The guild

The Textile Artists’ Guild founded ten years ago soon became one of the most vibrant cultural centers in the city of Kaunas.

The organisation uniting a large number of textile art professionals and artists specialising in other areas is familiar to most people of Kaunas.

The Guild that represents both famous and emerging artists has its objec-tives and goals, which surpass the local limits of textile art, the city of Kaunas or even Lithuania. The goal of the organisation active since 2000 is the development and promotion of contemporary textile art in Lithuania and all over the world. In ten years, it has achieved more than expected. Among the main areas of the Guild’s activities is the initiation and realisation of international projects; exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad; organisation of public art events in the streets of Kaunas as well as general improvement of the cultural climate in Kaunas and charitable activities; collaboration with Lithuanian and international culture institutions; education and publishing. For ten years, this multifaceted range of activities has been coordinated by the founder and leader of the Guild, Jolanta Šmidtienė, who is regularly helped by other artists: Lina Jonikė, Almyra Weigel (Bartkevičiūtė), Laima Oržekauskienė, Jūratė Petruškevičienė, Zinaida Dargienė, Vita Gelūniene, Raimonda Rasimavičienė, Jolanta Velykienė, Felik-sas Jakubauskas, Gaila Akelienė, Jurgita Stravinskienė, Margarita Taurinskienė, Jūratė Urbienė, Remigijus Sederevičius, Virginija Masliakovienė, art critics Jolanta Zabulytė, and Virginija Vitkienė.

Many public art events or exhibitions of the Textile Artists Guild were organised in cooperation with other culture institutions. The Guild is a regular partner of the Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE (organised by the Kaunas Artists’ Support Fund): every two years the organisations collaborate in preparing the exhibitions accompanying the Biennial and initiating projects in public spaces of the city. For example, in 2005, in the square next to the Guild’s gallery in Valančiaus Street, they installed the group Exhibition Aprons together with one of the curators of the Biennial, Laima Kreivytė; it featured original signs of women’s world created for and imposed on the image of woman. The sculpture and sound installation Confession of Politicians by Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė (1933-2007) was presented in the Kerosene House situated at the square. During the 2007 Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE 07, the Guild held no less than three exhi-bitions on its premises. One of them was an international students’ exhibition, Young Examination, which can be listed among the most significant parts of the Biennial: Wide Examination – a competition and exhibition, and Narrow Examination – curators’ collections). The Gallery Balta also featured satellite exhibitions of the Biennial: Linen Archetype (international mini textile exhibition) and Jolanta Šmidtienė’s personal exhibition of spatial embroidery, Angels’ Spree.

The Guild collaborated with the Biennial also during the symposium of experimental textile, New Examination, in summer 2008 with participation of artists from Lithuania, Germany and Spain. The Guild’s venues were used not only for creative workshops and lectures, but also for exhibiting works created during the symposium.
The Textile Artists’ Guild also collaborates with the Kaunas Department of the Lithuanian Artists’ Association. During the last few years, the Guild’s gallery held exhibitions of the watercolour biennial, of LAA members and events of its Textile Section. The Guild has also regular creative relationships with the LAA Gallery Meno parkas: for many years, the Guild used to present its projects on the premises of Meno parkas, and after the renovation of the Gallery Balta, which increased the exposition capacity, Meno parkas projects find home here. For example, at the end of 2008, the exhibition Kataunas, a part of the festival organised by the aforementioned gallery, Kaunas in Art: Contexts, presented works based on the social context by Lithuanian and Italian artists.


Although it would not be possible to discuss all the aspects of the Guild’s activities, it would be unfair to conceal its continuous educational activity. The graduates of the Textile Department of Kaunas Art Faculty of the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts constantly find spaces for their expositions it the Guild’s gallery; they present solo as well as group exhibitions. In its projects, the Guild involves not only professional artists, but also students of secondary schools and also people of Kaunas of various ages and interests. Next to this activity, the Guild also organises certified courses, seminars and the hugely popular School of Textile Arts for Adults; its graduates are awarded qualification

certificates and they register for courses sometimes half a year in advance. Professional artists (Jolanta Šmidtienė, Lina Jonikė, Zinaida Dargienė, Jūratė Petruškevičienė, R. Mikalauskienė and others) examine the basics of art and textile technologies with groups of people who wish to develop their creativity or expand their skills (teachers raising their qualifications and beginners attend these courses): they paint on silk, practice various felting techniques, sew dolls, print on fabrics and learn thermal methods to process fabrics. For those who want to acquire skills only in some specific area of textile, leather or porcelain decoration, the Guild offers themed courses and seminars. The works of those who finish the courses are exhibited at the Guild’s gallery.

For most people of Kaunas the Guild’s Gallery Balta has become a pleasant place where they can see professional art works, receive information on contemporary Lithuanian art and textile, improve their skills and discover their creative potential.

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