TAMPA • Fiber is one of the great common denominators of the human race. We use it, wear it and eat it every day. • Convergence 2008 doesn't include the edible kind of fiber, but every imaginable type and technique of the other two categories will be addressed at this biennial convention of the Handweavers Guild of America. Fiber art, from utilitarian baskets to high fashion, will come to the Tampa Convention Center on Sunday and will stay through June 28. • Almost 200 seminars, studio classes and workshops will be offered to an expected crowd of about 5,000.
Most are geared toward practicing artists and craftspeople, but Convergence isn't only for insiders; experiences abound for amateurs and observers. The best way to dip your toe in the creative waters is with a $10 one-day pass beginning Wednesday. That buys you admission into the enormous vendor area (which doesn't open until Wednesday), art exhibits, special-interest meetings (not the seminars and workshops) and informal fashion and decorative arts shows.
For $25 more, you can listen to one of the excellent keynote speakers scheduled during the week, each an internationally famous professional in the field:
8 to 9 a.m.: Joan Morris, a master dyer who created textiles for The Lion King.
7:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Willa Shalit, artist, producer, photographer and author, who founded the Rwandan basketry partnership Path to Peace.
1 to 2 p.m.: Victoria Rivers, artist, professor and author, who will discuss cultural and historical movements based on her book, The Shining Cloth: Dress and Adornment That Glitter.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Peter Collingwood, author and textile legend.
Also of note
Wednesday brings the Dance of the Flamingos, a runway fashion show at 8 p.m., featuring high-end wearable art. Tickets are $100.
The best deal is Kids Bring A Parent for Free Day on June 28. To qualify, each child (per parent) must be between 6 and 18 for free admission for both to the vendor hall and art exhibits.
One-day passes and lecture tickets may be purchased at the door. The vendor hall and exhibits have varying opening and closing times. For more information, go to weavespindye.org and click on Convergence 2008.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at (727) 893-8293 or email@example.com.
. St. Petersburg
"Salsa y Salsa: Convergence Juried Exhibit," "Laura Militzer Bryant: Crossings" and "Practical to Poetic: Women's Handicraft Revisited." Through Aug. 16. Gallery crawl, 5-9 p.m. June 27. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 719 Central Ave. (727) 822-7872. theartscenter.org.
"The Shimmering Surface," textile art by Lilly Marsh. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. Opens Friday, through July 3. 2955 Central Ave. (727) 323-2787. craftsmanhousegallery.com.
Florida Craftsmen Galleries
"Tapestries from the Tropics," works by Tapestry Artists of Sarasota, "Textures and Forms: Contemporary Baskets," "The Pearl in the Oyster" and "Dolls!: The Work of Chris Malone." Through Aug. 23. Gallery crawl, 5-9 p.m. June 27. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 501 Central Ave. (727) 821-7391. floridacraftsmen.net.
Florida Holocaust Museum
"The Face of Africa: Fiber Art by Mary Fisher'' and "Reflections on Man's Fate: Fiber Art by Judith Weinshall Liberman." Through Sept. 23. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 55 Fifth St. S. (727) 820-0100 or toll-free 1-800-960-7448. flholocaustmuseum.org.
Museum of Fine Arts
Textiles from the collection. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. Docent tours, 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sunday. $12, $10 seniors, $6 students. 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 896-2667. fine-arts.org.
"Alterations: Fiber Art by the Art Cloth Group." Opening reception Monday 6-9 p.m.; exhibit through July 6. Noon-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 620 First Ave. S. (727) 895-6620. thestudioat620.org.
Galleries at Clearwater
"Art on the Bluff: Pinellas Handweavers Guild" and "The Children's Banner Exhibit." Through Aug. 26. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thur., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 100 N Osceola Ave.
Crossroads Gallery at
St. Petersburg College
"Fiber Artists Coalition: Terra Suave." Through July 3. 2465 Drew St. (727) 341-4301.
Dunedin Fine Art Center
"Surfacing: Contemporary Textile Trends from Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild Members," "Luminous: Work by the late Jan Boyer" and "Connie Lippert: Navajo Wedge Weave." Through July 6. Free admission. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., Wed., Thur. and Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tue., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 1143 Michigan Blvd. (727) 298-3322. dfac.org.
Painted Fish Gallery and Clay & Paper
"Thread Bare: My Fiber Vice," by Margaret Hluch. Artist reception 6-8 p.m. Fri. Through Aug. 1. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. 350 Main St. (727) 736-0934. paintedfishgallery.com.
. Safety Harbor
Syd Entel Galleries
"Color and Expression through Fiber Art," by various artists. June 26 through July 26. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 247 Main St. (727) 725-1808. sydentelgalleries.com.
. Tarpon Springs
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
"California Dreaming," juried exhibition from the California Fibers Guild, and “Tapestries of Abraham Rattner, created at the Mambush Artists' Village in Israel.'' Through Aug. 3. Lecture: "Conserving Textiles" by Marlene Eidelheit, director of the Textile Conservation Laboratory, 11 a.m. June 25. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thur., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $5, $4 seniors, free to children and students. Sunday free admission includes 2 p.m. docent-led tour. 600 Klosterman Road, Palm Harbor. (727) 712-5762. spcollege.edu/museum.
"Weaving in the Computer Age," from members of the Complex Weavers Guild. Through July 30. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat. 101 S Pinellas Ave. (727) 942-5605.
"My Heart on Silk," fine art on fabric by Elizabeth Mitchell. Through July 21. 1-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat., and by appointment. 442 Grand Central Ave., Suite 100. (813) 250-1511.
Brad Cooper Gallery
"Coptic Textiles," woven products from the beginning of the Christian era. $2 suggested donation. Through July 11. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat., and by appointment. 1712 E Seventh Ave. (813) 248-6098. bradcoopergallery.com.
"Looking Forward, Looking Back: Textile-based Multimedia Works," by Victoria Z. Rivers. Through June 28. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 4105 S MacDill Ave. (813) 831-3753. claytongalleries.net.
"Aquamarine Living," woven works by Doris Florig. Opens Sunday through Aug. 3. Included in aquarium admission: $17.95, $14.95 seniors, $12.95 ages 3-12. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 701 Channelside Drive. (813) 273-4000. flaquarium.org.
Kotler Art Gallery at John F. Germany Library
Works by the Florida Tropical Weavers Guild, through June 28. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Mon.-Thur., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 12:30-5 p.m. Sun. 900 N Ashley Drive. (813) 273-3652.
Juried Tapestry Biennial. Through July 11. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 1-4 p.m. Sat. University of Tampa, 310 N Boulevard. ut.edu/visitors/Scarfone-Hartley-Gallery.cfm.
Tampa International Airport
"Beyond Perfection — Fiber Arts Take Flight." Through Oct. 30. 5503 W Spruce St. (813) 870-8700. tampaairport.com.
Tampa Museum of Art
"Small Expressions: Contemporary Fiber Art in Small Scale." Through July 6. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat. Admission by donation. 2306 N Howard, Tampa. (813) 274-8130. tampamuseum.com.
TECO Public Art Gallery
"Woven Gems," tapestries from the American Tapestry Alliance. Through
July 31. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 702 N Franklin St.
. Ybor City
Art Gallery at Hillsborough Community College
"Weaving and Resist," fiber arts by various artists. Through July 6. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. and Wed.-Fri., noon-8 p.m. Tue. 14th Street and Palm Avenue. (813) 253-7000. hccfl.edu.
Hoffman Porges Gallery
"Costumes & Coverings — Non-Wearable Art." Through July 5. Noon-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 1907 E Seventh Ave. (813) 247-2000. hpartgallery.com.
"Flight: Fiber Art by Gina Bosworth." Opens Friday through July 3. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sun. 1903 N 19th St. (813) 247-4400.
"Sideshow," fiber arts with a circus theme by Designing Weavers Guild Members, through July 12. Also, fabric art by Sally Shore. Through July 13. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., Fri. and Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Thur. 209 Ninth St. W. (941) 746-2862. artcentermanatee.org.
Pasco Arts Council Gallery
"Plumage: Redefining What We Wear," fiber art by Diane Prekup. Through July 3. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 5744 Moog Road. (727) 845-7322. pascoart.org.
"Orient Expressions," works by various artists. Through June 28. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 2312 Gulf Gate Drive. (941) 921-0871. beadsfob.com.
Ringling College of Art and Design
"Threads," fiber art by various artists. Opens Friday with free reception from 5 to 7 p.m., through July 25. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon., Wed. and Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tue. 2700 N Tamiami Trail. (941) 359-7563. ringling.edu/selbygallery.