Systems & Networks - Kim Eichler-Messmer


Exhibition: September 4 - November 3 2019

Artist Reception: Saturday, September 28, 6pm - 8pm

Workshops:

Color Theory for Quilters, Friday, September 27, 10am - 2pm

Architectural Cut & Slice Quilting Workshop, Saturday, September 28,10am - 5pm

Kim Eichler-Messmer's work is an abstract exploration of structure and pattern in the natural world. The emotional impact of a landscape, the variability of weather patterns, and the abbreviated timeline of the earth visible in geology and landforms all speak to her on a spiritual level. She is equally inspired by the biological and chemical systems that make up living organisms, mathematical and planned systems such as central pivot irrigation, and the logistics of cities and roadways. She uses color, geometry, and repetition to explore and represent these ideas.

Much of her work is made from hand dyed and printed textiles. She uses natural materials such as wool, silk, cotton, and linen almost exclusively and uses dyes and pigments made from plants and insects. She grows or forages many of her own dyes, such as black walnuts, Osage orange, marigolds, and weld. Inherently tactile, slow, and labor intensive, quilting provides an opportunity for quiet reflection. Like quilting, the process of dyeing or printing fabric using natural dyes is slow and methodical. From growing, harvesting, and preserving the plant materials, to creating the dye baths and carefully dyeing the fiber, each step creates an opportunity for reflection and gratitude. Though she strives for a level of control in the process, nature is inherently uncontrollable and she enjoys the variation and surprise that comes through in the work. These variations can feel magical and she often allows them to guide her work. It can feel frivolous and impractical to use such time consuming and anachronistic practices. But she is more and more aware of the importance of slowing down, of using our hands, and reconnecting with the past as a way to honestly and authentically create a future.

Kim Eichler-Messmer grew up in Iowa and learned how to sew in the 5th grade when she and her dad made a quilt together out of their old shirts. After studying engineering, Spanish, and Portuguese in college, she received a BFA in Printmaking. She went on to earn an MFA in textiles at the University of Kansas. Kim is currently an Associate Professor in the Fiber department at the Kansas City Art Institute. Her book, Modern Color: An Illustrated Guide to Dyeing Fabric for Modern Quilts, was published in 2014 and she is working on a fabric line with Paint Brush Studios. Her work is shown regularly in national and international shows.

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