Midwest Symposium to Feature Mary Kelly


Our Midwest Symposium with the theme Art and Inspired Scholarship is scheduled for Thurs. May 19, 2011,  in Madison, Wisconsin.

The keynote speaker at this event is Mary B. Kelly, textile expert and artist, who will present a 7:30 p.m. lecture entitled Goddess. Women. Cloth: Inspired Ritual Textiles from Around the World. This evening lecture will feature slides and hands-on experience with the textiles.

Embroidered Goddess, Norway

Within folk cultures across the world, women make textiles, inspired by goddesses, then use them in rituals to honor their deities, contact spirits or protect their families and communities.

In some areas these traditions continue today. This presentation features an overview of the textiles in the context of history, rituals and religious beliefs. Kelly explores cultures worldwide: Siberia, China and the Far East, India, Central and South East Asia, Eastern, Northern and Central Europe, Greece and the Balkans, Africa and the Americas, sharing her extensive knowledge and research on local textile traditions.

Embroidered Goddess from Eastern Europe

Mary B. Kelly is Professor Emerita at Tompkins Cortland Community College, an affiliate of the State University of New York, and holds advanced degrees from Syracuse University and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has published numerous books and articles in the United States and abroad, notably in Folk Dress in Europe and Anatolia, ed. L. Welters (1999 ); Making and Using Ritual Cloth ( 2004 ); Goddess Embroideries of the Northlands ( 2009 ); Kaspaikka Muistiilina ( Memory Cloth); ed. L. Sappi (2010); and Goddesses in World Culture, ed. P. Monaghan (2010).

Kelly’s research has been supported by several Fulbright grants, and recent articles have appeared in such textile publications as PieceworkNeedle Arts,Bunad, and Vesterheim. She served as guest curator of the exhibition “Sacred Symbols, Ceremonial Cloth” at the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, IA (2009). She has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution and the Textile Museum, in Washington, DC, the Mingei Museum of Folk Art,The Czech and Slovak Museum, the Ukrainian Museum, and at Oslo University, Norway.

Kelly makes her home on Hilton Head Island, SC, where she teaches, exhibits and maintains a painting/weaving studio.  Learn more about her art and books at marykellystudio.

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