For almost 50 years, Bhakti Ziek followed her thread all over the world – meeting other artists and making signature work.
“Sometimes I think my work [is conveying] nothing. Nothing at all. I am just an explorer seeing what there is to discover. On the other hand, I am a storyteller and many of my works are narrative and I have a lot of things I am saying with my work.”
Bhakti Ziek expresses herself through the art of weaving and manipulating contemporary fibers. She has lectured and taught workshops in The Netherlands, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada, as well as all over the United States. But what exactly is weaving, and what does the process involve? In Ziek’s words, “I am a weaver. I have worked on almost every type of loom from back strap looms to fully electronic jacquard looms. Each loom has its advantages and disadvantages. I don’t think one is better than another, but sometimes one is better for executing an idea than another. So I ask myself, what is the proper equipment to use to manifest my idea, and then I go there.”
Currently living in Randolph, Vermont, Ziek completes her work in her weaving studio and offers weaving tutorials. She has lived in the Green Mountain State since 2008 with her husband who is also an artist. The two moved from Tempe, Arizona, where Ziek was a visiting professor in the art department at Arizona State University. Ziek explained, “Before that we lived in New Mexico, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Maryland and we also traveled around the world in 1982 for 18 months. We call ourselves urban nomads.”
Having lived all over, Ziek truly recognizes the effect that living in New England, and particularly Vermont, has had on her work. Ziek jokes, “The lack of activities that I enjoyed in cities and colleges means that I have lots of uninterrupted time to work in my studio–so I have gotten a lot of weaving done since moving to Vermont.”
She adds, “Having lived in so many places, I understand that there is beauty everywhere.”
As for her work itself, she has a varied collection, all with different feels and aesthetics. Some of her exhibitions include Études, Stardust, Nomad Series, and Continuum Series, all with vibrant colors, intricate designs, and her impressively detailed hand-woven stitches.
Ziek’s more recent efforts include a show at BigTown Gallery called Lexicon. “Looking back at my work, I see that there is often a theme running through them that is referential to weaving itself. My weaving Florence Cross-Sections, made in 1997, has diagrams of the weave structures used to make that weaving as motifs in the weaving (that weaving is in the Lexicon exhibit).”
Ziek is currently on her way to Berkeley, California to begin a weaving collaboration. In addition, she will be co-teaching the Spring Concentration in weaving at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina with Tommye Scanlin, a tapestry weaver, from March 4-May 5, 2017.
Bhakti Ziek is a weaver and multi media artist living in Randolph Vermont. Her current exhibition Lexicon runs through November 24th, 2016 at the BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vermont.