Rachel Brumer

Rachel Brumer

Artist Statement

I have had three nonverbal careers.  My creative life began as a professional modern dancer.  I received a BFA from Mills College with an interdisciplinary degree.  After an additional degree I became an interpreter for American Sign Language, and now have been working as a visual artist for the past 18 years.  Dance may seem an unlikely form of training for the visual artist, but ideas in the two disciplines are handled in surprisingly similar ways. Working with performance luminaries like Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, Lucinda Childs, and Mark Morris had a profound influence on my visual work. Sign language also looks at 3 dimensional space in dynamic ways useful to developing a visual vocabulary.

My present work is fiber based. The experience of cloth is universal as we are in constant contact with cloth, whether it is covering our bodies, used in sacred ritual, or looking at a flag.  That said, some of my work uses elements of installation art, mixed media, photography, printmaking, embroidery, collage, light, and community based art. I am interested in challenging and expanding the boundaries of what has existed before in the sphere of quilt making.  

I continue to be passionate about translating ideas of life into visual representations.  I want to create work with a personal vocabulary of images that has a strong metaphoric potential for all people.

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Born – Oakland, California

B.F.A. – Mills College 1978

Professional modern dancer 1978 – 1987

Interpreter American Sign Language 1988 – 1990

Studio artist since 1990

Selected Exhibitions

2016 "Ornaments of the Night," Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, ID

2015  "Adaptations," Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA

"Extreme Fibers," Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, MI

"Celebrate Art," Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA

"Accreted Terrain," Museum of Northwest Art, La Connor, WA

"West Coast Fiber Artists," Santa Rosa Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, CA

2014  "FILTERED: what does love look like?," Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, ID

2013 "Moveable Type," Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, ID

2012 “Introductions”, Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, ID

“Travels”, Seattle Art Museum Gallery, Seattle, WA

“Secrets and Stories”, Visions Art Museum, San Diego, CA

2011 "Textiles Tieton, Fresh Threads," Might Tieton Warehouse, Tieton, WA

"Traces, Mapping a Journey in Textiles," Gregg Museum, Raleigh, NC

"And I give you one hundred, one thousand," Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle, WA

2010 "Visions," Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA

2009 "John M Walsh III Collects," San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA

"Contemporary Quilts," Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Columbus, OH

2008 "Visions," Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA

"Bloodlines," University Art Gallery, University of Indiana, Terre Haute, IN

"Surface Design," Ross Art Museum, Delaware, Ohio

2007 "Quilts=Art=Quilts," Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, Auburn, NY

"Evolution of the Art Quilt," Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA

"Introductions," Seattle Art Museum Gallery, Seattle, WA

"Coming of Age," Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle, WA

"Building Tradition," Whatcom Museum of History & Art, Bellingham, WA

2006 "12 Artists on Today's Farms," Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, WA

"Biannual Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

2005 "Textile Works," Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH

"Quire: Book of Findings," Evergreen State College Galleries, Olympia, WA

2004 "Slumber, The Nights," Cultural Development Authority, Seattle, WA

"Building Tradition: Gifts in Honor of the Northwest Collection," Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA

"Northwest Biennial: Building Wise," Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA

Traditional to Conceptual, Bruce Gallery, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Contemporary Art Quilts, Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL

"Biannual Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

2003 "Quire: Book of Findings," Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO

"Quilt National '03," The Dairy Barn, Athens, OH

"Contemporary Art Quilts," Safety- Kleen Gallery, Elgin, IL

2002 "Crafts National 36," Zoller Gallery, Penn State University, University Park, PA

"Book Forms, American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

"6th Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

2001 "Sewn: Documents Northwest," Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA

"Pattern By Definition," Texas Women's University, Denton, TX

"Cover Them: A Quilt Installation" (solo exhibition), Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston, TX

"Hanging by a Thread,"" Northern Arizona University Gallery, Flagstaff, AZ

"Contemporary Art Quilts," University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, KY

2000 "Artist as Quiltmaker IX," FAVA, Oberlin, OH

"Phresh," Pacific Northwest Arts Council, Bumbershoot, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

"Biannual Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

1999 "Voices of the Diaspora," Ryland-Bowe Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

"Fiberart International," Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

"Pacific Northwest Annual," Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA

"The Inquisitive Object," Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, Portland, OR

"5th Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

1998 "4th Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

"Artist as Quiltmaker VIII," FAVA, Oberlin, OH

"The View From Here: 100 Artists Mark the Centennial of Mt Rainier National Park" – traveled to Yakima Valley Museum of Art, Yakima, WA

Seatac International Airport, Main Concourse, Seatac, WA

Fujinomiya Shimin Bunka Kaikan, Citizen's Cultural Center, Shizuoka-ken, Japan

Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA

"Cover Them: A Quilt Installation," Yeshiva University Museum, New York, NY

"On the Edge: NW Quilt Art," University of British Columbia Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC

1997 "Nontraditional Quilts" Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Portland, OR

"Cover Them: A Quilt Installation" King County Art Gallery, Seattle, WA

"Quilt National 1997," The Dairy Barn, Athens, OH; traveled to West Bend Art Museum, West Bend, WI; Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR

"On the Edge: NW Quilt Art," Museum of the American Quilter's Society, Paducah, KY; traveled to University of British Columbia Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC

"Quilt Expo VI," Innsbruck, Austria

1996 "Textile as Narrative/Ritual," ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL

"Improvisations '96," The Gallery at Studio B, Lancaster, OH, 1996

"3rd Invitational Contemporary Quilt Show," American Art Company, Tacoma, WA

“Crafts National 30," Zoller Gallery, Penn State University, University Park, PA

"Visions 1996: Quilt Art," Museum of San Diego, San Diego, CA

"Nonstop Northwest," American Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA

"Fiber Artists in Washington D.C.," Offices of Senator Patty Murray, Washington D.C.

1995 "Domestic Bliss," Bumbershoot, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

"The Art Quilt: Celebrating Women's Visions and Energies," R.I.T., Rochester, NY

"Quilt National 1995," The Dairy Barn, Athens, OH

"Art Quilts" Seattle University, Seattle, WA

"Craft America '95," Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT

"Diversity! Studio Art Quilts Associates," Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN

"Contemporary Northwest Art Quilts," Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA; traveled to Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

"The Essential Textile," Guilford Handcraft Center, Guilford, CT

"Fiberart International '95," Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

"Art Quilts" Mercer Hood Gallery, Seattle, WA

"Pacific Northwest Annual," Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA

"Piecing It All Together," Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA

"Artist as Quiltmaker VI," FAVA, Oberlin, OH

1994 "The Art of the Quilt," Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia, WA


2010 Surface Design Award, Quilt Visions

2009 Artist Trust Artist Fellowship

Jentel, Artist Residency Program, Banner, WY

2007 Quilts=Art=Quilts, Juror's Award

2004 4Culture, Special Projects Award

2003 Quilt National, Juror's Award

2000 Artist Trust Gap Grant

1999 Fiberarts International Best of Show, Narrative Category, Pittsburgh, PA

Galeria Mesa, Body of Work Award, Piecework

1997 Artist Trust Gap Grant

Professional and Related Experience

2011 Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Visual Art: And I give you one hundred, one thousand, with Rachel Brumer

Presentation for Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

Keeping the Faith, Pat Graney Company, Mission Creek Correctional Facility, Belfair, WA

2009 Juror, Contemporary Quiltart Associates

2008 Program speaker, Contemporary Quiltart Associates

2006 Grant reviewer, Seattle Arts Commission

2004 Program speaker, Contemporary Quiltart Associates

1999–2004 Artist Lecture Series program director, TOPS Middle School

Selected Collections

Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Courthouse Portable Works Purchase, Seattle, WA

Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA

University of Washington, Special Collections, Seattle, WA

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA

Museum of Arts and Design, formerly American Craft Museum, New York, NY

Seattle Arts Commission, Portable Works, Seattle, WA

Washington State Arts Commission, Art in Public Places Program, Olympia, WA: Oakville, Vancouver, Bellingham School Districts

Legacy Emanuel Hospital, Portland, OR

Harborview Hospital, Cultural Heritage Award, Seattle, WA

Children's Receiving Center, Portland, OR

The Brakensiek Collection of Contemporary Quilts, Los Angeles, CA

The John M. Walsh III Collection, Martinsville, NJ

YWCA Transitional Housing, Seattle, WA



Craft and Concept: The Rematerialization of the Art Object: "Patterning the Past, Rachel Brumer and Isabel Kahn,"

pages 351–355, Matthew Kangas, Midmarch Arts Press.

Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, John Walsh III, page 33, Passionate Patron of the Art Quilt, New York, NY January/ February.


Artisan Northwest, page 24, Greener Pastures, Enumclaw, Washington, Fall


Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, Five Decades of Unconventional Quilts, page 53, New York, NY, November.

Seattle Weekly, page 68, January 28–Feburary 3.


Surface Design Journal, pages 36–41, Sebastapol, CA, Winter

Quilt National, page 24, Lark Books and The Dairy Barn, Southeastern Cultural Center.


Quilt Mania, pages 110–113, St. Etienne de Montlue, France, January


Houston Chronicle, pages 1D, 3D, Houston, TX, September 27.

Jewish Herald-Voice, page 18, Houston, TX, September 19.

PBS, "Weekday," Houston, TX, October 30.

The News Tribune, "TGIF," cover, pages 3, 6, Tacoma, WA, November 2.

KHWB, "Outlook Houston," Houston, TX, November 4.

Seattle Weekly, Seattle, WA, March 29.


Fiberarts Magazine, "The Creative Process," page 8, Altamount Press, November/December

Art/Quilt Magazine, #11, pages 35–37, 62, Houston, TX, Spring.


Judaic Artisans Today: Contemporary Judaica in the United States and Those Who Created It, pages 138–139, Flower Valley Press, Gaithersburg, MD.


American Craft Magazine, "Portfolio," page 57, American Craft Council, December/January


Fine Art Quilts: Work by Artists of the Contemporary Quilt Association, pages 12–14, Fiber Studio Press.

The Art Quilt, pages 13, 223, Hugh Lauter Levin Associates,.

Quilt National, page 97, Lark Books and The Dairy Barn Southeastern Cultural Arts Center,.


Fiberarts Magazine, "Profile," page 23, Altamount Press, November/December.

Visions: Quilt Art, page 45, C&T Publishing, Lafayette, CA.


Art/Quilt Magazine, #4, page 28, Houston, TX, Fall.

Fiberarts Design Book Five, page 145, Lark Books.

Quilt National, page 77, Lark Books and The Dairy Barn Southeastern Cultural Arts Center.

Quilting International, #40, page 39, Newton, NJ, March.


Visions: Quilts, Layers of Excellence, pages 35, 54, C&T Publishing; Lafayette, CA.

News and Press

Weekly Fibre Artist Interviews: Rachel Brumer of Seattle, WA

Interview curated and published by Gareth Bate and Dawne Rudman


June 2013

Rachel Brumer Interview

1. Does your inspiration to create art come from a place of need or want?

RB: I find I don’t ask myself those kinds of questions. This is what I do. I ask myself questions about the work and about its progress. Am I following the concept as clearly or as obtusely as I would like? Am I using materials and/or techniques that can exploit my ideas most clearly?

2. How do you bridge the difference between creating art and handling the business aspects of marketing it?

RB: I see them as two different jobs. I’m interested in both because I find every opportunity for showing work puts interesting parameters on what I am making, and that becomes more interesting to me.

3. What is the most memorable response you’ve had to your work?

RB: I made an installation a number of years ago called Cover Them, which was made up of 10 art quilts, a wall of reproduced pages from the Serge Klarsfeld book, French Children of the Holocaust, and a stack of children’s quilts to be given away to children who would enjoy having them. I received many thank you notes for these, and one was from a police officer who was given one. He chose to keep it in the back of his squad car for the times he had children in the car.

4. Who are two of your favorite artists working in the same medium that you do?

RB: Dorothy Caldwell and Marie Watt.

5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

RB: I wouldn’t say it was advice directly given to me, but in 1984 I was a dancer in the epic opera Einstein on the Beach. Watching the way Robert Wilson, Philip Glass, and Lucinda Childs worked was the best advice anyone could wish for.

6. What is your dream project?

RB: Right now, since I am interested in books, I’d love to have a small gallery set up like a rare book exhibit and show new work based on manuscripts, as if they were ancient and rare. I’d also like to make work for a public library based on the book form.

7. Do you have a Bucket List? RB: No.

8. Describe yourself in 5 words. RB: interested, curious, thoughtful, kind, energetic


April 2013

Rachel Brumer won a second place at Fiberart International


May 2012

An unusual opening at the Art Lending Library, by Rachel Brumer




Rachel Brumer received an Artist Trust Fellowship