The Edges of Belonging (and Not Belonging)


The cover art for this year’s Olympia Arts Walk map is fabric art by Faith Hagenhofer. The piece is called “Held Dear” and features a baby’s onesie, perhaps the most evocative of all memorabilia, surrounded by squares with a ruffled edge and topped by a fan. The onesie is a deep purple called logwood.

All the materials are plant-dyed, one from a Brazilian tree and the others from plants Hagenhofer gathered in her garden. The cotton coral square uses madder (rubia tinctorum). The fan and side ruffles are the same silk fabric, dyed with common elderberry.

“The form is intended to awaken a connection to Retablo,”Hagenhofer explains, “a little niche-like, devotional, focused toward loss in a more sacred, deliberately considered way.”

Hagenhofer was born and raised on Staten Island, New York, but moved to rural Washington when she was 20 years old. She’s been a felt maker for 25 years and has raised sheep for materials over the past 15 years. She lives and works on Hercules Farm, located in the fields below the Hercules Quarry in Tenino, where she grows the plants for her dyes.

Among many other exhibitions, Hagenhofer’s work has been shown at Textile Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Santa Paula Art Museum in California and in three juried shows at South Puget Sound Community College. Her installation 30 Days & 30 Nights was featured in the last Arts Walk.

Hagenhofer creates both two- and three-dimensional work with found and homemade fabrics and dyes from homegrown, organic plants. “I investigate what connotes social inside and outside-ness,” she says, “the edges of belonging [and] not belonging, which might be called social liminality. My work visually explores issues of forced, voluntary, climate-driven, individual and group migrations, the diasporatic and global movements of people and peoples. Whether focused on refugees, immigration, tourism, settler colonialism, inherent nostalgias or urban-rural divides, it is the forces, phases, longings and journeys people engage in that focus my creative choices. These historical and contemporary themes reach everywhere, touching both leavers and those who stay behind.”

She goes on to say, “My latest work allows me to further consider and reframe themes of migration, flight, dislocation, displacement from home and compelled leave-taking. The exploration of these themes have informed both my sculptural and two-dimensional work for years now.”


Faith Hagenhofer


Art House Designs,

420 Franklin St. SE, Olympia


5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4;

Noon – 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5


Free (artwork for sale)