This felt piece was inspired by the Celtic origins of plaid as a pattern. The interlacing of colors is examined at a variety of scales in order to evoke the mountains and sea of the British Isles as viewed through a crofters window, the rhythm of the beating of the loom echoed in the rhythm of the pattern.

Hustvedt, G. (2012) The History of Plaid. 2012 International Federation for Home Economics World Congress Textile Design Exhibit, Melbourne, Australia, July, 2012.



Our installation uses four sunbonnets to contrast ecological and agricultural interpretations of homesteading, while narrating the role of women homesteaders in establishing the primacy of agriculture on the Great Plains. We digitally designed and printed textiles with contemporary images of ecology-biological, geographic, geological, chemical and human-to demonstrate our ability to visualize prairie ecology as a mosaic. We derived hand-printed patterns superimposed over the mosaics from historical images of agricultural implements-fences, plows and cow-bones/fertilizer-to represent homesteaders stitching together their claims while unraveling the prairie mosaic. The bonnet form highlights women’s part in this activity. Historically, the prairie was linked to women through the descriptors such as virgin, barren and fertile. The bonnet proetcted women from the elements and thus identified them as vulnerable. Women homesteaders, like the priarie, often suffered because of agricultural expansion-claimed by their husbands, fenced off from their origins, and risking illness and death from childbirth. However, by linking the bonnet form to images of farm implements, we link the creative labor of women to the creative labor of men. In this work of art by women descended from homesteaders, women bear equally the laurels for the birth of agriculture and the burden of its birth pains.

Hustvedt, G. and Melis, R. (2007) Fence, Plow, Fertilize: Exploring the Transformation of Prairie and Family Life. American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Juried Showcase and Exhibition, June 21-24, 2007, Reno, NV.

Hustvedt, G. and Melis, R. (2007) Claim, Fence, Plow, Fertilize: Relating women homesteaders to ecology and agriculture through collaborative art. Presented at Center for Great Plains Studies’ 33rd Interdisciplinary Symposium; Lincoln, NE, May, 2007.

Hustvedt, G. and Melis, R. (2006) Fence, Plow, Fertilize. Collaborative works in “Hope Clutch” (Rachel Melis, curator) Isaac Lincoln Gallery, Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD, Sep 11-Oct 27, 2006



Sharing the Memories

Like human, families in the animal kingdom teach and share with their young.  This mother protects her young from the rising wind while sharing a lifetime of experience the calf will need for the future, tying it to the conference theme of Embracing and Managing Change.  Inspired by the haunting dignity of the African elephant, this 23” x 14” piece was made by felting dyed wool.  The felting process, done by hand with both water and needles, included the half-felting technique.  This technique, where pieces are felting separately for a brief period (half-felted) and then combined into one piece, allowed for a three dimensional quality to an otherwise flat piece.  Intended for display on a wall, the rippled texture of the surface is meant to evoke the body of the elephant.  Close inspection of the piece reveals increasing depth of color and texture.

Hustvedt, G. (2013) Sharing the Memories. American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Juried Showcase and Exhibition, June 24-27, 2013, Houston, TX.