FREMONT -- Thirty-five years after the famed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude installed a 24.5-mile nylon fence across Marin and Sonoma counties, several of the last remaining panels of that fabric can be found in Fremont.
Through April 30, the city's Olive Hyde Gallery is showcasing several artworks incorporating the woven nylon fabric at its free annual textile show.
Dianne Smith, of the Niles district, isn't an artist. She's mostly worked in business, which partly explains why 10 years ago she purchased from a collector 11 panels of the 18-foot-tall, 64-foot-wide woven nylon panels used in the artwork that spanned from the Pacific Ocean, along Highway 1 and across two counties all the way to Cotati.
"I just thought it was a good idea," she said. "It was also something I could do with my teenage kids for fun."
Her daughter, Janelle McKeller, does have a work in the exhibit. But most of the other works come from artists who have agreements with Smith. She supplies the famed fabric, they make the pieces and they split proceeds from sales.
The exhibit includes guns, handbags, bracelets, a bow and several framed artworks, all made out of the fabric.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who had designed massive art installations across the globe, worked for four years to build "Running Fence" across Marin and Sonoma counties in 1976. The 2,050 nylon panels were supported by 2,050 steel poles that ran through ranch land.
Most of the panels were destroyed, Smith said, leaving her with some sought-after material. "I just call up galleries, tell them what I have and they just give me shows," she said.
The works incorporating the artists' fabric make up only about one-third of the art on display at Olive Hyde's 43rd annual Textile Exhibition, which is traditionally the gallery's largest and best attended show.
Marie Bergstedt, of San Francisco, is honoring her foster mother, Clara Miltibarger, with a series of crocheted telephones that spanned her lifetime from 1907 to 2008.
"She worked so hard that her strength came from calling her own mother once a week," Bergstedt said of her foster mother, who cared for more than 72 children during her lifetime.
Christine Motley, a retired attorney turned artist, made several knit pieces that she turned into sculptures. "Reaching Green" is a collection of knit hands and forearms sewed together in the shape of a tree.
The exhibit is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through April 30 at the Olive Hyde Art Gallery, 123 Washington Blvd., Fremont. For more information, go to www.olivehydeartguild.org.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-353-7002.