MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2018
Artist StatementMaterial and process are what drives me to create art. The slow labor of preparing and dyeing materials, dressing looms and weaving, affords me time to think and physically transform a simple linear element into whole cloth. I have inherited a wealth of knowledge about textile processes from both known and unknown artisans. I have practiced my craft for over thirty years and continually discover new ways to think about my work.
Hillary Steel is an artist and teacher who specializes in weaving and resist dyeing. She incorporates ikat and shibori (jaspe and amarras) into her hand woven wall pieces. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. After graduation, she studied textiles via post-baccalaureate course work at Buffalo State College and the University of Pittsburgh as well as through travel to Cote d'Ivoire, Peru, Chile and Mexico. Hillary received a Masters in Teaching degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has worked in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia as an artist in residence, creating site-specific collaborative textiles with students. Since 2006, along with colleague Virginia Davis, Hillary has been studying with and documenting the work of Mexican master rebozo weaver Don Evaristo Borboa Casas. They have produced a short film about his work.
Steel’s personal artwork embodies a strong international presence, influenced by traditional textiles and her travels. Her wall pieces have been included in national and international exhibitions - at the North American Cultural Center in San Jose, Costa Rica, the American Consulate in Taiwan, and at our Embassy in Mexico City and Lima, Peru. Her textiles have been the subject of solo shows at the McLean Project for the Arts and artspace Gallery in Virginia, at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in Maryland and at other venues in PA and Ohio. Steel’s work is also included in the book Art on the Edge, Seventeen Contemporary American Artists published by the U.S. Department of State. Hillary’s textile art is held in private and public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, The GW University Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., at the American Embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and at the American Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico. She has been a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland since 1994, and maintains a studio in Takoma Park, Washington D.C. She is a recipient of a 2018 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award.