Roots of Our Labor

July 7 – October 10, 2020

Virtual Exhibition

The 2019-2020 grantees celebrated another year of the program’s success by proposing and producing projects that challenged their studio practices and the role of textile traditions, materials, and techniques in the conceptual development of their resulting work. “An overarching premise emerged through their conversations and meetings that unites all three artists’ work—thinking through making. In each of their projects, their slow and meditative practices provided a working environment that relates materials and process to deep thinking about content”, says Tracy Krumm, Director for Artistic Advancement at Textile Center.

(Featured artwork: Detail from Urn / Your Body is a Moment in Time, Ian Hanesworth; Detail from To Cross the Line, Dawn Tomlinson; Detail from Impermanence Practice Group, Erin Lavelle; Detail from Caught Between Body and Carbon, Ian Hanseworth; Detail from Trickle Down Effect, Dawn Tomlinson)

View a recording of the Art Speaks Zoom discussion with the grantees here:

Through the Jerome Fiber Artists Project Grant program, Textile Center supports and celebrates the creative spirit of emerging fiber artists by helping them develop professionally and thrive in their studio practice.

Installation Images - Studio Gallery, Textile Center

Photos by Rik Sferra

Individual Artists

Ian Hanesworth

“Cordage-making, a handcraft that predates spinning, stems from a long pan-cultural history of relationship with plants that have provided their strong and supple fibers for thousands of years.  Exploring this process in my practice over the past year has allowed me to enter into deeper relation with nettles and basswood, learning from these plants and from the ancestral practice of twining their fibers into cordage.

From stinging nettles, I’ve learned to pay attention.  When my mind begins to wander, their sting quickly pulls me back to the present and into my breathing, itching, healing body.  From basswood, I’ve learned about decomposition.  About how moisture and fungus collaborate in a dance that breaks down the bark just enough so that the fibers are soft and nimble, and strip easily from the bleached bones of the trees.  Basswood reminds me that someday my skin will be stripped from my body, that my flesh will return to soil, that one day, through the processes of decomposition and non-linear ancestry, that I might be a basswood tree or a thicket of stinging nettles.

The work in this exhibition is a meditation on the endless cycles of energy and matter through our bodies and through the larger terrestrial body of the earth.  It is a declaration of interdependence, a practice in ecological entanglement,” Ian Hanesworth, 2019-2020 Jerome Fiber Artist Project grantee

Learn more about Ian in their Textile Center Show & Tell interview here!

Knots / In Collaboration with Termites
Ian Hanesworth
39″ x 11″ x 5″
Basswood, earth pigment
Materials harvested on stolen Dakota land

Urn / Your Body is a Moment in Time
Ian Hanesworth
13″ x 7″ x 6 1/2″
Materials harvested on stolen Dakota land

Bones or Branches
Ian Hanesworth
80″ x 48″ x 16″
Materials harvested on stolen Dakota land

Wild Plant Cordage
Ian Hanesworth
95″ x 11″ x 1″
Stinging nettles, dandelion, basswood, agave, milkweed, cottonwood
Materials harvested on stolen Dakota, Chisos, and Jumano lands

Caught Between Body and Carbon
Ian Hanesworth
39″ x 27″ x 20″
Stinging nettles, stone
Materials harvested on stolen Dakota land

Erin Lavelle

“The roots of my labor are grounded in a mindful practice, the openness to work with the offerings of each changing moment.

Impermanence Practice Group started with my late grandmother’s table linens on which I imprinted cedar and sage.  Working in community at East Lake Library and briefly at Sumner Library, I invited patrons and staff to physically create the project alongside me as we discussed personal and social change.  Through direct action, stories exchanged and breath shared (before we couldn’t share breath anymore), we sewed and cut; made, unmade, and remade an abstract garment, then a coat, a cape.  We both experienced and enacted change, not knowing the fate of our materials or of our neighborhood.

When the urgent interests of public health paused public engagement, the project shifted into a meditation on pandemic solitude.  I worked at home, alone.  Then as the Minneapolis uprising began (in my neighborhood, right around the corner from the East Lake Library!), the practice continued with smoke in the lungs of buildings and bodies and books; ears ringing with hovering helicopters and gunfire; eyes weary from watching our streets until dawn each night; wallets overflowing with generosity; hearts bursting with renewed hope for social change and racial justice,” Erin Lavelle, 2019-2020 Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grantee

Learn more about Erin in her Textile Center Show & Tell interview here!

Impermanence Practice Group
Erin Lavelle
98″ x 63″ x 46″
Inherited linens and sewing notions/supplies, foraged medicinal plant material, found objects from burnt down buildings along East Lake Street
Ecoprinting, machine and hand sewing, cutting, tearing
Made in collaboration with patrons and staff at East Lake Library and Sumner Library, Minneapolis

Dawn Tomlinson

“In South Korea, the U.S. Government established Military Bases, concentrating most bases near the DMZ.  Surrounding the military bases, villages emerged and were called Camptowns.  The Camptowns provided daily needs such as groceries and laundry.  Entertainment for off-hours soldiers was seen as one of the essential services.

Research has revealed that both the Korean and U.S. governments were committed to providing entertainment services to the U.S. soldiers by propaganda throughout South Korea asking young women to come to the Camptowns to work.  Once in a Camptown, women stayed there and rarely returned to their families.  The stigma was too great to overcome.

These women and their mixed-race children became outcasts in South Korea, with no help from either government.  Many of the mixed-race children were sent abroad through international adoption.  This my story and the story of my birth mother.  I have not re-united with my birth mother, but it’s probable that she was a Camptown woman.  This body of work explores that possibility,” Dawn Tomlinsen, 2019-2020 Jerome Fiber Artist Project grantee.

Learn more about Dawn in her Textile Center Show & Tell interview here!

The Covering
Dawn Tomlinson
37″ x 30″
Representing a tablecloth, the muslin with a border of beaded netting references the concept of covering up what is beneath.  The world of the Camptowns, listed on the muslin, is the backdrop for the life of the women who worked in those bars.  Casually called “Camptowns”, the soldiers called them “villages” or “the Vils”.  Bleeding through in red embroidery are the derogatory names these women were called in Korean by their fellow citizens and their English translation.  The broken beaded netting is a metaphor for both the net these women were caught in and the roots of the future.

Who Is My Omma?
Dawn Tomlinson
23″ x 16 1/2″
Kang Soon Ja is my Korean name.  Declaring my identity by writing my name over and over, this is reinforced through stitching and red connections of bloodlines, so important in Korea.  But who is my Omma?  (Korean word for Mother.)  We are united by blood, but I have not yet reunited with my birth mother, so I do not know what happened to her after I left Korea at the age of two.  The mystery of her identity haunts me.

To Cross the Line
Dawn Tomlinson
13″ x 9 1/2″ x 1″
The first piece in the series, using white beads in the beadwork was my contemplation of my Omma as an innocent girl.  The beadwork took many hours, during which I spent wondering, “who was she?”  Was she working in the laundry in a Camptown, just a naive young girl trying to earn money?  Or did she cross the line into a world a bit darker?

Trickle Down Effect
Dawn Tomlinson
18″ x 4 1/2″ x 1″
O-Rings beaded into components suggest the seeming separateness of the parties involved in the events in South Korea from the time of the Korean War: The Korean government, the U.S. Military, and the Camptowns. Yet, the combination of those agreements resulted in an approximately 180 military bases with surrounding Camptowns.  From those, an unknown number of mixed-race children were born and denied by both governments.  It is estimated that 25,000 mixed-race children were adopted internationally since the start of the Korean War.  The netting/roots seen in the beaded netting and freeform beadwork (roots) express the fate of my Omma as a possible Camptown girl caught up in the circumstances of her time and place.