Marin fiber artist Arlene Wohl is set to showcase her work at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts throughout September, with an opening reception set for Saturday, Sept. 11 (5-7:30pm), with a poetry reading from Clive Matson at 6:30pm.
“Given my genetic code, becoming a fiber artist was inevitable,” Wohl says. “My mother was an exquisite embroiderer, my aunt a talented clothing designer. My father worked in a sweatshop that manufactured luxury woolen coats and suits. As an immigrant who escaped Poland just when Hitler was coming into power, he worked hard, earned little, and I promised both him and myself that education was the only path forward to a better life.”
Wohl graduated from McGill University. Her first job was teaching at the Montreal School for the Blind. “It was not long before I discovered that weaving would be a natural for visually impaired children,” she says. “That was the beginning of my love for textiles.When I began to weave one of-a-kind-jackets, the irony that my father’s trade, which filled me with sorrow knowing how unfulfilled he was, was not lost on me.”
Wohl has long found the work rewarding, showing at juried shows around the country, winning awards and selling to an appreciative audience, including to the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Wohl’s transition to fiber art, which encompasses all techniques, has freed her “from having to create what will sell. It is just me and my imagination,” she says.