Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
October 23, 1998

Textile artist reveals personal journey in Brunnier retrospective

by Marilyn Vaughan, University Museums

Robert Hillestad, a noted Nebraska textile artist and teacher, has long used fiber to create coats, dance costumes and wall hangings that mark important events in his life and rituals in our society. A retrospective of his work, "Robert Hillestad: Threads of Celebration," opens Nov. 1 at the Brunnier Art Museum.

The exhibition provides an overview of the 20 years he has devoted to his craft and records his personal journey.

"Work is the most enduring relationship I have had in my life," Hillestad said. "I have always turned to it in moments of joy and moments of sorrow. My work is like a diary."

Hillestad will talk about his art Sunday, Nov. 1, at a 4 p.m. reception in the museum.

Hillestad combines traditional methods of manipulating fiber and fabric with experimental approaches. His celebration coats, of which there are about 100, are wearable garments of innovative construction, unusual materials and brilliant colors.

Recently retired from the University of Nebraska, Hillestad now works full-time at his art. The Brunnier will have one of his garments available to try on.

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