Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Common Thread at Textile Center

There are about 130 artists represented in Textile Center's annual members show this year, and every viable, well-lit inch of wall space is filled with textile art of nearly every type. I took a few snapshots of my favorites, and will refer to some of them in this post, properly credited.

The first is a favorite, by friend Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker, Text and Formulae. In the main work a digital image of an open book is printed on linen, and embellished with maple seeds and hand-stitching. Looking at this piece makes me long to actually bind a book made of cloth, with line after line of maple seed glyphs. Using the simple trick of scanning the book (and I am really curious whether there were originally words on the pages), the image has nice depth. Makes me long to hold such an object in my hands. 

Marilyn Klinkner's collage series inspires me with its intuitive, almost casual layering of textiles. I realize this kind of work isn't for everyone. But my work is neither loose nor terribly abstract, so for me there's a beguiling freedom here. Like Kristin's work, I'm drawn to the object-ness of these compositions. Up close, the individual fragments of cloth and their juxtaposed ages and textures are, to me, captivating. There are seemingly stories associated with each -- in my imagination anyway.

Kathmandu Streets and Alleyways by Nancy Condon is lush and layered, yet quite thin and frail-seeming. A map, and another kind of story-cloth; it is as beautiful from 20 feet away as it is up close. There is a feeling of wear, age and mending -- it has some of that boro feeling popular with certain artists. The sort of work I would like to dissolve into. 

I've recently deposited my grant check, and now am officially in the "gathering" stage -- images, information, ideas, looking for the ultimate direction of the project. None of the pieces I mention above is fully "off the wall" the way I want my Jerome work to be. But each contains a suggestion of the forms, textures, colors I've been meditating upon. 

Friday, January 9, 2015


Contact: Jenny Jones, Director of Marketing & Community Relations
612/436.0464 or

Fiber Artists on the Rise
Textile Center Designates 2015 - 2016
Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant Recipients

January 7, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Textile Center is pleased to announce the 2015 Jerome Fiber Artists Project Grant Recipients: Sarah Kusa, Becka Rahn, Jennifer Schultz, and Kate Vinson. Now in its seventh year, this program is designed to expand opportunities for emerging fiber artists in Minnesota, supporting them each with a $5,000 project grant, as well as additional professional development programming (in collaboration with Springboard for the Arts). The fellowships include exhibition planning and implementation culminating with a final show of the artists' new work from September through October, 2015, at Textile Center's Joan Mondale Gallery.

Sarah Kusa
Kusa attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and has continued with her artistic education with classes at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Textile Center, and the University of Minnesota. Manipulating and transforming materials such as paper, thread or fabric is at the heart of Sara's studio practice. The materials she uses play with the duality of delicate-and-strong that can be mimicked in the human condition, and her final works are sculptural forms that deal with human vulnerability, resilience, and interconnectedness. 

Kusa's goals with her project are to grow her body of sculptural three-dimensional work, and to learn first-hand about creating larger-scale installations for a gallery space. Drawing on recent works and structuring the project based on distinct types of spacial problem solving, Kusa will create a wall-based, floor-based and ceiling-suspended installation.

Becka Rahn
Rahn is a self-taught "engineer" of digital surface design and wearable art. She creates designs from digitally manipulated photographs which are then printed on a variety of fabrics. She uses her custom fabrics to make wearable art garments using original and vintage patterns. Rahn worked as the Education Manager at Textile Center for 11 years; she recently retired to pursue her artistic career.

Focusing on artistic development for the project grant, Rahn identified important goals that could be achieved by collaborating with other artists on digital designs, called "duets," and making these designs into wearable art. The final digital designs and garments will reflect the conversations had throughout the creative process about texture, color, layers, and balance.

Jennifer Schultz
Schultz attended the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis College of Art & Design before moving to Athens, Georgia. While in Athens, she worked as a custom framer and as a curator and manager of a fine art gallery. She became interested in fiber and fabric art and the direction of her exhibition program began to shift. After returning to Minnesota, Schultz joined groups and organizations like Studio Art Quilt Associates, Surface Design Association, and Textile Center. Schultz experiments with encaustic and prints on paper, and finds her calling and commitment to the fiber arts.  

Jennifer's project during the grant period will be to get her work off the wall by creating sculptural books made with quilted and embellished silk, encaustic, and bookbinding materials and techniques. The books will contain printed images, stitching, and incised markings on encaustic. These unique "signatures" will be hand-bound and engage the physical space of the viewer.  

Kate Vinson 
Vinson discovered the variety and tactile nature of fiber arts while taking art classes while in school for a second career. For Vinson, fibers allow freedom in range of materials and techniques like knotless netting, foiling, and paper arts. She uses these techniques to create sculptures that reflect the natural world and lots of texture.  

The project grant will focus on Vinson's use of materials, processes, and techniques in fiber enhanced through two main professional development opportunities: participating in the Women's Art Registry of Minnesota (WARM) Mentor/Protege program; and attending workshops at the National Basketry Organization's 8th Biennial Conference.

For 20 years, Textile Center has put $360,200 of Jerome Foundation grant funds to effective use in selecting emerging fiber artists based in Minnesota for individually designed project grants that have informed and advanced their development as artists and their creation of new works. In partnership with the Jerome Foundation, Textile Center supports and celebrate the creative spirit of fiber artists.