James honored as 'Master of the Medium'

Michael James (l); Land's End Quiet Hour (r)

James honored as 'Master of the Medium'

04 Mar 2015    

Michael James, department chair and Ardis James Professor of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been selected by the James Renwick Alliance (JRA) as one of five craft artists in the country to receive its annual Masters of the Medium Award. James is widely recognized as one of the founding leaders of the non-traditional or “art quilt” movement launched in the 1970s.

JRA has been presenting the awards since 1997 to recognize American craft artists in the areas of ceramics, fiber, glass, metal and wood who have changed how people perceive studio crafts. Award criteria include demonstration of consummate craftsmanship in the field, influence in the medium and contributions to the craft field. James will receive the award at the organization’s Spring Craft Weekend March 26-29 in Washington, D.C. For more information on JRA and the activities of Spring Craft Weekend, visit jra.org.

James has served in his present role in the College of Education and Human Sciences at UNL since 2005. Prior to his assuming duties as chair he was a professor and, earlier, a senior lecturer at UNL. From 1975-2000, James was an independent studio artist, writer, lecturer and workshop leader. He works in the medium of quilted fabric constructions, and his textiles have been recognized and exhibited internationally. They are included in the collections of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City, the Racine Art Museum, the Newark Museum, the Mint Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Shelburne Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian, among others.

“It’s a much appreciated honor to have been selected for this recognition by one of the leading studio craft support groups in the country,” James said. “The Renwick is widely known for its comprehensive collection of significant American craft, and the Renwick Alliance has worked aggressively to expand audiences for this area of the visual arts. To receive their endorsement at this stage in my career is extremely gratifying.”

The UNL community as well as regional audiences will have the opportunity to see James’ work up close from June 5, 2015 through February 28, 2016, when the International Quilt Study Center & Museum on UNL’s east campus mounts “Ambiguity and Enigma: Recent Quilts by Michael James,” a solo exhibition that will include more than a dozen new works not previously shown.

For more information about James’ work, visit http://michaeljamesstudioquilts.com.

Writer: Brad Stauffer, College of Education and Human Sciences


Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design
College of Education and Human Sciences