Review: Woven Harmony needs restitching

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Husband and wife Robert and Rebecca Bluestone explained early in their performance Friday night at the Lied Center the reason for their collaboration: Robert plays a handmade guitar, Rebecca uses a handmade loom and both of their art forms require the use of their hands to create beauty.

Unfortunately, the couple's stage show, Woven Harmony, highlights the beauty of each medium alone but falls short of fleshing out how the art forms relate to each other and how the artists feed off one another.

Hailing from Santa Fe, N.M., the Bluestones have produced a show that combines their respective arts with personal footnotes about their lives.

Robert played practically flawlessly through numbers ranging from classical Spanish waltzes to Bach and took time to provide background about the music between each piece. His explanations helped the audience better understand the melodies.

Between Robert's performances on guitar, the couple showed slides of their home, their studio, their pets and the New Mexico countryside, all the while maintaining a dialogue with the audience about what they were seeing.

Rebecca explained, in-depth, the process she employs to first color fibers through a meticulous dyeing system and then weave tapestries on a loom at her home studio. She talked about the mysterious Fibonacci sequence of numbers that occurs naturally in virtually all of life's patterns and how it influences her geometric designs. Several of her tapestries were displayed on stage.

But, of course, her loom is too bulky to transport, and none of the slides the couple shared showed Rebecca at work on her instrument. Nor did they help illustrate the ties between the artists' work, how they inspire one another or where their art forms actually cross paths.

Although each is immensely talented in his or her own right as an artist, the Bluestones' on-stage collaboration isn't captivating. Rebecca merely sits on the stage like a statue while Robert performs then offers her insight about the music. The dialogue isn't entertaining in a concert setting.

Woven Tapestry needs a little fine tuning before it rises to a level that does both artists justice.