Jun 29th 2020

Register in advance for this zoom conversation here.

Historically devalued as “low” art, craft has long been a powerful form of resistance. For this conversation Mikey Anderson, has invited Christian Ortiz, and Rachel Wallis, to discuss how they use traditional craft processes to promote personal, social, and political change in communities faced with conflict, displacement, and social upheaval.

Inspired by Mikey Anderson’s Yarnies, explore and celebrate gender diversity by creating your own soft, 3D characters—plushies—from imagination using fabric, embellishments, and basic sewing techniques.

This conversation will be recorded.

Plushie Design Workshop

Mikey Anderson is a Queer artist-art therapist from the South Side of Chicago who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in fine art and an MA in art therapy and counseling. Anderson’s practice is informed by their community-driven art therapy practice, which incorporates fiber crafts, queer theory, and activism.

Christian Ortiz was born in Mexico but has lived in Chicago for most of his life, where he now works as an artist and educator. Christian received his BFA in fiber studies and BSED in art education from Northern Illinois University, and his MFA in fiber and material studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Christian uses fiber processes to explore themes around immigrant labor, migration, and displacement by connecting it to the immigrant labor experiences of his family and his own labor as an artist. In his work he considers how his family’s personal experiences are indicative of the greater narrative of many immigrant communities, and the fragile nature of home in light of the challenges they face as immigrants.

Rachel Wallis is an activist who uses art in her organizing work, and an artist who engages in issues of racial and social justice. A primarily self-taught textile artist, her work spans the divide between fine art and craft.  Rachel draws from the rich history of quilting to create community quilting projects that tackle complex subjects, including the legacy of violence by the Chicago Police Department, the impact of incarceration on families, or the relationship between the global slave trade and the textile industry. She completed a MA in Art and Social Engagement at Moore College of Art and Design, and has taught at the School of the Art Institute, The Hyde Park Art Center, the Columbus Cultural Art Center, Cook County Jail, and the Coffee Creek Women’s Corrections Center. She has served as artist in residence at Nichols Tower in Homan Square, and at the Studio in the Woods in New Orleans, LA.

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