by Christy Rodriguez de Conte
Fiber artist Tenne Hart sculpts a future for fibers and the women who weave them as she curates WEFT// Women Empowering Fiber Traditions exhibit running through April 2 at the Tallahassee City Hall gallery.
History has proven that the fight for women’s spaces in the art world, along with many other professions, was a response to the system whose standards of beauty and art did not include that of the female artist. Women were merely to be the object of the male gaze, but not the power behind the brush.
Still, space was made in homes and salons for artists to share their craft from generation to generation like a secret handshake. So began the evolution of women’s work into women’s art. It was not until 1921 that a woman was given her first show at New York’s prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it was as late as 1972 when A.I.R. Gallery, the first all-women gallery in the U.S., premiered its first show.
Flash forward to 2023 — the fight for space continues, and fiber artist Hart leads the way.
For Hart, fiber work has always been female-centered. She recalls magical moments with her grandmother and mother around a table, cutting patterns and stitching dresses; a young Tenee’ always at her feet, grabbing for the excess fabric and knowledge.
Hart carried this essence into her work and has delivered a curated all-women show to the steps of City Hall in her latest show, WEFT// Women Empowering Fiber Traditions, which highlights the work of 20 female fiber artists.
“These traditions are looked at as women’s work. So I wanted to flip the coin on that and be like, ‘alright, it is women’s work, but look what we are doing with it. Look how we’re empowering it, transforming it, pushing it.’ I wanted this show to push the boundaries of what City Hall has ever seen,” Hart said.
“It’s crochet and in your face. Overpowering… I want this to slap people in the face; you can’t not unsee it … I’m all about women needing to take up more space,” Hart said.
Read the rest of the article in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Learn more about the exhibition.