March 6 – May 3, 2014 • Community & Studio Galleries • Anna Carlson

Designing the Self: Patterns of Order and Disruption

This work addresses how constructing and presenting individual self-identity parallels the process of designing and producing a textile/apparel collection. Through experimentation, discovery, practice, and production of this collection, I’ve explored the similarities between how I approach the creation of an apparel line and how I can use clothing to convey something about myself to others.

The work shown here investigates the expressive qualities of printed and dyed patterns on cloth combined with garment forms in order to challenge dress codes and solicit conversations about power, violence, and ambiguity. These garments and textiles emphasize the complex nature of my own sense of self. I’ve tried on many lifestyles from punk to academia. I’ve changed jobs and wardrobes, kept what fits, edited, and discarded the irrelevant. I present a selected view of who I am on any given day with the choice of a classic garment form, a shirt, skirt, or shift dress. The order of this uniform is disrupted with color and patterns on the cloth.

Especially in symbolic form (+), and suggests an intersection. I seek to understand where surface design + garment form, self + other, public + private interact in my life, and what happens when those patterns are interrupted.


About Anna Carlson
Anna Carlson’s conceptual work explores dress and identity through the processes of dyeing and printmaking. She combines her interest in current issues with her practice by merging hand and digital processes. “My creative journey began as a child; I loved to make paper dolls and cut out dresses from wallpaper sample books.”

From 1990-2006, Carlson sold her clothing collection across the country in prestigious craft shows and galleries. Her work is in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society and the Goldstein Museum of Design. Her design practice includes textile print and texture patterns for home furnishings and historical reproductions. She has taught apparel and surface design theory and technique to lifelong learners and university students.

When not in her Minneapolis studio or traveling, Carlson wanders the woods and water in northern Wisconsin, gathering natural dye materials and inspiration.  To learn more, visit