Weaving with fiber, flax, a little dried paint, and maybe junk mail.
By Jean Cunningham
Bryana Bibbs is a weaver and creates her pieces using a very wide variety of materials. In her youth and as a young adult, Bryana learned to tell her stories through writing in journals.
Today she tells her stories through weaving. She has a hand loom for smaller pieces that she uses throughout her home but mostly sitting at her couch while watching TV or at her kitchen table. The small frame loom pieces can be up to 8 inches wide by 13 inches long. For larger pieces, she goes to her studio at the Bridgeport Art Center where she has a floor loom. The final works coming off the floor loom might be 5 feet or even longer.
Bryana has a stash of fibers: from mass produced materials to materials both handspun and hand carded. And her definition of fiber is far beyond the traditional to include recycled silks, natural materials like flax and hemp, pipe cleaners, and yes, even junk mail! She sometimes also adds paint marks on top of the fibers.
Bryana typically works on one piece at a time, and you won’t find her ripping out any work to correct a mistake. She finds the pieces autobiographical when there are mistakes since they more reflect the reality of life and life’s distractions. Those “mistakes” are a visual representation of her mindset at the time, and since the work is not functional, she lets the piece have its moment as is. Her work in every way reflects her intuition and personal life through color, color schemes, and symbolism. Each piece is often one within a series, such as the 51-piece series, “The Quarantine Series”.
For the past couple of months at the studio and as part of her residency as a 2021/22 HATCH artist, Bryana has been working on a 42” wide by 58” high piece with handspun materials using a handmade frame loom made of nails and 2x4’s.
She also conducts domestic violence weaving workshops for her “The We Were Never Alone Project” which she hopes to expand to more locations.
Evanston Made helps bring exposure to Bryana’s work, and she appreciates the amount of care it shows to each artist. This care for the members inspires her to continue to keep going and keep making.
Bryana will continue to experiment but says she is always inspired to “…stay true to my authentic self.”
To see more of her work visit https://evanstonmade.org/projects/bryana-bibbs/
Or her website https://www.bryanabibbs.com
Jean Cunningham is retired after a career in business management and finance. She has written three books and authored many articles in her field, was a speaker at conferences, and taught at the university level. While traveling for business she began painting and drawing for relaxation and collecting art. She and her husband have lived in Evanston for 11 years and are avid walkers of the town and lakeside. She has a BS from Indiana University and an MBA from Northeastern University.