Anne McKenzie Nickolson

Creative Renewal Arts Fellow - In 1999, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, with generous support from the Lilly Endowment, established the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship program. Originally conceived as a renewal opportunity similar to an academic sabbatical, this groundbreaking initiative offers mid-career artists and arts administrators the opportunity to renew and refresh their creativity. In it's 9th round, the fellowship offers 30 artists and arts administrators $10,000 for an 18 month fellowship period.

My interest in working with fabric goes back to my early childhood when I learned to sew, embroider, knit and crochet. These interests turned toward art making as I earned my BFA in Textile Design from Northern Illinois University, and my MFA in Textile Design from Indiana University.

I have been a practicing, exhibiting fiber artist since 1977. My early work was pieced, appliquéd, embroidered often with hand dyeing and airbrushing. A natural evolution of ideas led to layered, pieced and

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About My Work:

All of my artwork from the past 35 years explores the relationship between the textile surface and pictorial illusion. Over the years, I have made several distinct bodies of work which all have certain concepts in common: an innovative use of techniques to create imagery, a commitment to craftsmanship and the beautiful object, and a search for a magical viewing experience – for both myself and the viewer.

By embroidering on pieced grosgrain ribbon, I can combine some boldness of color, with very delicate embroidery. The images selected, are from past travels and experiences, chosen because they are strong, beautiful, and, at least for me, reverberate with memory.

In developing the image, I use embroidery as a way to draw and to create an image in a new way. Sometimes there is an illusion of solidity, sometimes the negative space is developed to make the blank figure emerge, sometimes the figure and ground intermingle. Different methods of realizing the image are attempted, some are rejected and the best ones cause the image to emerge as I am working. When presence, absence, clarity and mystery are all in balance, I am finished, and ready for the next piece.

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Master of Fine Arts, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.  1978

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL.  1975


American Craft Council, Surface Design Association


2001 Creative Renewal Fellow – Arts Council of Indianapolis

Individual Artists Grant 2000, Individual Artist Fellowship, 1993, Artist’s Project Grant 1982.  Indiana Arts Council.

Artist-in-Residence Fellowship 1992.  ZSK Stickmaschinen GmbH, Krefeld, Germany.

Artist-in-Residence Fellowhip 1984.  Artpark.  Lewiston, NY.

Individual Artists Grant.  1982.  Penrod Society.  Indianapolis, IN


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