Joan Kennedy: Journey Fiber Arts

Guest artist at TBD

WKE Fine Craft Studio Tour Committee Member


Joan is a fiber artist who translates the natural world into fiber art in her Downtown West Bend, WI studio. A lifelong maker and art student, Joan found her artistic voice later in life. Determined to push her knowledge and skill with fibers as far as possible, Joan has developed her signature techniques through trial and error, continually learning about the natures of her materials, reclaimed knitted wool fabrics, wool yarns and fabric dyes, and how they behave when felted. Joan is drawn to wool felting because of the transformation the wool makes during felting from a soft, flat fabric into a sturdy three-dimensional shape. The warmth and softness of the fibers, along with a sensation of liveliness, are comforting to her as she creates, and to those who experience her finished work.

Joan layers different wool types, most often merino wool and cashmere, using their varied responses to felting, along with several fabric dyeing techniques, to create dimension and to imply the sources of her inspiration.

She makes functional art to celebrate self-reliance, along with the joy of creating and using individually handmade articles. Through her work, Joan honors the millions of women who came before her, most notably her mother and grandmother, who passed down their handwork skills and the tradition of creating beautiful functional items essential to their daily lives.

Joan has been a member of the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council for ten years, and has served on their Board of Directors for five years, serving the past three as Treasurer.