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The stories in the apron strings

New A.L. Art Center exhibit features work of fiber artist

An Easton area fiber artist with a love of textiles and stitchery is showcasing her artwork for the next month at the Albert Lea Art Center.

Yvonne Cory’s exhibit opens Tuesday, and an open house is planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 17.

Cory said her interest in creating fiber art through aprons started about 10 years ago when she was working for the Faribault County Fair in advertising and grant writing. She had a program called “Artist of the Day” during the week of the fair, highlighting different artists each day. About a week before the fair, one of the artists canceled, and she tried to contact a few other artists to fill the spot without any luck.

She thought of a tub with aprons from her grandmother, Mary, and mother, Clara, and with less than 75 aprons she put together a spontaneous program, which she said people loved.

She then went on to participate in a challenge through the fabric store in Blue Earth in which each participant is given a mystery bag of fabric. She created an apron from the fabric in her bag, and her interest in aprons blossomed from there.

She said she obtained a sizable grant to purchase equipment, and she went to the Textile Center in Minneapolis, one of the largest textile libraries in the nation, and put in hours of research about textiles. 

In addition to creating aprons and showcasing her work in gallery shows, Cory offers programs with her heirloom apron collection dating as far back as the 1800s to share what she calls “Joys and Tears in the Apron Strings.” She has traveled throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin to share her collection.

She has also been featured in various publications and received several awards for her work.

Every apron, she says, has a story.

In her Art Center show, she displays both aprons she has created, as well as 42 pieces of her vintage collection.

Information posted with each  apron explains about the theme or history behind the apron, providing the viewer a background about its creation.

Cory said she creates her own patterns and recently has started making memory aprons with shirts of loved ones who have died.

The show will be open at the Art Center from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through the end of May.

In addition to Cory’s show, the Art Center is gearing up for its She Shed Tour in June and the annual Art and Garden Tour in July. The events will be in conjunction with the Funky Chair Affair, a fundraiser for the organization.