Bonnie Peterson

  • Oil Can Graphs, ea 8x30" Embroidery on silk
  • Santa Cruz C Quadrangle, 27 x 21
  • 26x38", Embroidery on silk * velvet
  • 50x52", Embroidery on silk & velvet
  • Drought, 38 h x 55 w, Embroidery on silk with details of California's "500 year drought"
  • Pt Reyes National Seashore, 17 x 24"
  • Days of Lead (Pb), 50 x 50 Embroidery on silk and velvet chronicles significant events during the first 1,000 days of toxic Lead (Pb) in Flint, Michigan's water supply, and environmental details about Lead (Pb).
  • Drakes Bay Quadrangle, 27 x 23
  • Drone Shadow, 52 x 48", Embroidery on silk & velvet
  • On the Nature of Fire, 65" H x 85" W Embroidery on silk, velvet. Fires of Change: the art of fire science is an artist/scientist project that explores how fire as an ecosystem process is impacted by climate change and societal development.
  • detail of On the Nature of Fire
  • Mono Lake, Brewer & the Public Trust, 43" H x 50" W Embroidery on silk of William Brewer's 1863 journal describing Mono Lake, the 1983 California Supreme Court decision, and prediversion, target and current lake levels.
  • Ocean Heat, 38 h x 41 w, Embroidery on silk showing heat in the top 700 meters of the ocean
  • Turning Green , 32" L x 52" W Embroidery on silk, velvet and brocade explans data about the melting of Greenland's glaciers.
  • Anthropocene, 23" H x 27" W, Embroidery on silk & velvet. CO2 in Earth's atmosphere.
  • Hetch Hetchy 1893, 40 H x 54 W, Embroidery on silk. Map Case B in the Geology Library at the University of California Berkeley holds a unique pre-dam map of Hetch Hetchy Valley surveyed between 1893-1909 with a contour interval of 100 ft.
  • Ice Phenology, 12" H x 28" W Embroidery on silk, and velvet
  • Kora (Pilgrimage), 68" H x 70" W Embroidery and transfers on velvet, silk and brocade.
  • Phantom Ranch Quadrangle, 27" H x 22" W Collage on paper; transfers, silk, pen and stitching on a USGS, 7.5 minute topographic map.
  • Permafrost Distribution, 16 x 16 x 1 Embroidery on silk shows the location of arctic permafrost and describes some of its characteristics.
  • Glacier Survey, 40" H x 46" W Embroidery and heat transfers of the Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park. Quotes by John Muir and Israel Russell
  • Accelerating Antarctica, 35" L x 41" W Embroidery on silk, velvet and brocade explains the melting Antarctic ice sheets using text and data.
  • Muir Trail: Lakes, Peaks and Passes, 72" H x 84" W, (detail) Heat transfers of Sierra maps, painted and embroidered with trail notes from backpacking trip, photographs on satin, silk, brocade and velvet, stitched. The borders are embroidered with John Muir's descriptions of the high Sierra from the late 19th and early 20th century
  • Hetch Hetchy Valley, 40"H x 48"W Heat transfers of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir drainage maps, stitching, and photographs of the history of the dam, on satin, silk, sheers and velvet. The borders are embroidered with descriptions of Hetch Hetchy Valley by John Muir and Robert Price from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and facts about the O'Shaughnessy Dam
  • War Graph, 58"H x 70"W Embroidery and heat transfers on velvet, brocade and silk. Graph of Iraq civilian and US military deaths by year, surrounded by names of war casualties and incidents
  • Convoy to Sheberghan, 50"H x 56"W Heat transfers and embroidery on satin, silk, velvet and brocade, stitched. A December 2001 massacre of POWs in Afghanistan reported by documentary film maker Jamie Doran in "Convoy of Death," and other journalists, is embroidered on the velvet and brocades
  • Escalante Quadrangle, 27 h x 22 w, Collage on paper; transfers, silk, pen and stitching on a USGS, 7.5 minute topographic map.
  • Wedding Party Massacre, 40"H x 60-83"W, Embroidery with hand and machine stitching on a satin wedding skirt with sheer fabric and netting. The skirt and inner netting was smashed under the machine's presser foot during the process, creating a flattened skirt. When viewed against a light source, the folds and multiple skirt layers are visible. The back is covered with sheer fabrics so the bobbin stitching is visible from the back. It is hand quilted. It can be installed against a wall or suspended from the ceiling in the middle of a room. The text is from a May 2004 incident in which 45-47 civilians were killed at a wedding party in western Iraq. (Text used with permission of The Guardian of London.)
  • Bright Angel Quad, 27 h x 22 w, Annotated topographic map
  • Of Bogs & Benthos, 52" H x 72" W Lake chemistry explained with embroidery & transfers on satin, silk, velvet and brocade
  • Lake Superior Ice Cover, 16 x 16 x 1 Higher air temperatures are leading to increases in Lake Superior's surface water temperatures and to less ice formation on the lake. This embroidery details some of the physics and consequences to declining ice formation.

Artist Statement
The urgency of climate change motivates my artwork. I use embroidery to examine geophysical climate issues with the goal of promoting a fresh opportunity to consider climate and ethical questions. I stitch numerical graphs and text on silk and velvet fabrics. I annotate topographic maps with a labyrinth of climate variables at various future temperature and emission scenarios.

I design simple explanations for the important principles and difficult modeling scenarios in environmental science, and I use these in my work. Published scientific research and data are the foundations for each artwork. I examine and translate the abstract scientific data from the World Meteorological Organization, NOAA, NASA, & the European Environment Agency, to inspire thought for the future and to challenge people with and without a scientific background to consider the math and science of climate change. I investigate data collected by earth instruments such as satellites and ocean floats, as well as modeling from climate proxy data such as ice cores. A lengthy research and development phase is the foundation for my work.

My recent environmental work was launched by artist-scientist projects. Some of the exciting projects were with the University of Wisconsin (Limnology, biology and climate change), National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research program (lake chemistry, invasive species, and societal practices), Yosemite National Park (glaciology), Northern Arizona University (Fire ecology at the intersection of extreme fires and societal change), University of Arizona (Dendrochronology) and the NASA GRACE satellite program (mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets).

I hope to communicate the importance of the consequences of warming and an understanding of the dynamic nature of warming.

onnie Peterson is a visual artist investigating environmental and social issues using embroidery and maps. Peterson’s personal and political subjects have followed the trajectory of her life experiences from family and human rights issues to outdoor adventures and environmental science. Recent collaborations with scientists on concepts in fire ecology, atmospheric science, permafrost and other geosciences motivate her work. Peterson has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in the US and abroad including the Museum of American Folk Art, Museum of Design Atlanta, Fresno Art Museum, Yosemite Museum, Notebaert Museum Chicago, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art-Chicago, Berlin Science Week, and Art/NaturSci Pavilion Venice. She is a two-time recipient of Artist Fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council & two Artist Finalist awards, a grant from the Michigan Arts & Culture Council, the Puffin Foundation Ltd, the Illinois Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and other honors. Peterson had four National Park artist residencies. Her work is in public and private collections including the Museum of Art & Design NYC. She has a BS from the University of Illinois-Urbana and an MBA from DePaul University.

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  • Artist Info

    • Houghton, MI
      US - East
    • 6306735530

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