Q&A with Rowland Ricketts, who is aiming to help this nation define itself
Rowland Ricketts, professor of studio art in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, studies 19th century American textiles and practices historical textile creation techniques. He joins the IUPAH fellowship to discover the ideas of American identity through textiles.
Question: What are your career goals?
Answer: My most immediate goal is to bring my work to a next-level conversation both within and beyond the world of craft. I intend to do this not by denying the materiality or craft-based nature of the work, but rather by upholding those very elements to create work that engages in current, timely conversations relevant in the art world and beyond.
Q: What is your greatest achievement as a scholar?
A: Having my work included in significant exhibitions such as the Renwick Biennial at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery (2020) and Fabric of a Nation at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (2021) are some of my greatest achievements.
Q: What are your research interests?
A: My research interests include 19th century American textiles and history as well as historical textile techniques and processes, specifically relating to indigo.
Q: What do you see as the importance of this fellowship and related project?
A: I believe that this fellowship will enable me to critically question historical and contemporary ideas of American identity and the process of historicization through the creation of a series of woven, faded and selected unraveled textiles informed by the patriotic imagery found in 19th century American coverlets. I believe that this is timely work as we continue to struggle to define ourselves as a nation.