My Ancestors Came Here with Skills

Toni Kersey

visit artist's website

Participated Year: 2020

How did showing in the exhibition impact your career as an artist?

“Showing in the exhibition opened me up to wider audience exposure and allowed me to sell a piece of my work.”

Artist Statement

Using hand dyed, painted, and commercial fabrics my quilts are rooted in explorations of my personal, spiritual, and cultural identity. I use strip and scrap piecing as the basic design motif to make a statement on the African American woman’s ability to transcend humble circumstances and create beauty from limited resources. Additionally, I freehand cut the textiles in order that the quilts maintain the quality of coming from the hand. Improvisation guides my inspiration through textiles and mixed media. I call this approach “spirit dancing” because I am following my intuition in the moment. By visually referencing percussive rhythms and movement, which is a thread that runs throughout the African diaspora, I am alluding to a shared cultural experience of African communities that reside throughout the diaspora.

My work is concentrated on developing a creative language using abstraction that translates visual rhythm and movement of the African diaspora into an examination of multiculturalism and identity. My goal is to create pieces that explore color, pattern, rhythms and design using various techniques including dying, drawing, beading, and embroidery.

Artist Biography

Toni Kersey is an award winning mixed media fiber artist and educator living and working in Springfield, Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. After teaching visual arts for many years at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, she began to pursue painting on fabric which led to her current interest in creating art quilts and has been creating fiber art since 2005. Ms. Kersey’s work has been featured in such publications as “500 Art Quilts and Artistry in Fiber Volume 1 Wall Hangings.”

Toni’s work is focused on abstraction that incorporates dyeing, painting, photo transfer, typography, commercial fabric, stitching, and embellishment. Her work has been exhibited throughout North America in juried and group exhibitions and internationally as part of the Art in the Embassies program in both Chad and Ethiopia and is included in corporate and private collections.

Publications include; “Artistry in Fiber Volume 1”, “American Corporate Identity 4”, and “500 Art Quilts/Lark Books.”

Corporate and private collections include: HealthPartners Insurance Corporation and The Colored Girls Museum.