The Sensual Genius of Gretchen Elsner

I would like to introduce you to a friend, Gretchen Elsner, who has brought me so much delight and joy in the year I have known her. She is quite possibly the most brilliant and original person I have had the pleasure of associating with. The following text comes from her website, which I insist you must visit, as it comes close to capturing the energy and unique vision of her work.

"Gretchen Elsner is an American artist and designer currently living and working on a small island on the western coast of Canada. She is a performing artist in presentation of her book works, and has traveled widely across North America giving theatrical readings and giving her audiences encounters with the universes contained in her clothing, costumes and book arts.

She has served as the fashion director of The Ayden Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Vancouver, and a researcher at Simon Fraser University working in the development of electronically active textiles and "soft-wear" able arts and garments. Her ready to wear recycled clothing pieces are each distinct and unique, signified by her hand knitted labels."

"She believes our clothing is an intimate language, and the clothing work is meant to engender enjoyment of the perfection of the nakedness of the body inside. We need one another, our bodies and our minds do, but there is also a part of ourselves that needs solitude, and our arts in many cases allow us to interact with our sensual, ephemeral selves so personally as to show us the way into such alone-ness as we cannot find when we are isolated."

"To be arrested before a painting, to be naked inside ones clothes, to have the neck relax and disappear into the darkness of the theater or the printed word with so many others all around, ahead and behind, to touch the something, or to feel the bass notes through the floor or walls, to be lead on a journey or an encounter, to surrender and teach or be taught; these experiences are the richest foods of our highest intimate selves, engendered through our arts."

"Sometimes these experiences live on nothing but air, but sometimes live with a fiercer passion for the quiet that appreciation and creation of our arts instill in us as we see and experience through the mind's eye of our fellows, and as we are beside ourselves in our own inspiration, in our own ways, moments in time: mind at large, roaming, free."

Here is Gretchen in her home studio. I am looking forward to sharing my studio with her on the weekend of November 16-18 as we take part in the Eastside Culture Crawl and of course, Swap-O-Rama-Rama!


  1. Anonymous9:48 AM

    thank you so much for this, a link i am surely going to add to my site, and she even makes quilts!... fabulous...


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