A First Gallery Exhibit: Contemplations in Cloth


At the beginning of the month, I had the honor of participating in my first gallery exhibit at One Division Art in Buffalo, MN. The exhibit was titled Contemplations in Cloth.

I enjoyed working with gallery owner Christopher Hoffman, and shared the exhibit space with Carolyn Abbott of Brainerd, MN. Carolyn and I worked together at times back in our fabric-dying days, so it was great fun to connect with her again!

My sister Cindy and her husband flew in from San Francisco. It was great that we could have our family gathering at the time of the exhibit! Cindy took most of the photos below. Thanks, sis!

Before the Show

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View from the front of the One Division Art gallery

One Division Art is in a wonderful old building from the tail end of the 1800s. It was originally a bank. Christopher has been renovating the building over time, and it’s a great space for art.

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Shelly and Jack before the opening

My husband Jack left town earlier than I did for a long-overdue visit with his son. But I was tickled that he got to see my first exhibit before Pat whisked him off “to the lake” in Grand Rapids.

Carolyn Abbott's art pieces
Various works by Carolyn Abbott

I was ingrigued with Carolyn’s sheer paper laminations. The birch pieces were made up of two layers hung several inches apart, and they literally floated in the breeze set off by the ceiling fans. I had heard about this technique in the past, but it was really neat to see some pieces “in the cloth” rather than in photographs.

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The gallery had lots of interesting places to hang pieces. It was a great learning experience to work with the gallerist to place groupings of pieces to provide coherence and to show pieces off to their best advantage.

Let the show begin!

Opening reception for Contemplations in Cloth Exhibit
Opening reception for Contemplations in Cloth Exhibit

Of course, the whole point of an exhibit is the visitors! The timing (Labor Day weekend) and Covid dampened attendance, but we had a nice opening, and I had the opportunity to visit with a number of friends and family during the first weekend of the show.

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Answering questions about my stitched paintings

I enjoyed meeting the visitors and talking to them about my work. It was rewarding to visit with people who enjoy art in all forms, and who appreciate learning about the process that goes into a peice.

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Of course, it was fun to eavesdrop on the conversations in front of my “Dancing in the Night” triptych. I loved hearing peoples reactions and what they saw in the stitched images.

Carolyn Abbott and Shelly Stokes at Contemplations in Cloth exhibit
Carolyn Abbott and Shelly Stokes at Contemplations in Cloth exhibit

At the end of the night, we posed for a photo in front of one of Carolyn’s quilted pieces. It was a nice way to top off a lovely evening.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most was simply the chance to meet people in person to talk about art, life, and whatever else came up in our conversations. After all the “alone time” associated with our year of Covid, in-person conversations were a welcome change from Zoom!

Thank You!

For every artist, there is a first gallery exhibit. I am blessed to have found a set of tools and techniques that I love to work with. I am equally blessed to have the time to make a coherent body of work. And to have the chance to share my work in an exhibit? What more could I ask for?

Thank you, Christopher Hoffman, for the invitation to exhibit my work at One Division Art. Thank you Carolyn, for sharing the space with me. And thanks to my friends, family and readers for making the trip to Buffalo to share this moment with me.

Finally, thank you for inviting me into your inbox. It is an honor and a privelege to be a part of your creative life.


  1. Rebecca Muir MacKellar on September 22, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Beautiful! Your art is magnificent and the building is cool too. What fun.

    • ShellyStokes on September 22, 2021 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca. It really was nice to see it all in a proper display space. Another step forward… 🙂

  2. Lucia Santos on September 22, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Congratulations on your exhibit. The instalation looks amazing.
    Safe travels.

    • ShellyStokes on September 22, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      Gracias, Lucia. It has been lovely to make the trip, but I’m feeling like it’s time to head home.

  3. Barb Williams on September 22, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    I am feeling so guilty that I did not come see you when you were so close. Life just gets in the way. We are all packed to go to Arizona. Thank you for posting the great pictures! Safe travels.

    • ShellyStokes on September 22, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      No guilt necessary, Barb. Enjoy your travels to AZ.

  4. Barb Minor on September 22, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Sorry to have missed this special visit to Minnesota. Buffalo isn’t too far from me in Crystal. What a great setting for your first show, and you and Jack look marvelous. Thanks for sharing the event with us.

    P.S. Hug Victoria for me when you see her.

    • ShellyStokes on September 22, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      Gracias, Barb! It’s lovely to hear from you. I’m blessed that Jack’s health has continued to be good. I’ll give your greetings to Victoria. 🙂