Silver Nest Bowl by Kaminer Haislip and Boo Hag Blue Indigo Baskets by Leigh Magar
Photograph by Jack Alterman
Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver
March 30, 2023 – May 3, 2023
Artworks by Kaminer Haislip and Leigh Magar
Aiken Center for the Arts
122 Laurens Street SW
Aiken, South Carolina
Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver brought together three contemporary artists—a silversmith, textile designer, and photographer—and a curator in 2018 at City Gallery located in Charleston, SC. Curator Brandy Culp worked with Jack Alterman, Kaminer Haislip, and Leigh Magar to weave a story based on their artwork and the Lowcountry’s deep culture both past and present. Haislip and Magar are now bringing a second version of this exhibition to Aiken Center for the Arts situated in historic, downtown Aiken, SC.
This exhibition explores the intersection between the past and present while recognizing that ultimately contemporary art and craft must be rooted in its own time. Inextricably linked, indigo and silver are transformative as raw materials, imbued with symbolism that transcends time and cultures, and imbedded within the early cultural fabric of the Carolina Lowcountry. Although inspired by Charleston’s cultural heritage, each artist brings unique contemporary perspective and original artwork to the exhibition. Interwoven will include silver hollowware, flatware and jewelry, textile art, and artist renderings.
Kaminer Haislip is the only practicing silversmith in Charleston that continues to employ traditional metalworking techniques and tools that have been used for centuries. As a contemporary silversmith, she is inspired by as well as carrying forth the city’s long-standing silversmithing tradition—the silver and metals manufacturing trade was vital to Charleston’s economy from the eighteenth through the early-twentieth centuries. With a nod to the past, she is most inspired by today’s domestic rituals and enhancing daily life through the creation of functional handcrafted objects that are entirely contemporary in form.
Additionally, Haislip received an artist grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission for a film project about her silversmithing. A television screen in the gallery will have the videos playing for the visitors to view. In the films, Haislip demonstrates traditional silversmithing techniques, such as how to make a silver bowl and silver serving spoon, and discusses her work in detail. This engaging educational element will enhance the viewer’s experience of the exhibition and illustrate silversmithing in an exciting way.
Milliner turned textile artist, Leigh Magar has established a small-batch label that combines art, fashion, history, and performance. The “Seed to Stitch” project was inspired by her sea island home’s Indigo history; both rich and tangled. The story of a young girl; Eliza Lucas Pinckney who had the vision of planting indigo and with the work of the enslaved, it was made into a cash crop in South Carolina during the mid 1700s. She interweaves design and nature with her local garden where indigo is grown and then used to create one-of-a-kind collections. Her work includes hand-dyed and hand-stitched garments and goods, textile art, and installations. Magar is inspired by traditional and simple sewing techniques, such as quilt making, rag quilting, and hand sewn-textiles, which she interlaces with contemporary, non-traditional elements.
In addition, Haislip, and Magar will create a collaborative installation for the exhibition inspired by the silhouette and miniature—art forms with long-standing Lowcountry traditions. Providing a modern look at historically significant mediums, these artists are transforming materials important to Charleston’s cultural fabric into contemporary art and inspiring appreciation of waning craft traditions among future generations. Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver will be a unique showing of silver and textile art as it relates the theme of indigo and silver.
Opening Reception – Thursday, March 30 from 6-8pm
Aiken Center for the Arts will host an opening reception for Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver on Thursday, March 30 from 6-8pm. It will be a great opportunity for the public to meet the artists in person and talk to them in the gallery with their artworks.
Stories from the Big Chair – Friday, March 31 from 6-8pm
Friday, March 31 engage with the exhibition during a free wine reception from 6-6:30pm in the main gallery and the power and craft of storytelling beginning at 6:30pm in the upstairs Brown Pavilion. Limited seating for storytelling, reserve your chair for $10 on Aiken Center for the Arts’ website. Join the guest speakers as they share perspectives, build points of connection, and unearth the wisdom and inspiration amongst us. Exploring the meaning of “Interwoven” from their perspectives will be Kaminer Haislip, silversmith, Madame Magar, indigo artist, and Dr. Walter Curry, local author and a mystery speaker.
Artist Lectures – Saturday, April 1 from 1-3pm
Lectures by artist Leigh Magar of the textile design studio Madame Magar and silversmith Kaminer Haislip will take place in the upstairs Brown Pavilion on Saturday, April 1, 2023 from 1pm-3pm.
Kaminer Haislip will present a lecture on the history of colonial Charleston silversmithing and how it relates to her contemporary silver designs. She will describe her handcrafted process in which she uses tools and techniques employed by silversmiths for centuries. Nationally recognized for her metalwork, Kaminer is the only silversmith practicing in Charleston. Inspired by Charleston’s long-standing silversmithing tradition, she feels compelled to carry it forth.
Madame Magar will present a lecture about her work and indigo farm that is inspired by nature, art, and history. She will talk about the rich yet tangled South Carolina indigo history that inspired her “seed to stitch” design philosophy and Madame Magar Blue School. Leigh will discuss her thought provoking, out of the box, one of a kind collections that intertwine art installations and performance with her design studio and shop.
For additional information on the exhibition, events, and programs visit www.aikencenterforthearts.org.
This project is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
This project is also funded in part by a generous award from the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of The Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.