Tapestries adorn Englewood museum

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“We believe that we, all of us, need to seek a new approach to the environment,” says artist internationally recognized Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra, whose works are on display at Englewood's Museum of Outdoor Arts.

Colorful tapestries hanging in the second floor atrium at Englewood's Civic Center serve as an introduction to the exceptional collection displayed inside the Museum of Outdoor Arts' indoor gallery.

Step inside gallery doors and one is surrounded with fragrance, texture and intense color.

Jongstra has worked with architects and curators throughout Europe and the U.S., spreading her message of sustainability, of connecting with nature — and beautifying large public spaces, as well as homes, restaurants and other environments.

The new Barnes Collection in Philadelphia, the Fries Museum in the Netherlands, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Queen Mary University in London and the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York are but a few of the institutions where her large felt panels are installed.

Jongstra has a farm in the northern Netherlands where she keeps 150 sheep — 17th-century Drenthe Heath heritage animals with long shaggy coats — which supply the wool. A large garden grows traditional dye plants providing colors such as indigo, madder, St. John's Wort, rhubarb, larkspur and weld. She keeps bees to pollinate her flowers and dyes wool in hues reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch Masters paintings.

Nothing is wasted as she and members of her atlier (studio) create tapestries, wall coverings and other products to soften the environments where people work and live. Atlier associates Marleen Engebersen and Maeve van Klaveren, who work in Amsterdam, are with Jongstra to install the exhibit.

Additional supplies are included in her work, such as silk, linen, merino wool, alpaca — all of them add textures to the work on display at MOA through July 13.

In the gallery are a variety of panels and tapestries, skeins and bundles of yarn, samples of dried dye plants. A labyrinth of dried yellow chamomile flowers rests just to the right of the entrance beneath loops of dyed yarn samples. A countertop display illustrates the felting process, where wools are layered, then soaked and compressed.

Ahead to the left are a series of sheer silk organza panels with wool felted onto them in a random design, like little clouds floating. Similar sheer panels at the end of the gallery in front of the windows are further enhanced with colored embroidery.

A second labyrinth form on the floor is overlaid with carded silk, which has a silvery sheen. Wall panels to the left are covered in a felted linen and were made in Colorado with fabric shipped from the Netherlands. A large tapestry with a series of red circles leads a visitor into the smaller gallery space, which holds more and varied tapestries.

If you go

The Claudy Jongstra exhibit will be at the Museum of Outdoor Arts' indoor gallery on the second level of the Englewood Civic Center through July 13. It is located at 1000 Englewood Parkway. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free. 303-806-0444.

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