Gallery reception held for Irving, Koskenmaki at the Bonifas

January 19, 2018  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

A reception was held for the gallery shows "Michigan’s Endangered Wildflowers" and "Configurations" was held in the Powers Gallery.


Michigan’s Endangered Wildflowers
First and foremost, I am a weaver and I speak in yarn and color. Speaking in this language of fiber can be a challenging endeavor, but the fiber speaks to me too. This current series of woven panels, so named, is “A Weaver's Journal of Endangered Wildflowers”.

Like a botanist or naturalist who is out in the field collecting specimens, taking photos, and making quick sketches in their journal, I am mimicking those actions. This series is like a journey, connecting me to my roots of botanical studies and love of plants and wildflowers. I have accepted the challenge: turning woven yarn into soil, forest litter, plants and leaves.

Concerned for the future of all threatened species, Michigan’s Wildflowers are near and dear to me. Michigan has many unique habitats and is home to many endangered and special species of plants. This woven series of Michigan’s Endangered Wildflowers will bring attention to their threatened and sometimes endangered status.

This series is a reflection of my interests, travels and research in the botanical world of Michigan. With this field guide of woven panels, I hope to bring attention to Michigan's many Wildflowers and those that we are in danger of losing.

-Carol Irving

I want to tell you what my work is about. Everything I do (in the studio) is related to my life and it is my work that has been showing me what that is all about.

My life has been a struggle with ups and downs and life’s changes.

My son was hospitalized and almost died. It was a turning point for him. It sounds like he is coming back to himself and I am grateful. He is a gifted engineer and in demand, and life looks full of hope.

Before heart surgery, my husband, Scott was dying. I stayed with him for three weeks while the doctors worked to get him well enough to operate. They sent him home, broken but healing slowly.

Trees have always been my refuge; I walk in them every day with my dog. I have just illustrated a book by Vic Foerster, called Hidden in the Trees. I am not surprised that the abstractions are finding their way back to trees as metaphors. They are about relationships, about struggle and pain and healing.

I didn’t realize at first when I started those drawings that they were about the closeness to death and the fight to stay alive. They have been keeping me alive as well! I am not sure what the final work will look like.

-Joyce Koskenmaki


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