PERSONAL: Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago, B.A.E., 1964; graduate study at Winthrop College.
ADDRESSES: Home— Lexington, KY. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Professional artist with studio in Lexington, KY; writer and speaker on weaving techniques and the history of weaving in Southern Appalachia. Complex Weavers Newsletter, editorial coordinator, 1980-84; The Guild Record, Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, editor, 1990-94. Exhibitions: Has exhibited original artworks in more than two hundred juried, invitational, and solo shows in the United States and has served as curator of exhibits in Kentucky and Michigan.
MEMBER: Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Kentucky Craft Marketing, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
AWARDS, HONORS: Certificate of excellence, Hand-weavers Guild of America 1976; Alden B. Dow Creativity Fellowship, Alden B. Dow Creativity Center, 1987; Al Smith Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council, 1993; grants from Kentucky Foundation for Women, 1995, Appalachian Community Development Association, Appalachian Center of Berea College, McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina, Lexington Arts and Cultural Council, American Crafts Council, arts councils in North Carolina and Kentucky, and humanities councils in five states, including Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
(Editor) Crafts of Armenia, International Executive Service Corps [Armenia], 2003.
Weavers of the Southern Highlands, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2003.
Weavers of the Southern Highlands: The Early Years in Gatlinburg, 1991.
Weavers of the Southern Highlands: Penland, 1992.
The Weaving Room of Crossnore School, Inc., 1998.
Also author of other pamphlets. Contributor to books, including American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, edited by Jan Harold Brunvard, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1996, and Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2006. Author of column, “Notes of a Pattern Weaver,” Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot, 1982-84, and The Weavers Journal, 1984-87. Contributor to periodicals, including Art across Kentucky, Art Papers, and Dialogue.
SIDELIGHTS: Philis Alvic is a textile artist and a specialist on early twentieth-century weaving in the southern Appalachians. Her book Weavers of the Southern Highlands explores the history of the weaving centers that were founded and run as part of a larger social movement that aimed to provide meaningful employment for Appalachian women, while also helping them to preserve their unique regional artworks. Some of the documentation Alvic used to prepare her text has been donated to the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In her book, she gives histories of various weaving centers, their financial histories and marketing approaches, and the cultural conflicts that arose there. Library Journal critic Eloise R. Hitchcock called it “well researched” and of value to historical collections.
Alvic told CA:“I first started writing magazine articles about technical weaving subjects as a way to publicize my own work. In 1988, I attended the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia, for an artist retreat. I discovered the weaving of Mary Hambidge and wanted other people to know about her. That writing led me to research weavers throughout Appalachia and finally to write Weavers of the Southern Highlands. Even though it is written to stand up to scholarly scrutiny, I hope that people without Ph.D.s will find these stories of energetic, courageous women engaging.
“The University Press of Kentucky has offered me a contract for a crafts development book that draws on my experiences from international consulting on crafts marketing and product design. Again I am writing a book that I wanted to read, but did not find in the marketplace.
“I write to convey ideas and contribute to an accessible body of knowledge. I strive to present concepts clearly and concisely. I prefer to [let the readers make] value judgements based on materials that I have collected.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Journal of Southern History, August, 2004, Eileen Boris, review of Weavers of the Southern Highlands, p. 709.
Library Journal, March 15, 2003, Eloise R. Hitchcock, review of Weavers of the Southern Highlands, p. 79.
Library of the University of North Carolina Web site, http://www.lib.unc.edu/ (December 12, 2006), biographical information about Philis Alvic.