me.

 

I am a practicing fibers artist, teacher, and community leader. I have a BFA and MFA in Fiber Arts and have also received an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Edgewood College. My dissertation work explored the impact of an arts-based media literacy program on the leadership efficacy of adolescent girls. Included in this study were 19 middle school girls who participated in an after-school, arts-based media literacy curricula known as Project Girl. I have worked with this amazing program for three years and have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of girls in the State of Wisconsin. My research inspired further collaboration with girls and artists in Madison, WI. I co-wrote a grant with a Ph.D. student in Theater from UW-Madison, resulting in an after-school program that gave middle school girls the tools to develop, write, and perform their own play.

I’m also a mom of twin girls who is inspired by girls, art, collaboration, and the community. If you want to email me you can reach me at elkeown@gmail.com

Photo on 4-21-17 at 5.24 PM

I am a maker, a storyteller, a dreamer. I can’t help but want to draw a memory, a conversation, a scene; it is a need like breath.  I lose myself in tactile piles and let the material lead me to an answer. I am a maker, I use what have, I use what moves me. Most often my work starts as a drawing, as a series of drawings, as piles of drawings, or as rolls of drawings. Small ink drawings of myself in a raw quirky form. I draw pictures of myself crying, sleeping, dancing, driving, peeing, and singing, because that is the human in us all.

My work is and has always been influenced by the ideas about what it means to be a woman.

A beautiful woman

A successful woman

A happy woman

As I have changed and my role has grown, my work has grown. I see how popular culture and current research provide such conflicting messages to girls and women. My stories and pieces reflect on work I do in the community with mothers, teenagers, and children, human beings living in real time within and against these messages.

My current body of work steps into my world, the life of a stay at home mom of twin toddler girls and reaches back to the history of women and mothers who used these same tools. It includes drawings, photographs, painting, quilting, building structures, reflective writing, community work, and research.

I make things with food on the floor under the kitchen table when I’m hiding from my kids.

I draw small moments that could be quickly forgotten.

I watch my kids send puffballs down paper towel tubes and then I use tape, cups, pipe cleaners, and whatever else I can reach to help them make kinetic sculptures.

I write about teaching and reaching out, about mothers who doubt themselves, about confidence and fear.

I look for wonder in every move a child makes.

I watch failure become motivation.

And I research and develop curriculum to reach out to youth and give them art and a language to share their truths.