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Catching Up with Bonnie Meltzer, Artist Extraordinaire

Longtime Portland Oregon artist, Bonnie Meltzer, uses artmaking as a form of activism. With several degrees in art. Bonnie has been an independent artist since 1971! Those of you familiar with Bonnie and her art know that she "creates crochet and fabric artworks about timely issues that use textiles as a metaphor."

Bonnie Meltzer

Her current work is no exception! Entitled Exquisite Gorge II, this exhibit is currently at the Maryhill Museum in Goldendale Washington overlooking the Columbia River. Hurry: it ends September 10, 2022! 

Exquisite Gorge II is a freestanding sculpture by eleven fiber artists and is joined together to make a portrait of the river. "The installation consists of crocheted, fabricated, and collaged representations of wind turbines and pylons towering over the river, lined by tumbleweed. The towers command visual attention, directing our focus to power lines feeding our incessant demand for electricity.

It is surely no coincidence that electric power and art have often been metaphorically entwined. Most of us cannot claim to fully understand art and electricity’s unpredictable ways, their danger, their ability to illuminate and, yes, to electrify. Clearly they are about transformation, but the details remain a mystery to most." Friderike Heuer, Oregon Arts Watch 

The artists


Another monumental artistic endeavor, originating from Bonnie's heart, Tikkun Olam-Mending the Social Fabric, ran from November 2021 through January 2022 at the Jewish Museum & Center for Holocaust Education in Portland. 

Tikkun Olam: Mending the Social Fabric

The Jewish term for "mending" is so appropriate for this interactive exhibition which embodies the Jewish principal-Tikkun Olam-"repair the world."

The exhibit finalized

For months and months, Bonnie collected handkerchiefs with deep sentimental value to the contributors and swatches of fabric from all corners of the world. She taught sewing workshops; and when the difficulty of threading a needle became evident, she prepared them for her volunteers!

Embroidered handkerchiefs and embroidery within hoops

"Central to this site-specific exhibition is a large-scale vintage parachute encircled with text-embroidered handkerchiefs; phrases and quotes like “Unweave Racism Now” speak to Meltzer’s primary themes. On the wall behind the parachute are textiles from across the globe. This interactive exhibition embodies the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam, meaning “repair the world.” The parachute, a metaphor for safety, features rips and tears that are meant to be repaired by visitors who join the artist to mend the damage over the course of the show.

As the artist states, “The very act of gathering together as a community to sew on a giant parachute will help mend the isolation and pain so many have felt in the last year.” Meltzer embraces action, hope and healing in this timely art piece." Preview Sept/Oct 2022

Parachute & Handkerchiefs


This photo that Bonnie sent to me inspired me to write this blog about here work:

Bonnie's talented hands doing embroidery work on Tikkan Olam and a bead-crochet bracelet I made for her years ago. She told me she "wore the bracelet every day of the progress of the exhibit. Such an honor for me!

To enjoy more of Bonnie's awesome and life-long creations of art: the whimsy, the messages, the inspiration; visit her on Facebook or her website.



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