the Academy of Arts in Vilnius and Philadelphia Art Alliance Curator Sarah Archer.

Like  Philadelphia Art Alliance on facebook

Like Vilnius Academy of Art on facebook

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs