Penn Arts & Sciences Logo
From top left: knitters and fiber artists smile around table, person smiles smile lamb sniffs their ear; art installation with stacked black rectangles covered in lacy gold material on white pedestal, print with peach background and pink and blue design. From bottom left: embroidery hoop with stitched plants, embroidery hoop with house, models posing, hands cut pink material
Hosted by Lise Funderburg, co-sponsored by The Creative Writing Program
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Arts Cafe, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk

rsvp: or (215) 746-POEM

More information:

This semester, students in Lise Funderburg’s “Ties that Bind” Creative Nonfiction workshop explored community both as it threads through their own lives and as it shows up in Philadelphia’s vital subcultures of textile-based folk and fiber arts. Tonight, they’ll read from work inspired by their experiences, and with great pleasure, share the podium with many of their community contacts, who will present their own work (in whatever form they fancy). Likelihood of a yarnbombing: 95%. Many of our community contacts will be present, in the audience or on the stage, including the following:

JOY UDE Joy O. Ude is a mixed-media artist and designer. In her artwork, she explores Black culture as a subset of American culture. As an American-born child of Nigerian immigrants, she also reflects on the concept of duality. Ude earned her BFA in Fashion Design from the University of North Texas, and an MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of North. Ude is currently STEAM Educator at Independence Seaport Museum, Adjunct Instructor at Tyler School of Art, and a member of Philadelphia’s FJORD Gallery. Find more at .

NATIONALITIES SERVICE CENTER Each year, NSC helps over 5,000 refugees and immigrants start new lives in the United States. Nationalities Service Center is a nonsectarian organization that serves clients regardless of gender, race, religion, or legal status. In a holistic approach to service, they host Wellness Wednesdays, which includes an hour of knitting. In many cases, the stitches are the only common language spoken. Find more at

SHELBY DONNELLY Shelby Donnelly is an interdisciplinary visual artist and educator who makes screen printed and sewn textiles, garments, and objects that are contextualized within videos and installations. Her work stages dramas that come from observing humanity's relationship with ritual, ceremony, and spirituality and how that plays out in everyday existence. Donnelly was the 2014 recipient of the Independence Foundation Artist Fellowship and traveled to Morocco to co-curate an exhibition at TALIM. She holds a B.F.A in Printmaking and Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.F.A in Material Studies from Tyler School of Art. Find more at .

BHUTANESE-AMERICAN ORGANIZATION - PHILADELPHIA BAO-P was established in 2013 to serve the newly resettled Bhutanese community in Philadelphia area. BAO-P is committed to empowering the Bhutanese community in Philadelphia in all aspects of development: employment, education, cultural integration and citizenship and it envisions a self-sufficient, progressive, and productive community that contributes to nation building. While Bhutanese women are known for traditional backstrap loom weaving, knitting is also a popular pastime. Find more at

BETTY LEACRAFT Betty Leacraft is a shape shifter of textiles and mixed media fiber, a visual artist, and educator. She blends multiple techniques/processes that blur lines between art quilts, wearable art, sculpture, and installation. Her work is informed by artistic/cultural traditions of Africa and the African Diaspora addressing themes of identity, heritage, symbolism, environment, and ritual. Betty has received grants, awards, honors, and exhibited internationally; as an educator, Betty creates opportunities for underserved communities and individuals through textile arts projects. Find more at

THE DRUNKEN KNITWITS A group of self-admitted knit-aholics, the Philadelphia branch of this global organization meets weekly in local bars and cafes for drinks and crafting. Founded in Oxford (UK), Drunken Knitwits also has chapters in Cambridge, Manchester, and Newbury (UK), Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane (Austraila), Dublin (Ireland), and Boston. The group welcomes all skill levels and all genders (21+ only, obvs). Find more at https://www.

ASH LIMÉS CASTELLANA Ash (Ashley) Limés Castellana is a printmaker and multimedia artist. She’s the first-generation American daughter of Cuban immigrants, and was raised in the sunshine of Miami, FL. Her artistic practice seeks to promote a connection with ourselves and the natural world by creating environments using the language of architecture and geology. Ash is a Museum Education Coordinator at the Fabric Workshop and Museum; a Coordinator and Educator at Second State Press, and a Youth Educator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Find more at

WORKSHOP STUDENTS: Max Abram, Daisy Angeles, Maria Baez, Johnathan Chen, Sonali Deliwala, Devin Esch, Natalie Kahn, Delila Keravuori, Danielle Kramer, Sam Ksiaa, Becca Lambright, Julia McGurk, Anya Mushakevich, Erin O'Malley, Caroline Scown, JaHyun Yang.