The Art of Renie Breskin Adams
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About Renie B. Adams

Biographical NoteWorkshopsCollectionsBibliography


I “awakened” to art in a general education course at Indiana University. There were two reproductions of paintings in our text that actually brought tears to my eyes—“The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau and “The Blue Window” by Henri Matisse.

I lived in Bloomington, Indiana for 17 years and would probably still be there if I hadn’t run out of things to do. I earned degrees in psychology and anthropology and then worked as a research associate in the Psychology Department, simultaneously enrolling in art classes. One semester, when the classes I wanted were filled, I took weaving. I loved it and earned an M.F.A in Textile Design.

In 1973 I left Indiana to become an assistant professor of Related Arts in home economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I didn’t fit in too well and was therefore “relieved of my employment” in 1977. Worried about what would become of me, I needed to do something practical—but, instead, I began my first embroidery, “Fear, Laughter, and the Unknown”.

Luckily, I found another fiber arts position in the School of Art at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. I finished “Fear...” in DeKalb, where I have lived, taught, and made art ever since. I live with my husband whom I met in DeKalb, David Wagner, a historian who looks like Santa Claus.



I teach workshops for beginners in fiber techniques with emphasis on design and expression.

I also offer critique workshops for experienced students working within their individual directions.

I’ve taught one- and two-week workshops at arts and crafts schools, including—

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME, and Penland School of Crafts, Penland , NC.

These schools provide wonderful experiences for students of all ages and backgrounds. Work and play are intense. People become close in a short time, and the food is scrumptious.

I Have Works in These Collections:

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL • Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI • Highsmith Inc., Fort Atkinson, WI • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN • Interweave Press, Loveland, CO • John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI • Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY • Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA • Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL • Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. • White House Holiday Ornaments Collection, Washington, D.C. • Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, WI • Private Collections


The following list contains a selection of books, catalogs, and magazine articles that include reproductions and discussions of my work.

Adams, Renie Breskin. “Embroider ‘Vegimals’ on a Bib” in PieceWork, Interweave Press, Loveland, CO, Nov/Dec 2004.

____________. Structural Design in Crochet, Slide Kit, American Crafts Council, New York, NY, 1975.

Aimone, Steven. DESIGN! A Lively Guide to Design Basics, Lark Books, Asheville, NC, 2004.

Au Fil du Temps: Exposition Internationale d’Oeuvres du Fil , exhibition catalog, DMC, Paris, France, 1984.

Celebrating the Stitch , exhibition catalog, ed., Asahi Shimbun, Embassy of the United States and Embassy of Canada . in Japan, 1994.

Chicago International New Art Forms Exposition , exposition catalog (Mobilia Gallery artist), The Lakeside Group, Inc., Chicago, IL, 1993.

Fiberart International ’91 , exhibition catalog (with front cover reproduction), Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, PA, 1991.

“Embroidering the Truth” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington, D.C., September 27, 1996.

European Coats Viyella Sponsor Prize for Modern Embroidery Design , MEZ AG, Freiburg, Germany, 1990.

Fiberarts Design Book, and Fiberarts Design Book Two, -Three, -Four, -Five, and –Six, Lark Books, Asheville, NC, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999.

Held, Shirley E. Weaving: A Handbook for Fiber Craftsmen, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York, NY, 1978.

Highsmith Library Catalog , cover illustration, accompanying poster and bookmark illustrations, Highsmith, Inc., Fort Atkinson, WI, 2004-2005.

Bookmark © Highsmith Inc. 2004
Illustration by Renie B. Adams:
Fare Well, Sky Chicken (detail).

Howell-Koehler, Nancy J. Soft Jewelry, Davis Publications, Worcester, MA, 1976.

Huang, Teresa. “The Human Love and Spirit: Works by Renie B. Adams” in Artist Magazine, Taipei, Taiwan, November 1995.

Itter, Diane. “Renie Adams: A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” in Fiberarts Magazine, Asheville, NC, Sept/Oct 1989.

Knots and Nets, Spiritual Connections, exhibition catalog, curator, Nancy Neumann Press, Arts America Program of the United States Information Agency, 1992.

Koplos, Janet. “Renie Breskin Adams at Synopsis” in The New Art Examiner, Chicago, IL, 1982.

“Liberated Embroidery”, ed., JoAnne Mattera, in Fiberarts Magazine, Asheville, NC, May/June 1982.

Malarcher, Patricia. “Embroidery: State of the Art” (with front cover reproduction) in Fiberarts Magazine, Asheville, NC, Nov/Dec 1991.

Meilach, Dona Z. A Modern Approach to Basketry, Crown, New York, NY, 1974.

Miniatures 2000, exhibition catalog, curator, Helen Drutt, Artprint, Helsinki, Finland, 2000.

Morrell, Anne. Contemporary Embroidery, Cassell, London, England, 1994.

Newman, Jay and Thelma. The Container Book, Crown, New York, NY, 1977.

Nordfors Clark, Jill. Needle Lace, Techniques and Inspiration, Hand Books Press, Madison, WI, 1999.

Parker, Xenia Ley. Designing for Crafts, Scribners, New York, NY, 1974.

____________. Creative Handweaving, Dial Press, New York, NY, 1976.

Pictorial and Narrative Fibers , exhibition catalog, curator, Tom Lundberg, Longview Arts Council, Long View, TX , 1987.

Threads Magazine , back cover reproduction and comments, Newtown, CT, Oct/Nov 1986.

“Renie Breskin Adams” in “Stickkunst”, ed., Beatrijs Sterk, in Deutsches Textilforum, Hannover, Germany, March 1987.

Renie Breskin Adams Inside Out, a retrospective one-person exhibition catalog with essays by Renie Breskin Adams, Janet Koplos, and Barbara Lee Smith, Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA, 1996.

Robinson, Sharon. Contemporary Basketry, Davis Publications, Worcester, MA, 1978.

Sommer, Elyse. A New Look at Crochet, Crown, New York, NY, 1975.

___________ and Renie Breskin Adams, Pillow Making as Art and Craft, Crown, New York, NY, 1978.

Smith, Barbara Lee. Celebrating the Stitch, Contemporary Embroidery of North America, Taunton Press, Newtown, CT, 1991.

Renie Breskin Adams: Inside Out, © Mobilia Gallery 1996, exhibition catalog, 32 pages,
11" x 8-1/2".

Smithsonian Appointment Book 1998 , ed., Caroline Newman, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1998.

SOFA CHICAGO: International Exposition of Sculptural Objects and Functional Art , exposition catalogs (Mobilia Gallery artist), Expressions of Culture, Inc., Chicago, IL, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002.

SOFA New York : International Exposition of Sculptural Objects and Functional Art, exposition catalogs (Mobila Gallery artist), Expressions of Culture, Inc., New York, NY, 1999, 2000, 2002.

State of the Art: Contemporary Fiber , exhibition catalog, curator, Judy G. Eakin, Loveland Museum, Loveland, CO, 1992.

Threads on the Edge: The Daphne Farago Fiber Art Collection , exhibition catalog, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA, 2003.

Trapp, Kenneth R. and Howard Risatti. Skilled Work, American Craft in the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1998.

U.S. and Us , exhibition catalog, curator, Barbara Lee Smith, University of Otago Printing Department, New Zealand, 1996.

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