Astrid Hilger Bennett makes abstract art quilts, wall art and functional items using hand-painted and hand-printed fabrics. Her work has been featured on the cover of the Fiberarts Design Book VI and in national and international exhibitions. She received her BFA in printmaking from Indiana University in 1975. Astrid is Co-owner and Marketing Director of Iowa Artisans Gallery, a contemporary crafts business representing 200 artists. She has been active with community arts advocacy and entrepreneurial mentorship, serving as a board member in the Downtown Association, the Iowa City-Coralville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Retail Caucus and Iowa City Community String Orchestra. Astrid has taught fiber arts workshops, as well at the University of Iowa and Penland School of Crafts. She has contributed articles for major craft publications such as American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Fiberarts and Surface Design Journal. Bennett has been a member of SDA since 1977. From 2000-2009 she served as Iowa, then North Central Regional Representative, where she started an email newsletter to members and suggested major member-oriented additions to the conferences. She is committed to strengthening the community of SDA members through communication and networking, and to supporting and mentoring the Area Representatives who serve the organization.
To me, successful art works in any medium are a balance of complex forms. I juxtapose active forms with quiet, inward ones, motion with stillness. In music, the silence between notes is just as important as the notes themselves. The imagery I employ is a pre-verbal response to the world. I feel no need to illustrate or narrate concepts that are better served through writing. I use words to convey those ideas. I’m happiest with a brush in my hand, and art quilts allow me a large-scale, exuberant canvas. Although visually abstract, my work constantly mines the daily life experiences of family, society and the natural world. I use only my own handpainted, monoprinted cotton fabrics in my work. I start with white cotton broadcloth fabrics, painting, monoprinting or screenprinting them with Procion MX fiber reactive dyes. My works are machine pieced and quilted, and the reverse side fabrics are painterly as well. Technical process images may be found on my website.
I paint and print fabrics, creating large abstract wall art. I’m a Gallery co-owner, entrepreneur, mentor and occasional instructor. My role as SDA Director of Representatives is my way of giving back to my artistic community.