Adams, Renie Breskin

          In recent years images created by Renie Adams are digital sketches relating to her work in fiber art, which began in the 1960s.  Her early works in woven and constructed textiles were abstract studies in color and pattern.  Eventually she wanted to make pictures in threads and found that she could do it in embroidery, free of technical constraints, much like a painter.  Even though she loved paintings, she had no patience for the process.  Stitching, on the other hand, is meditative and had produced many pieces over thirty-five years, at which time her hands began to hurt.  She then became engrossed in making digital pictures – finishing digital sketches and making new pictures and picture books.  “Catato and Friends” is her first hard bound picture book.

           Adams was also inspired by the content of her daydreams or dreams, transforming them into abstract and entertaining (often silly) narratives.  Sometimes the images would be worked out through intuition, scribbles, or happy accidents, finding a form that captures a dream.  The meaning of a picture may be vague or incomplete, left open to the viewer’s interpretation, but each title is a smile guaranteed.

            Renie Breskin Adams is Professor Emeritus from the School of Art – Fiber at Northern Illinois University.  She has enjoyed international recognition for her works in narrative embroidered pictures, many now in public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D. C.; the Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, Racine, Wisconsin; and the Museum of Art and Design, New York City.

            See her art gallery and blog at

            “Not So Still” original digital visual art still life compositions by Renie B. Adams.  “I made these still life compositions in my computer by drawing, coloring, and assembling collages with a stylus on an electronic pad that displays the imagery on my computer screen.  Composing in the computer is fun and time flies.  The images exist on paper only if I print them.

            What do the prints mean?  Still life objects come with intrinsic value as symbols of home and daily life.  Some of the things in my pictures are drawn from real objects and some are imaginary, all of them arranged in imaginary spaces.  The intimate, domestic context of my work is a meaningful fit, arising from thoughts about childhood, nurturing, and civility.  My still life compositions may stand for emotional and mental states, loneliness, for example, either by intention or as meaning that comes to me in the process of making the picture or even after the picture is done.  Sometimes my still life forms are an essential part of a narrative composition, a picture with a sense of story-telling, recording events, or commenting on art and life.

            A still life may be called a still life because it pictures inanimate objects.  The objects, however, are transformed in a picture, made subjective, conveying personal forms and meanings that can be moving.  If a still life moves you to new or renewed thought and feeling, then I think the still life is not so still.”