Carolyn Mason "Cross-Pollination II"

“Native Fiber” at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilt & Fiber Arts

Native Fiber brings together a stunning variety of work by contemporary Native American fiber artists from throughout the Great Lakes area. Under these artists’ hands, Indigenous fiber art traditions are both maintained and advanced, communicating timeless stories and addressing modern themes. The show is on display at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts (WMQFA) in Cedarburg, Wisconsin until April 28th, 2019.

James Kelly The Nations (detail) 2018, cotton calico, black ash, velvet, glass beads, quahog shell, turkey feathers, ribbon, and pine. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fresh Perspectives.


Curated by Karen Ann Hoffman—a renowned Iroquois raised bead worker—and features an expansive definition of fiber art, from quillwork to cordage, bead work, weaving, birch biting, leatherwork and quilting.

Curator Karen Ann Hoffman.

Karen Ann Hoffman Flame Urn 2017, velvet, glass beads, felt. Courtesy of the artist.

Illuminating the astonishing ways Native artists explore and alter extraordinary materials—black ash, birch, fur, and corn husk, to name a few—the exhibition comprises the work of twenty-six artists and one artist guild, representing 17 tribal nations. Every artist’s work falls under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and is considered authentic Indigenous art.

Penny and Rick Kagigebi Renewal 2018, birch bark, porcupine quills, sweet grass. Courtesy of the artists. Photo: Fresh Perspectives.

Penny and Rick Kagigebi Renewal (detail) 2018, birch bark, porcupine quills, sweet grass. Courtesy of the artists. Photo: Fresh Perspectives.

Many of the works of art in the exhibition were created specifically for Native Fiber. Repeating iconography and subjects run throughout, including symbols of healing, forgiveness, women’s experiences, subjugation, and transformation. Together, the works attest to the diverse life and vibrancy of Indigenous fiber arts today.

Penny and Rich Kagigebi Mashkikiiwaabigwaniin 2 (Medicine Flowers 2) with Highbush Cranberry Edging 2018, birch bark, porcupine quills, sweet grass. Courtesy of the artists. Photo: Fresh Perspectives.

Artists featured in the exhibition include: Lily Antone-Plass (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Sarah Berthelet-Villa (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Binesikwe (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Wilma Cook (Mohawk), Debra Fabian (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Karen Elise Goulet (White Earth Ojibwe), Martha Gradolf (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Carla Hemlock (Kahnawake Mohawk Nation), Karen Ann Hoffman (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Samantha Jacobs (Seneca), Holly John (Seneca), Penny Kagigebi (White Earth Ojibwe), Rick Kagigebi (Lac Courte Oreilles), James Kelly (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Pat Kruse (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Julia Marden (Aquinnah), Linda Lou Metoxen (Diné), Penny Minner (Seneca), Native Roots Arts Guild (Iroquois), Salisha Ninham (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin), Scott Shoemaker (Myaamia), Talon Silverhorn (Shawnee), Christopher Sweet (Ho-Chunk), Chholing Taha (Cree), Jeremy D. Turner (Shawnee), Shannon Marie Turner (Diné), and Michelle D. Watson (Diné).

Penelope Minner Welcome Home 2018, corn husk and cotton. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fresh Perspectives.

Penelope Minner Little Bits 2017, cornhusk and sinew. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Fresh Perspectives.

Native Fiber is on display at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts (WMQFA) in Cedarburg, Wisconsin until April 28th, 2019.

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