‘Artistic Weaving Through Paints and Fibers’ exhibit opens at Tryon Fine Arts Center 

Published 12:14 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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TRYON – On March 9, an exhibit entitled ‘Artistic Weaving Through Paints and Fibers’ opened at the Tryon Fine Arts Center, featuring the acrylic dot art and colorful tapestries of Barbara Francois and Lynn Sterling Montagne. 

The exhibit kicked off with an opening celebration from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening. The celebration featured both artists and their work, along with tapestries created by designer Megan Lillie and Michael Montagne, Lynn’s son.

Dianne Kepley, a long-time volunteer with TFAC, curated the exhibit. Kepley discovered Francois’ work in Black Mountain and was immediately struck by its intricacy and design.    

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She then paired Francois’ work with that of Montagne Handwoven, a custom handwoven rug business based out of Atlanta. 

Francois’ canvases are filled with an assortment of brilliantly colored dots, carefully placed and accentuated against dark backgrounds. Her work is influenced and styled after the Aboriginal dot art of Australia, which was used as an alternative way to tell cultural stories and pass along survival instruction. 

“I didn’t begin painting until I was sixty,” Francois says. “When I discovered Aboriginal dot art, it spoke to me immediately, and I realized this is a style of art I’d like to do.”

Lynn Sterling Montagne, a self-taught weaver, picked up the skill of hand weaving rugs and turned it into a career, founding Montagne Handwoven in 1982. 

Recently retired, Lynn can now dedicate her time to personal weaving projects. She has turned the running of the business over to her son Michael, who is continuing his mother’s legacy. 

“I often start with a small drawing and then use a projector to create a larger image. I then use it as a template for my tapestries,” Lynn says. “Some of these are pandemic pieces, where I used 40 years’ worth of yarn and material that I had acquired to create them.”

Michael Montagne adds, “Our rugs are continually evolving as we are inspired anew by the world around us, with our color palette always being heavily influenced by nature.”

TFAC will be hosting an interactive art demonstration and discussion with Barbara Francois on April 8, with the first twenty to register getting the opportunity to paint with her. 

For more information, visit tryonarts.org.