August 28 – October 25, 2014 • Community Gallery

An investigation of cultural and environmental issues using ornate embroidery on textiles and topographic maps.

Artist Statement

Mixing a variety of source materials such as scientific data, early explorer’s journals, and trail observations, I stitch elaborate colorful words and phrases on velvet and silk fabrics to make large narrative wall hangings. Paper topographic maps are another surface for embellishments with pen, graphs, and photos attached with large primitive stitches. Wilderness experiences inform my work. Lengthy backpacking trips are significant to integrating the impacts of wilderness, contemporary society, and historical context into my artistic process. Using traditional Victorian crazy quilt stitches, primitive samplers, and narrative quilts as a point of departure, my artwork provides a novel opportunity for the consideration of current events and ethical questions.

Some of my recent projects examine geophysical climate issues. Instigated by a series of collaborations with scientists, I began to look for simple explanations for some of the important principles in climate and environmental science to use in my projects. I exploit data and statistics from research articles for graphic embroideries. I am also interested in new data collection instruments such as satellites and lidar, as well as century-old methods such as comparative glacier photography. Working with scientists can be invaluable for interpreting and extracting key concepts and clarifying their context and relevance. I share a focused sense of discovery in communicating environmental interactions within a palate of intricate, rich textures and compositions.


Bonnie Peterson has received several grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a grant from the Illinois Committee, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and other awards. She was an Artist-In-Residence at Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Isle Royale, and Crater Lake National Parks. Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, the National Park Service, private collections, and she has an extensive exhibition record. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana and an MBA from DePaul University.