Past Exhibitions



August 29 - December 12, 2009

As its inaugural exhibition, the new Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts will feature wearable art created by our generous benefactor, Ruth E. Funk. Ruth Funk, who began creating her wearable art in the 1980s, uses the coat as her main means of expression. Funk's couture coats highlight the remarkable decorative fabrics created by indigenous peoples from Guatemala to Japan, fabrics that are the inspiration for her designs. Coat Couture positions her wearable art in the context of global textiles. This exhibition aims to present these indigenous textiles as a backdrop to the inspiration so often found in modern art and fashion.

To view more photos from this installation, click here.

Vest with shells and raffia by Ruth Funk Coat Couture Exhibition Mud and Kente cloth jacket by Ruth Funk L2009.1.10

Vest with shells and raffia by Ruth Funk L2009.1.7

Photo by Dominic Agostini

Coat Couture Exhibition

Mud and Kente cloth jacket by Ruth Funk L2009.1.10

Photo by Dominic Agostini


February 2 - April 25, 2009

Funk Textile Gallery Crawford Building, Room 405

Featuring a selection of recent gifts from the collection of William and Norma Canelas Roth, Kimono: A Transition to Modernity, exhibits kimono and accessories from pre- and post- WWII. The exhibition highlights the impact of Western influence on traditional Japanese culture through fashion and design.

To see more photos from this installation, click here.

Young woman's formal kimono (furisode), Japan, Taisho Period, 2007.23.11 Kimono: Transition to Modernity Exhibition

Young woman's formal kimono(furisode), Japan, Taisho Period, 2007.23.11

Photo by Dominic Agostini

Kimono: Transition to Modernity Exhibition


August 18 – December 12, 2008

Funk Textiles Gallery Crawford Building, Room 405

Details: Kuba Cloth; Woven raffia cloth with reverse appliquéd geometric shapes. From: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) Size: 12‘ 6“ L. x 28“ W.

Details: Kuba Cloth; Woven raffia cloth with reverse appliquéd geometric shapes. From: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) Size: 12‘ 6“ L. x 28“ W.


February 21 – July 3, 2008

Funk Textiles Gallery Crawford Building, Room 405

Includes whimsical creations inspired by the wearable art movement: jewelry by the Florida Tech gallery's namesake, Ruth Funk and coats by Washington state weaver, Anita Luvera Mayer.

The Art of Fashion exhibit Silk yarns and dyed-to-match raffia. 25” W x 50” L
The Art of Fashion exhibit Silk yarns and dyed-to-match raffia. 25” W x 50” L
1988. Gift of the artist.


August 27, 2007 - January 25, 2008

Funk Textiles Gallery Crawford Building, Room 405

Objects on display include colorful beaded wedding capes, bags, woven skirts, belts and a headdress. Items come from the Ndebele, Thembu and Zulu tribes of South Africa and from Cameroon.

Recent Gifts from William D. and Norma Canelas Roth

Girl’s apron, Ndebele, South Africa, 12 5/8” x Girl's skirt, or apron, from South Africa and the Thembu tribe. Hand-woven cloth, brass rings, glass beads, leather, c. 1930-1940.
Girl’s apron, Ndebele, South Africa, 12 5/8” x
16 1/2”. Canvas, fiber, glass beads, c. 1960.
Girl's skirt, or apron, from South Africa and the Thembu tribe. Hand-woven cloth, brass rings, glass beads, leather, c. 1930-1940.

Battle Worn: Masculine Ideals and Military Identity in Modern Japanese Textiles

September 8 - December 15, 2012

National duty and familial honor played an essential role in shaping the perception of Japanese soldiers in the 19th and early 20thcenturies. During military conflict, loved ones often dedicated unique textiles that accompanied men into battle. These symbolically charged items provided courage and protection as the soldier journeyed to war and often memorialized his triumphant return in victory or death.

Battle Wornwill feature over 50 military textiles, hand-painted on cotton and silk, from the private collection of Dr. and Mrs. Michael Bortner. Objects presented reflect the development of a national military identity rooted in cultural tradition. Highlights include army and navy celebration banners, “good luck” flags,” “one-thousand” stitch belts, uniforms, and children’s toys.

Florida in Fabric: Wish You Were Here!

May 19 – August 18, 2012

FLORIDA IN FABRIC is presented by the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts to promote an appreciation of quilt making as an art form and to provide Florida quilters with an opportunity to display their quilts in the premier textile arts center of the state. Art accepted for this exhibition will exemplify innovation in quilting and surface design techniques as well as excellence in artistic composition and craftsmanship.

Yvonne Porcella: Quilt Selections 1986-2012

Presented in conjunction with Florida in Fabric: Wish You Were Here! Yvonne Porcella: Quilt Selections 1986-2012will feature quilts from the artist’s recent retrospective at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, Calif., as well as contemporary work inspired by the state of Florida. Porcella, founder and past President of the Board of Directors of Studio Art Quilt Associates, has taught and lectured throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and Japan. Her quilts are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Ga., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Traditional Textiles of India

January 21 - April 28, 2012

India’s long and varied history has produced a stunning collection of textile traditions. From the domestic to the ceremonial space, these woven materials convey a unique perspective on adornment.

Traditional Textiles of India, co-curated with the Asian Cultural Association, features vibrant textiles from regions across India including Gujarat, Orissa, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Embroidered phulkaris, elegant saris, and block-printed linens illustrate an exceptional tradition of handcrafted skill.

Highlights from the Funk Center’s permanent collection are presented along with objects on loan from private collections.

INTERWOVEN: Contemporary Textile Art by Alejandrina Cué, Andrea Donnelly, and Jennifer Glass

September 10 - December 17, 2011

INTERWOVENfeatures the work of three contemporary artists—Alejandrina Cué, Andrea Donnelly and Jennifer Glass—whose visual imagery exploits the inherent quality of fabric materials to portray both the fragility and depth of the human psyche.


May 21 – August 27, 2011

The textile industry in post-World War II Britain changed dramatically in contrast to the monotony of what the industry had to offer prior to 1951.

Postwar efforts to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress and the promotion of better-quality “national” design led to the commissioning of artist-designed textiles. As this exhibit demonstrates, the result was an explosion of bold and innovative styles and more painterly textiles that demonstrated the unique potential of screen printing, with its ability to capture the quality of brush-stroked color.

British Bolts, curated from the extensive private collection of H. Kirk Brown III and Jill A Wiltse, examines the variety of aesthetic influences and approaches of men and women designers of the period. Mid-20th-century artists featured in this exhibition include male designers Terence Conran, Marino Marini, Henry Moore, John Piper, and William Scott and women designers like Lucienne Day, Jacqueline Groag and Paule Vézelay.

Curated by Shanna Shelby


January 15 – April 23, 2011

Little Black Dress traces the origins of this iconic garment from mourning attire to chic wardrobe essential, with over 45 key historic examples.

Starting with the 1880's, the exhibit will highlight the stylistic changes and popular trends of each decade through the 1990's.

The little black dress is represented as a symbol of the modern era, a potent expression of women’s identity and liberation through changing times.

The majority of dresses will be on loan from the extensive collection of the Costume Museum of Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Once a major hub on the trading routes from Montreal to the West coast, Winnipeg was a garment manufacturing center.

The Canadian pieces will be complemented with examples from the permanent collection of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. Dresses on display will include designers such as Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Arnold Scaasi.


September 11 – December 18, 2010

Dazzling and colorful textiles have constituted important forms of aesthetic and ethnic expression throughout Latin America’s diverse historic and cultural landscape.

This exhibition illustrates these stunningly complex and colorful textile genres with examples from Mexico to Peru. Hand-painted Amazonian weavings; Panamanian molas; and indigenous costumes from Guatemala and Bolivia illustrate the vibrant traditions that have survived through centuries of modernization.

Highlights from the Funk Center’s permanent collection will be presented along with objects on loan from private collections.


May 8 - August 21, 2010

This exhibit features modernist scarves produced by the famous Ascher studio in post WWII London and now part of the Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III Collection. Organized and curated by guest curator, Shanna Shelby, the three foot square scarves were printed in limited editions of two to six hundred each; the screens were destroyed after printing.

The scarves are an extraordinary combination of fine art, fashion, and printmaking. The Aschers collaborated with the artists and printers to produce a fascinating yet difficult translation into fabric.


January 30 - April 24, 2010

Speaking with Thread: The Narrative of Textiles features selections from the private collections of Jafar Falasiri and William and Norma Canelas Roth, as well as pieces from the museum's permanent collection.

The exhibition features textiles that present stories through their imagery and symbolism.

Transformers:  Re-contextualizing Our Material Culture

September 17-December 17, 2016

Contemporary artists Jodie Mack, Garry Noland, Julie Peppito and Gerry Trilling regard material culture as raw material. They use it to create artwork of a high order, informed by its fraught, untidy, intimate origins - paintings, sculptures, films, and tapestries in which the ordinary stuff of our lives becomes splendid and strange.

This exhibition is curated by contemporary artist China Marks and presented in conjunction with Radiant Messenger: Drawings by China Marks on view at the Foosaner Art Museum (October 22, 2016 – January 7, 2017).

Radical Elements (by Studio Art Quilt Associates)

May 28 – August 27, 2016

Our physical world is created out of the chemical elements, from hydrogen to platinum to arsenic. For this exhibition, each of the selected artists created a new work influenced by an element from the periodic table. Inspirations came from anything relating to that element, whether it is a play on the name, its color or the products made from it. Both representational and abstract works were welcomed.

The artists were also asked to move quilting beyond the usual materials of fabric and thread, exploring the function and decorative properties of different surfaces and stitching materials. This exhibition was the first to embrace the newly expanded definition of an art quilt and is a signature exhibition for the international organization Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).

 Exhibition sponsored in memory of Judy Roach.

A View Within: The Collaboration of Two Fiber Artists

May 28 – August 27, 2016

 Now in its sixth year, A View Within is the result of a collaborative project by contemporary artists Paula Chung and Karen Rips. The artists’ fascination with the human body, as revealed through advances in medical imagery, is the primary inspiration for this exhibition of tapestries. A View Within was originally driven by individual images as they became available. However, the success of this project has resulted in more body images being made available, allowing the artists to visually explore the body’s systems and functions in depth.

 The Center is pleased to present 12 original works by Rips and Chung during summer 2016 in conjunction with the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibition Radical Elements.

Reimagined: Innovations in Fiber with Alex Trimino and Carrie Sieh

January 23 - May 7, 2016

Reimagined presents the work of Alex Trimino and Carrie Sieh - Miami-based contemporary artists whose manipulation of fiber is characterized by their use of experimental materials. By challenging traditionally conceived “craft” materials and redefining their context, sourced items such as neon lights and VHS tape are reinvented, showcasing the role of textiles as a visually communicative and diverse art form.

Sieh and Trimino draw on textiles’ domestic associations to inform and develop their respective artistic perspectives. Their work, influenced by themes including sexuality, gender, and culture, is also distinguished by experimentation with the principles of mathematics, coding and technology.

 This exhibition and select youth programming are generously sponsored by R.B. Case Consulting. Additional youth program support provided by The Walter E. and Judith Schwab Fund of the Community Foundation for Brevard.

About the Artists:
Alex Trimino creates illuminated fiber-based sculptures and installations. Her work re-contextualizes the traditional use of colloquial, lo-tech crafts; crochet, knittings and weavings exploring social views on civilization, technology and gender. In her work old things, old ways and new technologies commingle together; exploring how we connect to reality today. She uses embroidery and technology, creating a connection between past and present. In 2013 Trimino's work was part of "OpenArt" International Art Symposium, Sweden and her solo exhibition "Dark Light" was presented at Läns Museum, West Gallery, Örebro, Sweden.

Carrie Sieh is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is rooted in textiles, technology, and history. Exhibition sites include Miami International Airport, Bienes Museum of the Modern Book, Coral Gables Museum, MDC Museum of Art & Design, Charles Deering Estate, Art & Culture Center of Hollywood, and David Castillo Gallery. Collections include Bernice Steinbaum (Miami), Francie Bishop Good & David Horvitz (Ft. Lauderdale FL) Mandy Patinkin & Kathryn Grody (NYC), the James Hotel (Miami Beach), United Way Miami-Dade, and the Leland Tea Company (San Francisco), as well as private collections in the United States and Uruguay. Her practice focuses primarily on the roles of technology, psychology, and political economy in human behavior.

Light and Shadow: Contemporary Fiber Art by Hye Shin

September 19 – December 14, 2015

Born and raised in South Korea, the contemporary fiber artist Hye Shin is known for her large, richly textured wall hangings and, more recently, her sculptural installations. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, exhibiting nationally and internationally for many years. Shin has been teaching at Crealdé School of Art since 2003 and is the founder of the Focus on Fiber Art initiative. The Center is pleased to present Shin’s wall hangings, embroidery, and sculpture installations during fall 2015.

Nature is a primary source of inspiration in Shin’s body of work; rather than conveying a literal representation of it, her abstract weaving and atmospheric installations are focused on expressing a sense of place, mood or feeling. “When I struggle with my life, I am drawn toward nature…that inspires me with a beautiful and poignant dialogue.” This dialogue results in the transformation of source material into condensed geometrical constructions.

The pieces created for this exhibition are characterized by the dichotomy of the natural world (light vs. shadow, sadness vs. joy, life vs. death and recovery). The artist believes these qualities are inherent to nature and critical to understanding and appreciating its beauty.

Shin’s artistic process is characterized by layered weaving and expressive surface design. She knits, sews, dyes, and manipulates contrasting materials including linen, horsehair, and paper in attempt to convey the balance that can be achieved through fiber art.

This exhibition is generously sponsored in part by R.B. Case Consulting with youth program support provided by the John K. & Julia R. Roach Fund of the Community Foundation for Brevard, in loving memory of Julia Roach.


Southern Accents

May 16 - August 22, 2015

The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts is pleased to host the exhibition Southern Accents presented by the southeast region of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) from May 16 through Aug. 22.

The opening of the exhibit is held in conjunction with SAQA’s inaugural regional conference, “Studio to Gallery,” on the Florida Tech campus May 15-16.

The artworks in Southern Accents encompass a range of fiber art techniques and styles, from realistic to abstract. Participating artists were asked the question, ‘What makes life in the South special?’ and then encouraged to take those qualities and celebrate them in an art quilt.

The exhibition was juried by Sandra Sider of the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas.

Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art

January 31 – April 25

This exhibition explores the evocative, sensual, and sculptural power of contemporary bamboo art.

Bamboo is a quintessential part of Japanese culture, shaping the country’s social, artistic, and spiritual landscape. Although bamboo is a prolific natural resource, it is a challenging artistic medium. There are fewer than 100 professional bamboo artists in Japan today. Mastering the art form requires decades of meticulous practice while learning how to harvest, split, and plait the bamboo. Modern Twist brings 38 exceptional works by 17 artists to U.S. audiences, displaying many of these technically innovative and imaginatively crafted works for the first time.

Since 1967, six bamboo artists have been named Living National Treasures. The Japanese government created this award after World War II in an effort to celebrate and preserve the nation’s traditions and culture. Only two living bamboo artists —Modern Twist’s Katsushiro Sōhō (2005) and Fujinuma Noboru (2012)—currently hold this title.

In addition, Modern Twist features works by other visionary artists: Matsumoto Hafū, Honma Hideaki, Ueno Masao, Uematsu Chikuyū, Nagakura Ken’ichi, Tanabe Chikuunsai III, Tanabe Yōta, Tanabe Shōchiku III, Tanioka Shigeo, Tanioka Aiko, Honda Shōryū, Mimura Chikuhō, Nakatomi Hajime, Sugiura Noriyoshi, and Yonezawa Jirō.

Modern Twist demonstrates that in the hands of master bamboo artists, a simple grass is transformed into a sculptural art. The exhibition celebrates these artists who have helped to redefine a traditional craft as a modern genre, inventing unexpected new forms and pushing the medium to groundbreaking levels of conceptual, technical, and artistic ingenuity.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Andreas Marks, head of the Department of Japanese and Korean Art and Director of the Clark Center at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The exhibition was generously supported by the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The catalogue was supported by the Nomura Foundation, Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, Eric and Karen Ende, Alexandra and Dennis Lenehan, Gilda and Henry Buchbinder, and the Snider Family Fund.  The local presentation of this exhibition made possible in part by a grant from The Japan Foundation of New York.

Embellished: A Celebration of Wearable Art

September 13 – December 13, 2014

In commemoration of its fifth anniversary, the Ruth Funk Center presents over forty examples of contemporary wearable art by artists Ann Clarke, Marina Dempster, Kerr Grabowski and Center namesake and benefactor Ruth Funk. Works on display include art to wear, conceptual sculpture, accessories and jewelry that highlight the diversity of the wearable art movement and emphasize the innovation of surface design.

Embellished Adopt-A-Coat Sponsors:

Nancy Abernathy
Kathleen Along
Kaye Boyer Ryan
Jan and Bob Case
Pamela Dettmer
Georgette Walsh Diaz
Anne Faye
Bette George
Nita Grisham
Betty Herget
Tess Hughes
Leslie Temmen
Susan Lundberg
John Palumberi
Lisa Perdigao
Adrienne Meyer
Sharon Mischker
Norma Newman
Martha Sinclair

Learn more about “adopting” one of Ruth Funk’s couture creations !

Florida in Fabric II & Oil Stains: A Series by Eleanor McCain

May 24 - August 23, 2014

FLORIDA IN FABRIC II is presented by the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts to promote an appreciation of quilt making as an art form. Art accepted for this exhibition exemplifies innovation in quilting and surface design techniques as well as excellence in artistic composition and craftsmanship.

Oil Stains: A Series by Eleanor McCain features fourteen quilts representing the artist’s reaction to the 2010 BP oil spill and its effect on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The lyrically abstract quilts are literally stained, producing a powerful visual statement.

Tying the Knot: Global Wedding Costume and Ritual

January 18 – April 26, 2014

Tying the Knot features wedding ensembles and accessories from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The exhibit showcases the varying customs, textiles and fashion associated with marriage around the world and highlights the cultural significance of this often monumental event.

Textiles & Culture: Highlights from the Permanent Collection

September 14 - December 14, 2013

Since its opening in August 2009, the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts has amassed a permanent collection of over 1000 objects. These unique textile pieces and accessories reflect a collection dedicated to the promotion of fiber arts from across the centuries and around the world. The exhibit features highlights from the Center’s collection including South African Ndebele aprons, Japanese Meiji-era kimono, and Central American embroidery.

Masters 2 by Studio Art Quilt Associates

May 18 – August 24, 2013

The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts is please to host Studio Art Quilt Associates’ (SAQA) newest fiber art show: Masters 2. In 2008, Lark Books added a new publication to its Master Works series, Masters: Art Quilts, written and curated by Martha Sielman, the Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates. It quickly became one of the most successful selling books in the Lark series. SAQA traveled the accompanying exhibition of art quilts throughout the United States to rave reviews.

The 37 quilt artists included in the exhibition have proven themselves to be masters of this exciting art form, and hail from all over the globe. The artworks encompass a broad range of fiber art techniques and styles, from realistic to abstract. The subject matter varies from a study of Miles Davis intent on blowing his horn to an homage to New York City’s wrought iron tree gates.

Masters 2 will provide a provocative and stimulating museum experience.

ReDress: Upcycled Style by Nancy Judd

January 19 – April 27, 2013

Like it or not, we are a wasteful society. We buy, we consume, we throw things away. Most of our everyday purchases have disposable packaging, our mailboxes are jammed with junk advertising campaigns, our shirt has a rip and we simply buy another. Trash is just a part of our throw-away culture. Artist Nancy Judd thinks there is a better way.

Judd loves the challenge of making garbage into elegant and glamorous garments and inspiring people to look differently at waste. Ms. Judd has been commissioned by major companies such as Target, Coca Cola Company and Delta Air Lines to create not only magnificent works of art, but to also convey the value of consumer consciousness and the future of our planet. Her creations have been exhibited worldwide and have caught the attention of major media including USA Today and CNN. In addition, one of her cre­ations, the Obamanos Coat, constructed from Obama campaign door hangers and fit to the size of our 44th President, has recently been accepted into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Ruth Funk Center is pleased to present 18 of Judd’s unique, thought-provoking creations to the greater Central Florida community.

This exhibition has been organized by Nancy Judd, and is circulated through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibition.

Lead Sponsor:

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts is pleased to present Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence, a spectacular overview of a new form of bead art, the ndwango (“cloth”), developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The plain black fabric that serves as a foundation for the Ubuhle women’s exquisite beadwork is reminiscent of the Xhosa headscarves and skirts that many of them wore growing up. By stretching this textile like a canvas, the artists use colored Czech glass beads to transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form of remarkable visual depth. Using skills handed down through generations, and working in their own unique style “directly from the soul” (in the words of artist Ntombephi Ntobela), the women create abstract as well as figurative subjects for their ndwangos.

Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages. It describes the shimmering quality of light on glass and its special spiritual significance for the Xhosa people. From a distance, each panel of the ndwango seems to present a continuous surface; but as the viewer moves closer and each tiny individual bead catches the light, the meticulous skill and labor that went into each work—the sheer scale of ambition—becomes stunningly apparent. A single panel can take more than 10 months to complete.

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC, in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads, and James Green, and is organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.  The local presentation of this exhibition is sponsored, in part, by Elizabeth “Becky” Price.  Select educational programs generously supported by the Bob and Jan Case Endowment for Student Enrichment.

Images: Zanele Muhloli, Portrait of Ntombephi Ntobela, April 2013. © Zanele Muhloli/Ubuhle Artists; Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela, Tribute to My Sister Bongiswa, 2010, glass beads sewn onto fabric; Zanele Muhloli, Portrait of Zandile Ntobela, April 2013. © Zanele Muhloli/Ubuhle Artists.

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America

On view September 21 – December 14, 2019

Lichtenstein Teapot from RRR Exhibition Adagio by Charissa Brock - RRR Exhibition

Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America visually chronicles the history of American basketry from its origins in Native American, European, and African traditions to its contemporary presence in the fine art and craft worlds. The baskets in this exhibition convey meaning and interpret American life through the artists’ choices of materials; the techniques and forms they select; and the colors, designs, patterns, and textures they employ.

Historical baskets were rooted in local landscapes and shaped by cultural traditions. With the increase of mass production brought about by the industrial revolution, basketmakers began to create works for new audiences and markets including tourists and collectors. Today, some contemporary artists seek to maintain and revive traditions performed for centuries. Others combine age-old techniques with nontraditional materials to generate cultural commentary. Still others challenge viewers’ expectations by experimenting with form, materials, scale, and installation.

Divided into four sections – “Cultural Origins,” “Living Traditions,” “Basket as Vessel,” and “Beyond the Basket” – this exhibition of 70 to 75 objects has two primary goals: to model how to look at, talk about, and analyze baskets aesthetically, critically and historically; and to contextualize American basketry within art and craft history specifically and American culture generally.

The exhibition is a collaborative endeavor between the National Basketry Organization and the University of Missouri, curated by Jo Stealey and Kristin Schwain, generously sponsored in part by the National Basketry Organization, University of Missouri, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, and numerous private donors.

 Images: (from left): Kate Anderson, Lichtenstein Teapot/Girl with Ribbon, 2005. Waxed linen thread, stainless steel; Charissa Brock, Adagio, 2013. Tiger bamboo, waxed linen thread. Photos courtesy of the National Basketry Organization.

Forced to Flee presented by Studio Art Quilt Associates

May 25 – August 24, 2019

The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Tech and Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) premiere Forced to Flee. This powerful exhibition features 36 quilts tackling subjects ranging from human conflict to natural disasters. Art quilts have long challenged the notion that quilting is a “comfortable” art form, and in keeping with this idea, Forced to Flee asked participating artists to address an important and timely subject - the global refugee crisis.  

Throughout history people have been forced to flee from their homes for their own safety and survival due to war, oppression, natural disasters, and atrocious human rights violations. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was adopted to address the increasingly growing numbers of people needing protection with the understanding that effective solutions would require international co-operation. That Convention document continues to influence the measures used today to attempt to address the global challenges arising from the current refugee crisis impacting countries across the globe.

Artists were encouraged to illustrate these issues, including their impact on families and communities, the stress placed on host countries, and the need for new initiatives, funding, and international cooperation to find solutions.

Images (from left): Eunhee Lee (South Korea) They Are Also Us. Photo courtesy of the artist; Karin Täuber (USA), Life Jacket Graveyard of Lesvos, 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist;  Diane E. Wespiser (USA), Wanted - A Home, 2018. Photo by Robert Wespiser.


Tanja Boukal: Knitting and Embroidery Gone Rogue

May 25 – August 24, 2019

In conjunction with the art quilt exhibition Forced to Flee, the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Tech presents over seventy-five embroideries and stitched works by Austrian artist and activist Tanja Boukal. Boukal’s art examines socio-political themes, often exposing the challenges of marginalized people in the midst of difficult situations. The artist states, “My starting point is the human dignity. I often place extraordinary people at the center of my works. I do not want to depict them as individual characters, but rather as representatives of people, who are willing to walk long distances to achieve their goals. I give ‘curtain calls’ to people who usually stay out of sight.”

 In the Unfinished Series, Boukal examines the development of the Egyptian revolution. Beginning with the “Day of Revolt” on January 25, 2011, this revolution represents one of the most important movements of the “Arabic spring.” The work is centered on the role of women in Egypt’s revolution. Through handcrafted and vivid embroideries on canvas, the artist explores women’s rights, sexual violence, and the public space. Boukal transcribes the photographic originals using a technique based on the satin stitch technique. By visually highlighting particular women, she emphasizes their important role in Egypt’s progress toward a democracy – a process which is far from over.

In addition, the Center will feature several works from the Those in Darkness Drop from Sight Series.  These compositions - crafted through the intricate technique of illusion or “shadow” knitting - feature notorious women from around the world who play an active role in armed conflicts. The artist examines their representations in society as fighters, heroes, victims and villains.

 Images: Tanja Boukal, Unfinished (Series), 2012 - 2013.  Embroidery on canvas.  Photos courtesy of Bernice Steinbaum Gallery.


Designed to Mobilize: Propaganda Kimono 1920 - 1945


January 26 – May 4, 2019

Now Available: Explore this exhibition’s virtual tour! The Center has partnered with Florida Tech’s Digital Scholarship Lab to provide a unique immersive experience.  


Curated almost exclusively from the Center’s permanent collection, this exhibition presents kimono and associated textiles from one of the most distinctive periods of textile production in Japanese history.

The beginning of the 20th century was a time of momentous change in Japanese society. Successes in early military conflicts fueled economic development and a focus on expansionist ideals. By the end of World War I (1914-1918), the country’s focus on establishing its placement as a modern world leader led to a dedicated emphasis on the development of technology and design.

This exhibition will feature over 75 historic textiles and focus on the iconography, motifs, and metaphors displayed in objects manufactured as propaganda during the World War II era - also known as the Asia-Pacific War (1931 – 1945). Produced within a nation primed to advance its cultural identity on the world stage, textiles provide an important lens for understanding the role of consumerism, coercion and fashion during a remarkable and controversial period of transition.

Designed to Mobilize is made possible through the generous contribution of Erik Jacobsen to the permanent collection of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology. This exhibition is presented with select research conducted by Dr. Rhiannon Paget, Curator of Asian Art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University. Additional scholarship provided by Dr. Jacqueline M. Atkins.

Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints

September 1 – December 15, 2018

This exhibition is a tribute to the century-old handmade designs and patterns on textiles that originated in Indonesia and were copied and industrialized by Europeans and exported to Africa. Wandering Spirit traces the developmental pathway of the African wax print and tells how these fabrics reflect the stories, dreams, and personalities of the people who wear them.

Batik is a Javanese word that refers to a traditional technique of wax-resist dyeing, in which a pattern is made on both sides of cotton fabric with warm liquid wax applied by a tjanting, a small brass cup with a spout. After the wax cools and solidifies, the cloth is dyed with a primary color and the wax is then removed, revealing the pattern where the wax had once been.

The success of the wax prints on the African scene is driven by many factors, such as the culture, taste, and desires of the African consumers. Clothing in Africa serves an important means of communication, sending secret messages and retelling local proverbs. Clothing also depicts a person’s social status and position, political convictions, ambition, marital status, ethnicity, age, sex, and group affiliations. The names and stories associated with the fabrics differ from country to country and region to region. One fabric may have different names in different countries, depending on the symbolism that the consumer can read in the fabric.

The history of the African wax print is a history paved along colonial trade routes and globalization in the post-colonial era. Though not originally African, these textiles have become ingrained in African culture and society, and loved and identified as their own.

A program of Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts. Supplemental exhibition curated by Dr. Gifty Benson and organized by The African Hospitals Foundation, Tulsa, OK.

Select programming made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation for Brevard.

Maggy Rozycki Hiltner: Not Quite Sew

May 19 - August 11, 2018

At first glance, Maggy Rozycki Hiltner’s idealized embroideries – hand-stitched from the salvaged and recycled materials she collects – invoke themes of nostalgia and whimsy. Closer inspection reveals more subversive connotations which explore the artist’s personal and universal critiques of gender, family and intimacy. Sometimes it’s a malicious undertone to the relationships, or a lack of self-control on the part of the characters, or maybe an “otherworldliness” hidden in the everyday.

Fabric and stitching are familiar to most people: a comfortable and innocuous medium. The discarded household goods Hiltner uses have a history of some other person’s place, actions and time. She often finds these trivial decorations to be ominously full of double meanings. Visually, her compositions are characterized by carefully planned, neat stitches in contrast with kinetic, abrupt lines to move the narrative and give voice to the characters.

Hiltner’s work has been featured in art museums and galleries nationwide including Missoula Art Museum, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, and The Textile Museum in Washington D.C. She has been showcased in numerous publications including American Craft, FiberArts and Interview magazines and was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts’ Artist’s Innovation Award for the state of Montana.

The Ruth Funk Center is pleased to present Hiltner’s embroidered textiles in conjunction with the traveling exhibition Apron Strings: Ties to the Past.


Apron Strings: Ties to the Past

May 19 – August 11, 2018

Although taken for granted by many social and art historians, the apron is the subject of a fascinating reevaluation in this exhibition. Apron Strings: Ties to the Past features fifty-one vintage and contemporary examples that review the apron’s role as an emotionally charged vehicle for expression with a rich and varied craft history that is still viable today.

Using aprons dating from the turn of the 20th century through the present, the exhibition chronicles changing attitudes toward women and domestic work. It also surveys the wide range of design and craft techniques apron-makers have used to express themselves, while still working within creative venues traditionally available to women. Today, artists continue using aprons to explore cultural myths and realities as well as their individual experiences with American domesticity.

Apron Strings is organized into several thematic groups addressing design, historical context, use, and cultural message. The exhibition serves as an excellent tool to bring together diverse parts of the community through shared experiences with, and memories of, a common, everyday textile.

A program of Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Coded Couture

January 27 - April 28, 2018

Coded Couture presents garments, video projections, objects, drawings, photographs, and interactive elements by 10 national and international designers. The featured designers each use coding to convert a consumer’s personal information into a custom garment. This traveling exhibition was curated by c2, a curatorial partnership between Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox, and organized by Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York.

Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America

September 23 - December 16, 2017

Hmong flower cloth (or paj ntaub) is one of the world’s great textile traditions and an excellent example of cloth as community. Despite its deep roots in Hmong culture, this complex art was not widely known outside Asia until after the Vietnam War, when Hmong refugees arrived in the United States. The works illustrate the profound relevance of textiles as infrastructure in the Hmong culture, an art form that shifted as it adapted to fit new realities. The exhibition features 28 textiles—flower cloths and embroidered story cloths—by those in the Hmong community.

Organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national part of Mid-America Arts Alliance, the exhibition was first curated in 1999 by Carl Magnuson, a cultural anthropologist, working with a Hmong refugee community. Curatorial updates have been done by Geraldine Craig, who has published more than a hundred essays on contemporary art and Hmong textiles, in venues such as the Hmong Studies Journal, The Journal of Modern Craft, Art in America, and Surface Design Journal.

Cloth as Community is a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Flora & Fiber

May 20 - August 26, 2017

This exhibition, curated from the Center’s permanent collection, explores the use and depiction of flowers and foliage in fiber art. From their ability to visually inspire iconography to their use as raw material for hand-weaving and dyeing, plants have a unique relationship to the creation and adornment of textiles across the globe.

As society advanced toward the modern age, art and design in the Americas and Europe was overwhelmingly influenced by the export of goods, materials and aesthetics from Central, East and South Asia. Lands to the east of Europe served as a source of significant inspiration. Artistic use of floral motifs and materials continue weaving techniques and traditions still practiced by skilled artisans today.

Flora and Fiber presents the botanical sources, application and iconography in textiles from three continents, highlighting Asian textiles’ profound and enduring influence on the development of modern fashion and design.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the John K. and Julia R. Roach Fund of the Community Foundation for Brevard.

Traditional Arts of the Bedouin

January 28 – April 29, 2017

The Saudi Arabian Bedouin, or the Bedu, are iconic nomads of the Middle East. Immortalized in films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Arabian Bedouin have captured the imagination of the Western world since their first contact with Europeans during Napoleon's conquest of Egypt in the 18th century. This romantic myth of the Bedu wanderer, who wears flowing robes while riding a camel in search of food and water in the desert, is far from accurate. Bedouin people are diverse, skilled craftspeople, dedicated to family, hospitality, and honor. This exhibition focuses on aspects of traditional Bedouin life that survive today: home and family life, clothing and jewelry, and the importance of one's herds to survival and prosperity.

Visitors to the exhibition will learn how Bedouin arts and crafts frequently bridge the gap between aesthetic and utilitarian purposes, as well as recognize the unique tenacity of Bedouin traditions in an ever-changing political, social, and environmental landscape.

Traditional Arts of the Bedouin reveals the Bedouin to be artists with a legacy of incredible work, not widely known outside their own cultures. The featured jewelry shows each artist’s use of obscure techniques, such as crenellation, to produce intricate pieces. Bedouin weaving, still crafted on a stick loom, demonstrates ancient knowledge of natural dyes and fibers, and traditional patterns; while the women who create textiles use native stitches, not known outside the Bedouin world, to embroider meaning into the objects.

The exhibition, curated by Dr. Amber Clifford-Napoleone of the University Museum at the University of Central Missouri, includes approximately fifty-three artworks and artifacts, from elaborately embroidered textiles and embellished metalwork to ceremonial coffee accouterments and incense burners; as well as several photographs depicting Bedouin craftspersons at work.

A program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.