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Bonnie Schultz Platzer

Providence, RI

After serving two years with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa, from 1969 to 1971, I returned to New York City to take a range of classes in spinning, dyeing and weaving, inspired by all the textiles I had seen produced in Africa.  It wasn’t until I lived in Europe from 1988 to 1997 that I learned my great, great grandfather had come to Pennsylvania in 1871 from a small village in northeastern Germany that had been established to support local weavers. During the l980s, I studied Gobelin tapestry weaving techniques that enabled me to produce handwoven portraits of people I had encountered during my Peace Corps service, including Tuaregs in a market in Niger; an Algerian truck driver and his wife who welcomed me to their home for couscous after a trip across the Sahara Desert; men and women in a market in northern Togo; and a laughing Togolese child who entertained me mimicking local personalities. While living in Austria for nine years, I wove portraits of neighboring farmers.  When I returned to the United States in l997, I wove portraits of Rhode Islanders, such as a little girl at the Hope Street Farmers’ Market and a grandmother tressing her grandson’s hair on the porch of her Hope Street home.  After a second time serving in the Peace Corps from 2006 to 2008 in Morocco, I again wanted to capture moments shared with people I met in my rural community.  Because women in some southern Moroccan villages do not want their faces represented, I chose to weave a woman with head scarf carrying a basket of animal fodder she had collected one morning.  I also wove a young girl doing her homework with a TV remote by her side.  If the little girl stays in school, her life’s path may be far different than the woman hauling a basket of animal food.  I’m always wondering how life might change for the people in my tapestries.  In recent years, I wove  an Amish boy hanging clothes in an area of Pennsylvania where I grew up.  I also wove the image of a man plastering a stucco wall in Matera in southern Italy.  Using my photographs for inspiration, I weave portraits that I hope will raise questions for each viewer. There is a moment in each tapestry when it comes to life for me.  It may take 6 months to a year to finish a tapestry but that moment when it comes to life is why I look forward to my next project.


Highfield Hall and Gardens, Falmouth, Massachusetts

Block Island Airport Gallery, Rhode Island

RISCA Fellowship Exhibition, Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery, Newport, RI

Atrium Gallery at First Unitarian Church, Providence

Providence Art Club

Krause Gallery, Moses Brown School, Providence

Attleboro Museum

Hamilton House, Providence

Laurelmead, Adult Cooperative Living, Providence

United Nations Headquarters, Vienna, Austria

INOPERAbLE Gallery, Vienna

Studio Beate von Harten, Vienna

Argo Gallery, Vienna

Studio Semrad, Wolkersdorf, Austria

Wolkersdorf Castle, Austria

Austrian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada

American Women’s Club of the Taunus, Oberursel, Germany

Frankfurt International School, Germany

French Cultural Center, Nairobi, Kenya

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