Kelsey Viola Wiskirchen is a fiber artist based out of St. Louis, MO. The Home Remembers featured large scale, fabric panels embroidered by the artist.
I am driven to engage in work done with others and which also has a tradition of bringing communities together. In communities worldwide, women have found camaraderie and empowerment through the creation of textiles. When I weave and sew, I become aware of my connection to people across cultures and to those who create textiles as an act of survival. The repetitive nature of these processes allows me to reflect on time spent with others.
When I was seven, my grandmother taught me how to embroider images onto cloth. For practice, she drew on fabric with pencil and I stitched over her lines. Around the same time, my mother taught me how to use her sewing machine. When I was ready for different thread, she wound a new bobbin and re-threaded the machine for me because it was too complicated to remember. The time these women spent teaching me to sew was focused not only on the physical task but was also a time for sharing stories.
We are all dependent upon one another and on the world in which we live. As time passes, some details fade from memory. In this way, true stories are fundamentally delicate. They become more fragile and more precious with time. There is poetry in the truth of sharing conversation, laughter, and time with others. I believe the power of cooperative efforts is a solution to many of today’s global problems. My purpose as an artist is to examine this act of shared experience.
Kelsey Viola Wiskirchen received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Fibers from Truman State University, and her Masters of Fine Arts in Fibers at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. In 2010, she spent a month volunteering in Bolivia with Projecto Artesania Zona Andina (PAZA), a women’s weaving cooperative consisting of three generations of women weaving and sewing together to support their families. In 2011, she was awarded a Nathan Cummings Travel Grant to spend the summer in Limpopo, South Africa to volunteer with Mapusha, a women’s cooperative with a similar purpose of empowerment for women by creating income through weaving and creation of artisan products. Kelsey currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, teaching outreach and community classes in textiles. Continuing to learn and to teach others has become an important part of her life as an artist, and these experiences filter in to her studio practice.