Rachel Davis at the Half-Way Point

(Rachel Davis, is officially half way through her residency for the Lillstreet Textiles Department! Here are some of her thoughts about the past six months and a little look into what she’s been working on.)

Pollen, Leaves, Seeds and Trees

There are many wonderful upsides to being an Artist-in-Residence at Lillstreet Art Center (LAC). In addition to having 24-hour access to the silkscreen and sewing studios, which includes space to create, display and store my work, I can take classes for free at LAC in any department. Though I have yet to take any classes outside of the Textiles department, I have had a full schedule taking classes in sewing, dye and print techniques. The faculty are thoughtful, talented professionals from diverse backgrounds and the ongoing dialogue with this community has contributed to my growth as an artist.

I’ve spent the past six months thinking of my time as an artist-in-residence in the Textiles department as very similar to traveling abroad. I’m a bit out of my comfort zone, and the languages related to the media and methods are different from what I am used to. Sometimes I act like I know where I am and sometimes I really do know where I am. 

I began my studio work creating leaf-shaped quilts and playing with the formal aspects of the top and underside surfaces of leaves. I am interested in galls that form on leaves and the differences in their color and texture.

Sewing instructor Nico Gardner introduced me to The Art of Manipulating Fabric written by Colette Wolff. Though I have barely scratched the surface of mastering these sewing skills I was taken with the black and white photos that described completed pleats, godets, puffs, flounce and smocking and wondered how I can incorporate these forms and techniques into the textile pieces I am creating. I began sewing on large-scale, full sheets and then had to step back and try some more modest pieces, so that I could better see my progress

My exploration of dye techniques on cotton/silk blends, mostly scarves, use dye to draw and paint textures and patterns to work out compositions for larger pieces.  I’ve explored printing thinned dye on wet fabric and printing from carved styrofoam blocks to create surface design patterns.

These new surface design patterns into are incorporated into three-dimensional objects. The designs are cut and sewn to create re-imagined pollen grains. 

I have taken two classes with LAC faculty Akemi Cohn, Indigo dye with Katazome and Indigo dye and Boro stitching. Akemi is an excellent instructor and I have learned both about the historical and cultural aspects of indigo as well as the artistic processes. One of the joys of taking Akemi’s courses is having a front row seat to the incredible samples and completed pieces she shares with her students. 

When I travel abroad I am constantly noticing similarities and differences while I navigate a new place: the palette, the architecture, texture, smells and sounds. I can’t help but feel humbled by what I don’t know. In this new terrain of textiles, I am struck often by all I have learned in such a short amount of time.

The other day, while I was salivating over textiles at Oak Fabrics, the owner shared the name of the designer of these textiles, Kaffe Fassett. I had never heard of Fassett. The shot cotton textiles that I am especially smitten with, combine two different colored threads and have a depth and richness that reminds me of painted surfaces. I plan to use these fabrics as color fields in future quilts.

(Want to take a class with Rachel? Our spring session is now LIVE on the web! And make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with all the department happenings!) 

Open Studio Closure! Sat, Feb 17

Please be advised of the following changes to our Open Studio schedule:

  • There will be no Open Studio in the print room on Saturday, February 17th because of a private event. Open Studio in the sewing room will continue as planned. 

We apologize for any inconvenience!

Winter Session II: Class and Open Studio Schedule

Hello All and happy Winter Session II!

Here is our new class and open studio schedule which goes into effect on Monday, February 12th.

**And just a quick reminder: please make sure to check back here before heading into open studio! There are frequently workshops and events which cut into previously scheduled open studio times and we would hate for you to get all the way to the studio and be turned away! We do our best to post closures in the classrooms and online. Check first so you don’t end up disappointed!**

See you in the studio!

Upcoming Open Studio Closures

Hello All!

Please be advised of the following changes to our Open Studio schedule:


  • Open Studio will be closed on Sunday, February 4th from 1-5pm because of a workshop scheduled in the print room.


  • There will be no Open Studio in the print room on Saturday, February 10th because of a prescheduled workshop. Open Studio in the sewing room will continue as planned.


We apologize for any inconvenience!

Fabric is Paint with Visiting Artist Pam Collins

So, maybe you’re wondering exactly what is this class that is going to happen on Sunday, December 3?  Yes, the class entitled “Fabric is Paint”.

I am Pam Collins, the artist who will traveling from Central Minnesota to teach the class. In this very fun class you will cut or tear fabric and use zippers and other notions to create a landscape, sunset, waterscape or a floral painting.  You will work on a stretched canvas measuring approximately 11″ x 16″.  The only tools you will likely use are scissors and glue, a few straight pins and maybe tweezers. 

We will talk about designing your art piece, and I’ll demonstrate how the process works.  The tricky part of this medium is to look at old corduroy and upholstery fabric and think of it as rocks, mountains and even trees.  It’s fun to explore how fabric can take on a new purpose and be recycled in an imaginative way.  You’ll discover how placing fabric in a certain location on your canvas, can help to give depth and perspective to your painting.  You will glue each piece of fabric or notion onto the canvas and build on to what has already been glued down. 

The pictures you see are examples of past students work.

I also hope you’ll take a moment to look at my one page website to see some of my work in fabric.  I have been teaching for a number of years, although not always textiles.  I also work in mosaics and watercolor. I find it extremely satisfying to help students discover a new way to look at things and learn this unique medium.  I hope you will be excited to join me on Sunday, December 3rd to learn this simple yet challenging medium.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact me  at pam@PamCollinsArt.com.

I look forward to meeting you! 

Welcome Rachel Davis, New Textiles Department Artist in Residence!

Rachel Davis, Artist-in-Residence

Nearly two months have passed since I began my artist-in-residence in the Textiles department. In that time, I’ve been making leaf inspired forms with cloth: quilting, cutting, and using embroidery to embellish these new pieces. I focus on color and pattern when combining textiles, dyeing fabrics when necessary. I enjoy this new, and relatively large-scale since I am using mostly cotton sheets as raw material. These new pieces are large fabric sketches that I will later refine, edit, and print on.

In addition, I am printing my botanical illustrations and stockpiling imagery for later use. I think of this new collection of images as raw material to use with the quilted pieces and to experiment with dye and color printing techniques.



I am delighted to be a part of this vibrant community and to have the gift of time and space to create new work. I am in the studio Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, stop by and visit!

-Rachel Davis

Instagram: @art_bumble


Fall Session II Class and Open Studio Schedule

Hello lovely Textiles Department community members! Monday, October 16th is the first day of Fall Session II. Here’s the class and open studio schedule. Please remember that open studio is subject to change: especially during the first week of classes! Make sure to double check here before heading into the studio. See you soon!


Fall Session I: Class and Open Studio Schedule

Hello All!

I hope everyone is enjoying the first week of Fall session! Open studio will open on Monday, September 18th. Here’s the class and open studio schedule so you can start planning your projects!

See you in the studio,


***EDIT 9/29/17: Lillstreet recently shifted webhosts and the transition seems to have effected how images are loaded onto the blog. We’re working to correct this issue; thanks for your patience!***

Fall SI Open Studio Schedule 9.14