Celebrating the fiber art of Bella Erakko

Bella Erakko, our featured member artist, often wondered what constituted the main “thread” of her creativity. Books, jewelry, and hand woven articles seemed to have nothing in common. But one day, as she revisited this question, she realized, Oh! You are a weaver of words, beads, and thread. You knit things together. The books she’s written focus on environment (history of electric cars), silence (a life emphasizing meditation), Alzheimer’s (a slow transition from body to spirit). Her jewelry focuses on peace—one bead for every country in the world: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria ... Zambia, Zimbabwe. Constructed by Hannibal women in fragile circumstances, these necklaces and bracelets are a tactile form of prayer based on a book she co-authored, Peace Planet: Light for Our World.

When weaving thread, she always picks a poem, song, prayer … something she can repeat while weaving. A favorite comes from a female English mystic: All shall be well ~ All shall be well ~ All Manner of Thing Shall Be Well. As she throws the shuttle, she mentally recites the chosen piece. In this way, it gets “vibrationally woven” hundreds of times into the fabric. She believes the energy of the prayer is stronger and perhaps more beautiful than the fiber itself. Her latest creations focus on the “lowly” cotton-looped potholder. Endless color schemes allow her to explore new handwoven ideas. She is, for the moment, a potholder addict. Its slightly oversized dimensions make it ideal as a wall hanging, trivet, potholder—in other words, a perfect kitchen accessory.

An opening reception will be held at the Alliance Art Gallery on June 10, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. This reception coincides with the Hannibal Second Saturday Gallery Night. A free drawing for artwork by Bella will be held at 6:00.