San Marco Gallery of Dominican to Exhibit Fiber Artist Phyllis Kluger's 'Puns & Needles'

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Unique fiber art exhibit by Phyllis Kluger to run for the summer at Dominican University in San Rafael, California.

The San Marco Gallery of Dominican University in San Rafael will open an exhibit on June 20 and running to September 2 of the antic fabric creations of Phyllis Kluger, whose collection of twenty large, quilted pieces is titled “Puns and Needles.” Fiber artist Kluger’s subject matter – and its unorthodox treatment – ranges from acrobatic elephants, lovestruck marine life, and rampant purple cauliflower to antiwar images (in her work “Aggression Urn”), a feminist outcry (“A Good Man Is Hard to Find”), a mosaic of British history from King Arthur to the Beatles, and a proposed new state flag for California.

Exploring how to use fabric to make a new kind of artistic statement, Kluger has been at work for years – mostly for the private enjoyment of her family and friends – on a departure from the venerable craft of quilting: fiber compositions that make large, colorful comments using satire and wordplay on social and historical themes. Her witty work has been shown publicly for the past several years and won prizes at juried exhibitions around the U.S.

A resident of Berkeley for the past fifteen years, Kluger has nurtured a passion for fiber art since she grew up in New Jersey and learned to knit when she was six. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in art history and combined her academic training with her fondness for fiber art to produce her first book, A Needlepoint Gallery of Patterns from the Past (published by Alfred A. Knopf). The book won high praise from The New York Times, Time magazine, and renowned artist/illustrator Maurice Sendak, author of the classic Where the Wild Things Are. Her second book, Victorian Designs for Needlepoint (Holt, Rinehart), was also greeted with plaudits.

With her historian husband, Richard, Kluger later co-authored two novels, Good Goods (about a savvy interior designer whose life needed serious rearranging) and Royal Poinciana, a wry romantic tale set in Palm Beach and New York City during the Gilded Age.

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Rebecca Krawiec
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