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Guest Artist Pushes Boundaries of Traditional Tapestry

January 07, 2014

“I weave tapestries the same way they have been woven for hundreds of years. While I use centuries’ old techniques, I introduce new elements and incorporate new materials, innovations and inspirations.” — Rowen Schussheim-Anderson.

Rowen Schussheim-Anderson weaves tapestries that draw influence from colorful traditions in Africa and Latin America.

Her work is displayed in the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery at Alma College from Monday, Jan. 6 through Thursday, Feb. 6. Admission is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. A closing reception takes place in the gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 6.

Schussheim-Anderson, a member of the Augustana College art faculty, has exhibited her work nationally for more than two decades.

“I weave tapestries the same way they have been woven for hundreds of years,” she says in her artist’s statement. “While I use centuries’ old techniques, I introduce new elements and incorporate new materials, innovations and inspirations.

“Several techniques are used to push the boundaries of traditional tapestry incorporating feathers, glass, beads and other reflective materials to heighten contrast,” she says.

The exhibit includes works that were inspired by butterflies observed in the Amazon rainforest and butterfly gardens in Africa and Chicago.

“The beautiful structure of the butterfly, the rich color, the contrast of line and lively organic shape offer infinite design potential,” she states.

Her works are produced on a 56-inch wide four-harness floor loom. Besides tapestry weaving, her techniques include wrapping, bead embroidery, beadweaving, coiling, fused glass and glass lampwork. Materials include linen, wool, rayon, silk, nylon, cotton, beads, glass and feathers.

Schussheim-Anderson has most recently exhibited her works at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Galesburg Civic Center as well as galleries in San Francisco, Atlanta and Wichita.

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