Connie Bloom 1947 - 2016

Art aficionados strolling the frequent festive events at Summit Artspace have lately missed the eager smile and welcome of Connie Bloom at her third floor studio and gallery, where she has been making art quilts since 2010. She died of complications from cancer on August 29, 2016.

Enchanted visitors often launch into conversations about stories Connie had in the Akron Beacon Journal about their families, pets, food, art, entertainment or how-tos from years of reading her work in the local paper and its sister publications, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, from 1972-2008, when she retired.

While Connie was best known for her inimitable prose, her passion for the written word eventually took a back seat to her compulsion for fabric and she ultimately reinvented herself as a textile artist. It wasn't a process she began late in life, but rather earlier, when she was four and discovered a sewing kit in her auntie's closet containing a sparkling needle, shiny craft string and star-studded box of Band-Aids.

She was young, yes, but she had discovered a vital connection between the world of art and the art of sewing. That discovery illuminated life for her in a way nothing else could. They walked hand-in-hand through her two careers. When she closed her eyes at night, new art quilts tumbled through her imagination like clothes in a dryer.

"I am doing what I always did, telling stories. I am just using a different toolbox," she explained. "Fabric replaces paper, needles instead of pencils.”

Patrons and readers are quick to see that Connie's compelling visual language matches her lyrical newspaper voice. She hand dyed, printed and painted most of the cloth she used in her modern day tapestries, which from afar look like paintings. As viewers draw closer, they pick up second and third layers of detail from Connie's extensive threadwork, ‘drawn’ freehand without the use of tools or computers. Her work is what made her happy for many years.

Connie asked that her final goodbye be a joyful one, with a fabulous farewell party at her beloved studio. Please join us at the Connie Bloom Memorial Celebration & Sale on Sunday, September 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. on the 3rd floor of Summit Artspace, 140 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio.

Along with food, wine, live music and memories, there will be a special sale of Connie's fiber art. At her request, all proceeds will be donated to Artists of Rubber City and Summit Artspace.

She was born Nov. 3, 1947, daughter of World War II sweethearts, Gloria (A. DePascale) and Webb L. Brown, both deceased. Connie was married to Robert D. Shields of Akron. In addition to her newspaper and art careers, she founded and edited a critical free-ranging art quilt magazine, the QSDS Voice; ran a political campaign against an incumbent mayor of Kent, Ohio for a toilet salesman; wrote biographies for Remember Me Biographies; took the summer of 2015 off to blog and support the campaign of Bernie Sanders.

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Sept. 4, 2016
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