Bonnie Peterson


Artist Statement

I use embroidery to investigate cultural and environmental issues. Mixing a variety of source materials such as scientific data and early explorer’s journals, I stitch words and phrases on velvet and silk fabrics to make large narrative wall hangings. My recent projects examine geophysical climate issues. Instigated by a series of collaborations with scientists, I began to look for simple explanations for some of the important principles in climate and environmental science to use in my projects. The artist/scientist interactions are invaluable for interpreting and extracting key concepts and clarifying their context and relevance.

Wilderness experiences inform my work. Lengthy backpacking trips are significant to integrating the impacts of wilderness, contemporary society and historical context into my artistic process. Using Victorian crazy quilts and primitive samplers as a point of departure, my artwork provides a novel opportunity for the consideration of current events and ethical questions.



Bonnie Peterson has received four individual artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a grant from the Illinois Committee, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and other awards. She was an Artist-In-Residence at Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Isle Royale, and Crater Lake National Parks. Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, the National Park Service, private collections, and she has an extensive exhibition record. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana and an MBA from DePaul University. Click here for a 5 minute interview (WTTW, Chicago Public Broadcasting, 2009).
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5 min WTTW-Chicago Interview   Pecha Kucha at Martyrs Chicago