Bonnie Peterson


Artist Statement

I use embroidery to investigate cultural and environmental issues. Mixing a variety of source materials such as scientific data and early explorer’s journals, I stitch words and numerical graphs on silk and velvet fabrics to make large narrative wall hangings and a series of annotated topographic maps.

My recent projects examine geophysical climate issues inspired by a series of collaborations with scientists. I seek simple explanations for the important principles in environmental science and attempt to convey simple and complex layers of meaning.

The foundation for each project begins with developing an understanding of published research and climate data generated by satellite instruments and other exploratory data collection tools. Conversations with scientists help me interpret key concepts and clarify their context and relevance.

My interest in climate science is motivated by backpacking trips in California’s Sierra mountain range. Lengthy walks and primitive exploration integrate the impacts of contemporary society and historical context and provide a novel opportunity for the consideration of current events and ethical questions.


Bonnie Peterson is a textile artist investigating environmental and social issues. Recently she worked with scientists studying fire ecology, atmospheric science and lake chemistry to make artwork about climate science. She was an artist-in-residence at Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Isle Royale, and Crater Lake National Parks. Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and in many private collections. Peterson has an extensive exhibition and grant funding record including four individual artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a grant from the Illinois Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and other awards. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana and an MBA from DePaul University. Originally from the Chicago area, she recently relocated to Houghton, Michigan and has a studio there.
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