Augustana College printing logo

Art chair's tapestries on display in China

butterflyte (left) and Crimson Prelude, tapestries by Rowen Schussheim-Anderson.

Two tapestries woven by Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, professor of art, were accepted into the prestigious From Lausanne to Beijing International Fiber Art Biennale. Her works are on display in Beijing through Dec. 15.

The two pieces, butterflyte and Crimson Prelude, are among 300 fiber artworks from 37 countries on display. Schussheim-Anderson is no stranger to the loom, having woven tapestries for more than 35 years. She also teaches traditional tapestry techniques to students at Augustana.


Although the technique is anything but modern, Schussheim-Anderson continues to introduce new innovations elements and materials. butterflyte was created using various methods and materials, including beadwork and wrapping. These techniques add more texture and interest to the surface.

Her inspiration for the two pieces on display came from an experience she had with Augustana students during a foreign term in Latin America in 2009.

"I had the chance to spend time in the Peruvian rainforest with Augustana students, where I saw gorgeous butterflies bigger than hummingbirds and more abundant than mosquitos in Iowa," she said. "Crimson Prelude was inspired by a beautiful red, white and black 89 butterfly that rode next to me for eight hours on a bus window."   

Schussheim-Anderson's Crimson Prelude will tour the United States from 2013-2015 as part of the Fiberart International 2013 exhibition. 

"It is a privilege for Augustana to have someone like Rowen, who is a master of her craft and always willing to teach it to others," said Rebecca Black '13, a chemistry and English major from Berwyn, Ill., who has a class with Schussheim-Anderson. "I never thought that I would get the opportunity to weave on a loom. It is not as easy as it looks!"

Interviewed about her work by Jonathan Turner of the Dispatch/Argus, Schussheim-Anderson defined her medium:

"Fiber is a wonderful material; row by row, line by line, fiber becomes color, fiber becomes shape, and fiber creates texture. Fiber has dimension; it can be flat or shiny, it can be thick and thin. Working in fiber is like drawing with a line; everything is possible. Woven tapestry is a medium that is very expressive."