A First Exhibition--'Moss Mirrors' Reflect A Unusual And Creative Perspective
A First Exhibitionââ
âMoss Mirrorsâ Reflect A Unusual And Creative Perspective
By Shannon Hicks
As if there was not enough to worry about with the holiday season, artist Margaret Moss had a huge item on her list of things to take care of before the end of the year.
Ms Moss was organizing her artwork for her first exhibition, which opened on December 30 at The Burnham Library in Bridgewater. The show will remain on view until January 31.
The Newtown resident is a self-taught artist who works in a medium she has developed on her own. Ms Moss combines fabric, paint, and mirrors for her work. She calls the creations ââ and the show at the library ââ âMoss Mirrors.â The fabric pieces create elaborate scenes, or portraits, or combinations of the two that encircle mirrors of various shapes. The colorful and unique works have turned the home Ms Moss shares with her husband, the chiropractor Curt Riebeling, into something of a gallery.
The works within the Moss-Riebeling home offer a retrospective of Ms Mossâs artistic development. There is a landscape of Ireland with figures, a number of pieces with masks, pieces with faces that have an Asian influence, jazz musicians, carousel figures, and even one with a nearly life-size mermaid. Most pieces are unnamed, and the majority feature mirrors within the fabric designs.
âThis is an entirely different technique that I made up,â said Ms Moss, who manages the home office of her husband. The couple works and lives on the corner of Sugar Street at Juniper Road. âIt doesnât quite fit into any category, except mixed media.â
Ms Moss began her fabric and mirror works about five years ago.
âI love working with fabric but I donât sew very well, so this is a wonderful way for me to spend hours in fabric stores poking through yards and yards of material, which I absolutely love to do,â she said. âWhen I look at fabric I see textures and colors and patterns that would make great faces, or wonderful hair, or wonderful roofs for houses, or even jazz instruments.â
Each piece begins with a drawing on tracing paper, which is then transferred onto half-inch or even quarter-inch plywood. Her husband cuts the wood into its unique shapes for her, and then Ms Moss begins attaching the fabric with the paint. The thick paint ââ which is usually acrylic paint but has also been at times Spackle or even ceiling paint (âwhatever strikes me at the time,â she says) ââ not only adds accent and depth to each work, it also serves as a glue.
As soon as she begins adding the paint to the fabric, Ms Moss says she sees in her mind what the finished pieces are going to look like.
âI see the fabric for what it will be good for, and I see the works as theyâll look when theyâre finished,â she said. âItâs odd but if I try to change things along the way it really doesnât work well.â
The mirrors are cut by someone in Bethel, and Ms Moss purchases much of her fabric at Chintz-n-Prints in Newtown.
âMost places donât want to sell less than a yard of fabric but Chintz-n-Prints has not only allowed me to occasionally buy smaller pieces, theyâre also very helpful with suggestions,â she said.
Some of her works have also incorporated pieces of stained glass, twine, and wood veneer.
âI love to create and experiment with materials,â she explained. âI wonât use all of these materials all of the time, but at least I try working with them.â
Ms Moss recently completed a large series of mirror-fabric works that depict old puppeteers.
âI saw them as a rather lonely lot of traveling entertainers and I felt they just wanted their stories told,â she explained. âIt was wonderful to just sit down and draw them as they must have looked, carting their little theaters from town to town, hoping for an audience.â
In addition to her mirror-fabric works Ms Moss has begun to dabble in hand painting tiles. With a new grandchild in the family (the couple has two daughters who live in New York City, and a brand-new granddaughter), Ms Moss has also started writing and illustrating childrenâs stories.
The mirrors, murals, and creativity continues to inspire Ms Moss, who jokes that she is outgrowing the small studio space she has carved out of a room in her home.
âMoss Worksâ has nearly two dozens works on view. They range from the first to the most recent pieces Ms Moss has created, with the more recent pieces offering more detail as she continues to learn how to manipulate fabrics and paint.
âWhen I see something really different in my mindâs eye and can then translate it into a tangible piece of work,â Ms Moss recently wrote for her artistâs statement, âto me this is the most satisfying thing in the world to do.â
The Burnham Library is on Route 133 in the center of Bridgewater. Hours are Tuesday from 1 to 5 pm, Wednesday from 9 am to 6 pm, Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. The library can be contacted by calling 860-354-6937.