Ellen Kochansky | Counterpane
Ellen Kochansky

born 1947
Resides in Pickens, South Carolina

Biography Statement
Ellen Kochansky received her BFA from Syracuse University in 1969 in Costume Design and Textiles. She has been a Trustee of the American Crafts Council, a boardmember of American Craft Enterprises and a member of the Association of Women Professionals.

Among the shows where she was represented: "Southern Quilts: A New View," "Portrait of Southern Artists" (1984, in Rome), and "Quilting: New Images of an Old Tradition" at Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, in 1985. Her work is in the permanent collections of Emory University, in Atlanta and the Sawtooth Center for Visual Design, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


The work that I do is meant... for people to sleep under....

VIDEO (1.8 MB) || AUDIO (200K)

I am a collector and admirer of scraps. The ghosts of the past that reside in worn clothing, the subconscious memories we all have of upholstery, the tides of taste in surface design that allow a fabric to evoke a decade...these references tie us together through the most universal of man- and woman-made materials.

My work deals in the blending of fragments. The eye, trained by looking at nature, has a wonderful ability to make sense of complexity and order of chaos. Using the order of rhythmical strips against the chaos of surfaces loaded with texture, I watch what happens to this dual, picket-fence image through the manipulation of color and value. Gluttony for color, a pure love of cloth, and the bold scale fostered in theatre design dominate my hand and eye. My collages relish the entire range and variety of textiles, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Recent works reflect my ongoing fascination with window images. Our garden and rural property are constant sources of image and color, providing a daily awareness of the contrast between the tiny and immediate and the vastly distant. The frames and architectural window references clarify abstract landscapes, and provide a metaphor for understanding and perspective. Group portraits have also intrigues me, being like photographic quilts, capturing moments. Graphs and charts also clarify information, and show progress over time (another form of 'window').

Good work returns inspiration to the artist who makes it, as well as to the audience, and it builds on and grows beyond its sources. My own exploration of textiles has led me through many techniques, both traditional and irreverent, and down both one-of-a-kind and production paths. These directions inform and energize each other, and the marketplace supports the best work in both of them."

Ronald E. Kent Jon Kuhn