Vermont Arts Council

Études: The Weavings of Bhakti Ziek

Weavings on Walls

Weavings by Bhakti Ziek, a resident of Randolph, are hanging in the Council’s Spotlight Gallery through the end of December. In “Études,” Ziek presents work investigating internal landscapes of the mind and emotion, and describes them as “connecting to the outer world and its terrain but not referential to any specific time or place.”

Letters floating in atmospheric ground are one of the components of her work. Floating letters became a prominent element in the permanent work, “Stardust,” installed at Princeton University in March, 2014. That work has six sixteen foot panels. Many of the ideas and insights for that work grew out of the weavings on display now. “These smaller weavings are finished pieces in their own right,” says Ziek, “and simultaneously, studies for larger works.”

Bhakti Looking OnAcross the Spectrum

Ziek is a former college professor, and co-author of two books–one on backstrap weaving and one on digital jacquard weaving. They represent two ends of the spectrum of the technology of weaving. She likes to point out that all weaving is based on the simple principle that either the warp (the vertical threads on the loom) is up or the warp is down; and from these two choices grows an infinite possibility of imagery. She also likes to mention that she knows many people think of weaving as an archaic knowledge, but the binary language of weave structure inspired everyday computer code.

Ziek says she often imbeds ideas from historical textiles in her work. She identifies with the traditions of narrative textiles that have informed practice for almost two thousand years, but appreciates current technology. Ziek weaves by hand, throwing the shuttle pick by pick, just as the weavers in the 15th century Safavid and Ottoman workshops did, but her loom is also connected to a computer and an air compressor. “It is sort of like having one foot in the past and one foot in the present,” she says.

Ziek workSee the Work

“Études: the weavings of Bhakti Ziek,” can be seen in our Spotlight Gallery Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 from November 3 through December 30, 2014. Bhakti will be here with her work during the Montpelier ArtWalk December 5 from 4-7 p.m.

Photo album

To learn more about the artist, visit