the artist

Bhakti Ziek

Bhakti Ziek

New York City, NY

Bhakti Ziek

The process of weaving takes hundreds of individual threads, and combines them into a cohesive plane. It is the perfect metaphor for how we build our lives from multiple identities and interests into a singular personality. Weaving doesn’t always yield narratives, but in my work, the resulting combination of images and words reveal a propensity towards storytelling. Rooted in the physical making of my work, I honor the skill that has developed in my hands from years of weaving; and I listen for the insights that arise from my hands to my head, and vice versa.

Buddhist literature talks about the constant chatter of jumping thoughts as “monkey mind.” For many years, I have tried to map my mental activities in a series of woven digital collages. Just as thoughts loop, certain imagery is found again and again—my handwritten calculations for converting images into physical threads, repetitive counting, diagrams, and glimpses of nature are some of the phenomena that fill my head and these canvases.

The nature of weaving itself is also a constant theme in my work. And since I consider all work as studies, just one step on the path from here to there—and who knows where there is going to end up being—my weavings often involve notations about how they are made, diagrams of weave drafts, and recordings of their materials.

It all adds up to a holistic life with weaving as the thread that has held it all together for more than fifty years. One has to fill the minutes, hours, days and years that are given to you with something, and I have chosen the activity of weaving. Perhaps weaving chose me. In any case I see my life as the latest iteration in the long line of weavers that stretch back beyond recorded history.

Fast Facts

Name: Bhakti Ziek


Place of Birth:  New York City, NY

MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1989
BFA from University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1980
BA from State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, 1968

Significant or special training:
Lived in Guatemala and studied backstrap weaving with Mayan weavers in the early 70s (approx 1972-1976)

Notable or memorable instructors or mentors:
Gerhardt Knodel at Cranbrook Academy of Art; Cynthia Schira at University of Kansas

Particular field of study or class work:
Weaver, specialist in jacquard weaving

Major influences:
abstract expressionists, ethnographic weavers from around the world including from Safavid and Ottoman empires

Admired artists:
Mark Goodwin; Brice Marden; Agnes Martin

Favorite materials or media:

School or university affiliation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
I was head of textile design at Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science

Gallery Representation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Form & Concept, Santa Fe, NM

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