Sunday, July 02, 2000

'Professional' weaver's exhibit first since '60s

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        “Weaving was my profession, and it still is,” says Maud Rydin March. “It's not a hobby. It's a profession. But it's not a business. If you're going to do something for a living, you should do something else.”

        Mrs. March is showing her weaving at the Cincinnati Art Museum as part of Convergence 2000, the international conference of the Handweavers Guildof America. It is her first exhibition since the 1960s.

([name of photographer] photo)
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        “I am always weaving. I just don't exhibit and I don't sell,” she says.

        Sleeping Beauty: Tapestries of Maud Rydin March includes 14 tapestries that are being shown for the first time outside the artist's Hyde Park home.

        Born in Sweden, Mrs. March is the daughter of a weaver. She was invited to exhibit her work at the American Craft Museum in New York in 1960. The Smithsonian Institution organized a touring exhibition of her work from 1960 to 1963.

        In 1962 she came to Cincinnati as artist-in-residence at Edgecliff College. She met her husband and stayed to raise a family, including her daughter, Christina Perrin, a New York fashion designer who had a fashion show at the Art Museum recently in conjunction with her mother's exhibition.

Sleeping Beauty: Tapestries of Maud Rydin March, Cincinnati Art Museum through Aug. 6. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free (with suggested donation) during the Big Pig Gig, through Oct. 31. The main entrance to the museum is closed for renovation. Use the DeWitt entrance. Information: 721-2787.
        Raising a family has been a full-time job, but she still does one tapestry each year.

        “You don't want to try to make a living from it. Once you finish one, you don't just start another one. I never start a tapestry until I've thought about it for six or eight weeks and worked it all out in my head.”

        Although they are carefully planned in advance, her tapestries never look labored. They have a feeling of spontaneous inspiration, swiftly executed while the idea is fresh.

        Inspiration comes from travels and family experiences. The results can be either abstract or figurative. “I've always worked both ways,” she says.

        The earliest work on exhibit, a triptych from 1964-66, depicts a Swedish midsummer folk dance. A window of a Paris antiques shop from 1982 suggests the paintings of Matisse. A delightful family portrait from 1985 has the family posing for a picture while the artist has her back turned, working on the loom.

        The tapestries that depict the feeling of the seashore are the most evocative. The colorful curving shapes suggest the lines of waves on a beach and the ripples in the water. In one tapestry, the waves form a pelican and fish, another shows a trio of mermaids and another is interrupted by a line of footprints in the sand.




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