APPALACHIAN CRAFT & CULTURE FELLOW: GERI FORKNER
Geri Forkner is a fiber artist working at the intersection of art and craft. Forkner was raised in east Tennessee and took her first weaving class at Arrowmont (then known as Pi Beta Phi Craft Workshop) in 1965. It was nearly 20 years later before she purchased her first loom while living in Atlanta, GA. In the following years, Forkner learned traditional weaving skills through guild workshops, conferences and classes at Georgia State University. She volunteered at the Tully Smith House and the Atlanta History Center to deepen her historical understanding of the craft, spin on a great wheel and weave traditional cloth on a barn loom. Forkner shared her love of the process as an elementary school art teacher in Atlanta and taught weaving and felting workshops for kids and adults after she returned to Tennessee in 2000.
Forkner’s interests are centered on traditional skills of weaving, spinning, natural dyeing, and felting. “I learned to knit, crochet, and sew growing up,” she said. “Now, in true Appalachian fashion, much of my work has a story to tell.” Forkner has exhibited her work as wearable fashion at professional shows and as installations organized annually at Rangsit University in Bangkok, Thailand. She exhibits and teaches fiber arts internationally to both children and adults, is the recipient of an Artists-in-the-Schools grant, and is the dynamic force behind Tennessee Presents Textiles, a wearable-art style show. A member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Forkner cherishes the old traditions and skills while using fibers in innovative ways.
She worked on multiple projects during her Appalachian Craft and Culture Fellowship. Forkner continued her “Daily Weaving” study; pushed the boundaries of weaving traditional nuno felting patterns; she developed a shadow project using weaving and knitting; and she was inspired by Arrowmont’s ‘Bone Yard’ collection of ceramic pots and created numerous sculptural felted items.
566 Randolph Fridley Rd.
Sweetwater, TN 37874