NEWPORT, R.I. - The McKillop Library's "Hidden Talents" series continues with "A Weaver's Path," a collection of weavings, paintings, books and photographs that record collection development librarian Joan Bartram's lifetime interest in and pursuit of the art of weaving. The collection is the fifth in a series introduced to highlight the varied talents of the University's faculty and staff. The exhibit is currently on display.
"A Weaver's Path" reflects and records Bartram's varied artistic endeavors - tapestry, painting, drawing and the production of artist's books - as well as years of observing, commenting on and recording visual works. After 19 years in the McKillop Library, Bartram will be retiring this summer to pursue her artistic interests.
Commenting on the roots of her artistic interests, Bartram remarks that she has been exposed to people working with their hands since birth. She is the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of lace manufacturers whose mill was in Pawtucket, and the granddaughter and daughter of paper box manufacturers and graphic designers. Her extended family, which included a weaver, was greatly influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and the RISD environment, and her father, Philip Green, was a RISD alum.
Bartram spent her formative years in Barrington, R.I., where she attended public schools, learned to sail and began producing textiles at an early age. She received her first loom from Santa Claus at age 8. At the University of Rhode Island, textiles were Bartram's artistic focus and she spent her junior year abroad at Skiringssal Folk High School in Sandefjord, Norway, as a member of the Scandinavian Seminar. The household textiles on display reflect her Scandinavian experience and its aesthetic.
From the 1970s onward, Bartram has been weaving, stitching and knitting. During the 1980s and 1990s she designed and published a line of knitting patterns that are once again attracting interest. During the mid-1990s she was able to seriously pursue a long-standing interest in tapestry weaving.
In addition to studying in Norway, Bartram studied weaving at Penland School in North Carolina, Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and at the Creative Arts Workshop at the Boston YWCA, where she also taught and worked with tapestry weavers Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffai. She studied book binding at the North Bennett Street School in Boston and has studied drawing and painting at the Newport Art Museum and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Bartram's work has been exhibited in galleries in Newport and throughout the New England region.