May 28th 2023

Craft Circle with Olive Stefanski

@ Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago

2233 S Throop St., Unit 419, Chicago, IL 60608

Opening Sunday, May 28th, from 2PM - 4PM

On view through Saturday, June 10th

Bring your fiber art projects for an informal and fun time to make with others. Knitting, crochet, weaving, hand sewing, spinning, embroidery, quilting, all are welcome! Olive will give us a tour of the exhibition, answer questions, and then join in on the crafting. For comfort, bring your own cushion to sit on.

Becoming One Who Holds Many features ten abstract sculptures handwoven with plant reed dyed a deep midnight blue using natural indigo. This body of work takes inspiration from Stefanski’s study of the Jewish mystical text, Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation). Sefer Yetzirah features a mixture of poetry, meditation and magical instructions, and offers wisdom regarding mysticism, cosmology, and the complexities of Jewish understandings of divinity.

The sculptures address the concept of the sefirot, a central motif explored within Sefer Yetzirah’s cosmology. The sefirot are fundamentally paradoxical. They contain multiple meanings; they are mysterious and ineffable. Described in the text as elemental forces of the natural world, such as the six directions of space, time, water, fire and air, the sefirot are integral to the process of creation itself. They are constantly shapeshifting. The sefirot provide the hollow, voided dimensions where possibility and energy flow. Physical yet immaterial, profane and sacred, they number in ten and yet they are infinite.

Stefanski’s vessels mirror flora—they are forged and drawn out of water. Each sculpture is informed by the artist’s drawing practice, textual research, and ongoing exploration of positive and negative space within abstract form. The vessels are objects created through processes of return. They require iterative return(s) to the indigo vat to achieve their depths of blue, and the ongoing interlacement through which each woven structure arrives at its form is itself a form of return. Like Torah, these sculptures too connect with a force that is continually renewed through reinterpretation, a process of creation that will be without end.

The ten sculptures on view are living symbols and parts of a whole within transforming lineages of communal meaning-making in Jewish traditions. They offer a vision of Jewish presence and futurity, of multiplicity within unity, and an invitation to glimpse the web of divine life-giving force present in all of creation. The materials hold multiplicities. They are alive, ancient, and contemporary. They reach for touch and nurture in order to become.

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