February 10, 2017

New Exhibition, Surface Forms, Highlights The Fabric Workshop and Museum's Continued Commitment to Creative Expression and Arts Education
For the PDF version, click here
For the link to the exhibition page, click here
For Immediate Release: February 10, 2017
Press Contact: pr@fabricworkshopandmuseum.org 

New Exhibition, Surface Forms, Highlights The Fabric Workshop and Museum's

Continued Commitment to Creative Expression and Arts Education


Surface Forms Left: Magnus Peterson Horner, Nature, Fall 2014 High School Apprentice. Right: Todd Stong, Night Flowers, Spring 2016 Post-Graduate Apprentice. Photo credits: Carlos Avendaño.


Philadelphia, PA—This spring, The Fabric Workshop and Museum presents Surface Forms, an exhibition showcasing silkscreened yardage designs created through the Museum’s acclaimed Apprentice Training Program. The program, established at the organization’s founding in 1977, is a vital part of FWM’s continued educational commitment. 

Surface Forms, on view through June 25, includes a selection of printed textiles made during the past three years of the program, and demonstrates the variety of possibilities and the expressive qualities of the medium. The exhibiton presents dozens of original designs ranging in color, style, and subject matter, alongside swatch books from the Museum’s archive and videos that capture the screen-printing process. 

Over 1,600 local high school students and college, graduate, and post-graduate students from the United States and abroad have participated in the program since its inception. During their time at FWM, the artists explore the medium of screen-printing on fabric to expand their studio practice or prepare for future careers as designers. 

“The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s Apprentice Training Program provides young and emerging artists with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a professional studio as they develop their work,” says Susan Talbott, FWM’s Executive Director. “Apprentices benefit from guidance by our staff and first-hand experience assisting artists-in-residence in the creation of new work. In turn, their participation brings a vibrancy to the studio culture at FWM.” 

With the show marking the beginning of FWM’s 40th anniversary year, Talbott notes, “Surface Forms is the perfect opportunity to highlight the endless creativity that apprentices bring to our studios. Textiles are central to The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s identity and while the organization has expanded beyond screen-printing in its projects, Surface Forms demonstrates that the medium is still ever-present in our studios.” 

During their 12 weeks at FWM, apprentices have the opportunity to learn many skills, including how to create a repeat design, mix colors with textile ink, and print their own one-color and three-color yardages with the support of FWM’s master printers. Students also receive portfolio and career guidance from artists and studio staff to provide a long-term benefit beyond their time at the organization. 

“Hand screen-printing is an art form as well as an industrial skill, and the program is designed to provide students with new tools for artistic expression and self-empowerment,” says Christina Roberts, Director of Education. “The Apprentice Training Program offers an opportunity rarely available to students in their schools. Our program alumni have gone on to a number of different careers, but we continuously hear how their time at FWM was a pivotal experience in the development of their creativity and critical thinking skills.” 

FWM will celebrate Surface Forms and Object Temporarily Removed, a new project by current artist-in-residence Lenka Clayton, with a public reception on Friday, March 17, 6:00–8:00pm. 

In addition to the exhibitions on view in the galleries, FWM offers free guided tours of the studios daily where visitors can meet apprentices as they develop their silkscreen designs and learn how artists-in-residence collaborate with FWM’s studio staff to create new work.  


About The Fabric Workshop and Museum 

The Fabric Workshop and Museum was founded in 1977 to stimulate experimentation among leading contemporary artists and to share the process of creating works of art with the public. Providing studio facilities, equipment, and expert technicians, FWM originally invited artists to experiment with fabric, and later with a wide range of innovative materials and media, and also served as an education center for Philadelphia’s youth who, as printing apprentices, learned technical and vocational skills along with approaches to creative expression. 

Today, FWM is recognized as an internationally acclaimed contemporary art museum and is the only institution in the United States devoted to creating work in new materials and new media in collaboration with artists coming from diverse artistic backgrounds—including sculpture, installation, video, painting, ceramics, and architecture. Research, construction, and fabrication occur on-site in studios that are open to the public, providing visitors with the opportunity to see artwork from conception to completion. FWM’s permanent collection includes complete works of art as well as material research, samples, prototypes, and photography and video of artists making and speaking about their work. FWM seeks to bring this spirit of artistic investigation and discovery to the wider public and area students, to ensure and broaden their access to art, and to advance the role of art as a catalyst for innovation and social connection. 

For more information, or to request images, contact pr@fabricworkshopandmuseum.org.