Bonnie Meltzer’s art-making, activism, community building and gardening are linked together like crochet; one thread looping with itself creating an interlocking life-fabric. Born in New Jersey, Meltzer moved to Seattle to get an MFA at the University of Washington. There, she found her medium, her social commentary voice, and installation as a format. As a crochet sculpture pioneer Meltzer expresses complex and timely social and environmental issues through crocheted & found object sculptures with both humor and beauty. “Tikkun Olam – Mending the Social Fabric has moved me to the edge of my comfort zone — using recycled fabric instead of computer parts, sewing instead of crocheting and working really big”, says Meltzer. Environmental topics, especially coal, air quality and land use dominated her work in the last decade. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Northwest and beyond (Maryhill Museum, Hallie Ford Museum, Columbia Center for the Arts); in private and public collections (The National Science Foundation, University of Washington, Baylor University Mandy Rosenberg Artist Book Collection, Portland Community Music Center, the City of Portland). Her sculpture is in many fiber art books and is on the covers of “The Fine Art of Crochet” and “Artistry in Fiber: Sculpture”. Oregon Public Broadcasting produced a video about Meltzer and her “No Coal” art installation at Blackfish Gallery for their 2013 “Voices of Coal” series.
Teaching is integral to Meltzer’s art practice. To build community and provide an intense creative experience, she conducts collaborative crochet workshops where students must work closely together to grow a sculpture. During Tikkun Olam – Mending the Social Fabric her teaching skills will help visitors mend the parachute, the symbolic social fabric.
Meltzer lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon in a cottage with an outbuilding studio in the yard. Both are surrounded by an enormous organic vegetable garden.