Artist Sola Fiedler’s large-scale Las Vegas Tapestry made from unraveled thrift-store sweaters is the stuff of legend around here.
The 7-by-11-foot rendering of the Strip and outlying areas at night was made over a three-year period in Fiedler’s one-bedroom apartment across from the Hard Rock Hotel. It captures the marquees, parking lots, streetlights, textured palm trees, mountains and everything in between—all with cotton and wool yarns, silk, beads and metallic thread.
This week the tapestry has moved from Trifecta Gallery, where locals and tourists made pilgrimages to view the work for more than four years, to the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, where it will hang in the entryway and serve as a centerpiece for the ARTrageous event on June 14.
If sold, partial proceeds will go toward the Center at 401 S. Maryland Parkway. If not, the tapestry will remain on view for three months before it moves to Vancouver where the artist lives, says her daughter, Susan Fiedler, possibly making this the last chance for locals to see it.
The 78-year-old artist put more than 8,000 hours into the tapestry, which she completed in 2009. So popular is the work that gallery owner Marty Walsh estimates that more than 20,000 viewers have come to see it.
Fiedler had been documenting Olympic cities in tapestries, then came to Las Vegas after reading about Strip implosions and feeling an urge to document the city before the buildings were gone. She walked the streets at night for research and would stand on top floors of parking garages, noting the details of the landscape. Her material came mostly from sweaters purchased at local thrift stores.
“Ideally, Sola feels that the tapestry really belongs to the community,” says Susan Fiedler, adding that the tapestry was literally made from the clothes of this community and includes buildings that no longer stand. “People love this tapestry. It’s one of a kind, a moment in time that doesn’t exist anymore.”
Fiedler’s other city tapestries have wound up in private or public collections, but despite the interest in the $225,000 Las Vegas Tapestry, it has yet to sell.
“It’s thanks to Marty [Walsh] that the tapestry has been here so long and so many people have gotten to see it,” Susan Fiedler says.