Textile artist cultivates hopeful message

Apr 5, 2022

MARION — The work on display at Marion Art Center by textile artist Paula Stebbins Becker weaves a story of compassion, peace and joy. 

Creations by Becker and Tracey J. Maroni are featured in “Emergence,’’ an art exhibit on display at the center, 80 Pleasant St., through May 6. An artists’ reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 9.

Becker is a textile artist who works with hand-dyed threads to create images she hopes will speak to visitors. Thread is the main element that connects all of the artwork.

One of the major pieces of the exhibit features three triptychs that combine to reflect the theme of gardening, a topic close to her heart for many years.

“My dad and I love to garden,’’ she said.

But her love for gardening transcends what she can grow in a backyard plot.

She finds a connection between the garden and human relationships. “We are not only stewards of the garden, of the environment,’’ she observed, “but we also carry a great responsibility to sew and cultivate compassion, peace and joy in ourselves and in others.’’

Becker hopes visitors to the exhibit will reflect on those themes as they view her work. 

One of the most significant pieces on display, which she informally calls The Garden Series, is divided into three themes: Cultivate Compassion, Cultivate Peace, Cultivate Joy. 

The themes are reflected in specific color tones, with yellow for joy, blue for peace and red for compassion. 

“I wanted them to have an organic feel, like nature,’’ she said. 

Cultivation is crucial to gardens and to humanity, Becker said. “In order to cultivate the environment, we have to cultivate ourselves, our own joy, our own peace, our own compassion.” 

Textile art is both her vocation and her avocation. The Tiverton, R.I. resident received her bachelor of fine arts degree in textile design/fibers from UMass Dartmouth and her master’s degree in fine arts in fibers from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

“My works on paper begin with thread, a textile or a handmade template. This inspires my woven work and allows me to experiment with a variety of techniques and materials, including printmaking and collage.’’ 

Her pieces differ, but her approach has an important consistency. She noted, “In all my work, I allow the hand and thread to lead the way.’’

Becker will be featured at the kickoff to Spring Arts at the Marion Art Center, a 10-day celebration of the arts that runs from May 6 to May 15. She will kick off the festivities with a conversation about her work from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5. For more information and a schedule of events, visit marionartcenter.org/scspringarts.