Globe West Arts

A look at the fabric of our world

Paula Gulbicki is exhibiting pieces from her textile collection at Middlesex Community College’s Bedford campus. Paula Gulbicki is exhibiting pieces from her textile collection at Middlesex Community College’s Bedford campus. (Alyce O’Connell)
By Nancy Shohet West
Globe Correspondent / September 22, 2011

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As a child, Paula Gulbicki loved to watch her grandmother and aunts knit, crochet, and sew. “Everybody in the family was always doing some kind of textile handiwork,’’ she said.

The art and craft behind textile creation would eventually become her passion and her career: first as a student of design creating “wearable art’’ in New York City, and later as a professor of fashion and design at Middlesex Community College.

But Gulbicki not only studied textile design; she also collected it. A broad sampling from her collection, on display in a free exhibition at Middlesex Community College’s Bedford campus, offers an up-close look at the dozens of pieces she has gathered over six decades at street fairs, church sales, factories, workshops, and markets throughout the world, or received from friends.

“I have examples of textiles from North, Central and South America; from Asia; from Africa,’’ Gulbicki said. “They reflect a range of techniques: everything from bark cloth made in New Guinea to silkscreen from Finland.

“The exhibit includes vintage lace made by Victorians in England, ikats from Guatemala, batik done in Indonesia, patchwork made by the Seminole Indians in Florida,’’ she said. “I have an embroidery piece done by the Hmong tribe that shows the whole story of how fabric is made, from planting seeds and harvesting the crop to spinning the yarn and weaving it into cloth. I have an appliqué from South America that shows a little village scene of llamas, gardens, and vegetables.’’

One aspect that particularly interests Gulbicki is how similar design methods have evolved in different parts of the world. For example, American tie-dyeing techniques produce big, bold designs; in Japan, tie-dye is done by binding rice and throwing it into the dye, which results in tiny textured circles on the fabric, she said.

Gulbicki has included works from her own portfolio as well: quilts and Japanese kimonos she made in classes she’s taught, along with the crocheted pieces done by her grandmother that first inspired her interest in textile art.

“Textiles from Around the World’’ is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 8 in the college’s Henderson Hall Gallery, 591 Spring Road in Bedford.

“CHICAGO’’ IN FRANKLIN: Dean College students will perform the musical “Chicago’’ in a run starting Tuesday and continuing through Oct. 2 in the in the Campus Center’s Main Stage Theater, 99 Main St. in Franklin.

Tickets are $5 to $15, with a $20 dinner and show package for the Friday and Saturday night performances.

For times and more information, call 508-541-1605 or go to

CLASSICAL IN CONCORD: The Sarasa Chamber Music Ensemble performs Handel’s “Les Sirènes,’’ featuring sopranos Kathryn Mueller and Kristen Watson, on Sunday at 7 p.m. at First Parish Church, 20 Lexington Road, Concord.

Tickets are $24, $20 for seniors, $12 for students with ID. Children under age 12 accompanied by an adult are admitted free. For more information, call 617-492-4758 or go to

ARTISTS IN MAYNARD: ArtSpace-Maynard is hosting its 10th annual Artists Open Studios from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 63 Summer St. in Maynard.

The free event will feature works by 80 long-practicing and emerging artists, including painters, glass artists, book binders, ceramicists, hat makers, jewelers, photographers, sculptors, paper makers, printmakers, and illustrators.

Classical guitarist Berit Strong and flutist Mary Neumann will present a concert on Sunday at 5 p.m. in the ArtSpace Gallery. For more information, call 978-897-9828 or go to

MEET KRINSKY TONIGHT: Acton resident Anne Krinsky is exhibiting her installation “Shelf Life’’ in the Groton Public Library’s Owen Smith Shuman Gallery through Nov. 5, with a reception and artist’s talk tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

In addition, the artist will lead a free workshop, “Image Transfer Techniques with Acrylics,’’ on Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the library, 99 Main St. in Groton.

For more information, call 978-448-1167 or go to

VAUDEVILLE RETURNS: The Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St. in Arlington, kicks off its 95th anniversary season Sunday at 4 p.m. with “There’s No Place Like Arlington’s Show Place,’’ featuring a mix of entertainment harkening back to its early 20th-century origins as a vaudeville venue.

The show will feature several Arlington residents, including harpist Deborah Henson-Conant; composer John Kusiak with the Tabloid Ensemble; Woody Geissmann of the Del Fuegos; bluegrass, swing, and folk ensemble Wicked Pickers; and teen pop-vocalist Serge Clivio.

Also on the bill are singer-songwriter Patrick Coman and his band; Boston stand-up comedian Tony V.; and comedian-juggler Dan Foley, who will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Tickets are $10 in advance; $15 day of show; $5 for ages 11 and younger; free for Regent members.

For tickets and information, call 781-646-4849 or go to

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