A teacher by day, a weaver by night

Alum weaves stories with vivid textile arts

Amber (Sollenberger) Kane ’07
Artist and art teacher
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Much like the intricate scarves she weaves on her loom, art education graduate Amber (Sollenberger) Kane ’07 follows her own pattern as an artist. What began as an elective weaving course at Messiah now has led Kane to combine her love of art with a passion for teaching with people of all ages.

By day, Kane works as an art teacher at Boiling Springs High School in Boiling Springs, Pa., where she offers instruction in sculpting, photography and jewelry making.

At the beginning of her career, Kane quickly found herself looking for advice on some of the art techniques she had less experience with. “Even after I graduated from Messiah, I was able to call Professor Gene Vandyke and Professor Christine Forsythe to get a crash course in jewelry making and advice on other classes,” said Kane. “Knowing I could do that was wonderful.”

Her professors were happy to help a former student. “Amber is a very fine example of a hard worker,” said Forsythe, chair of the Department of Visual Arts. “This is an example of how not knowing something is not going to stop her. She sees it as an opportunity to learn and will to do what it takes [to succeed].”

Once the last bell rings for the day, Kane returns to her studio in the Mechanicsburg home she shares with her husband, where her own artwork awaits. Equipped with a loom she purchased after graduation, she weaves intricate scarves made of yarn and metal pieces, which she sells at galleries, art shows and on her online shop. Her inventory also includes other textile art pieces such as throw blankets, table runners and rugs.

Want to know more?
To read some of Kane’s scarf stories and to learn more about the art of weaving, check out her blog fabricatedends.blogspot.com.
You can find Kane’s work for sale in her Etsy shop: http://etsy.com/shop/amberkane. Prices range from $50-$300.

Eschewing the traditional precise measurements of weaving, Kane incorporates a sense of discovery and experimentation in her work instead. “My style has emerged from not following a pattern,” said Kane. “Each one of my creations is unique. Sometimes, I like to put the fibers on the loom and see what happens. The process of surprise and discovery and the ability to incorporate my personality to the craft of weaving is why it’s fun for me.”

Recently, Kane began to name and tell a story about each scarf, building invaluable personal relationships with her customers. “I write the stories to capture what is going on while I create the scarf,” said Kane. “For me, I am able to go back and see the journey of where I was going and how that got incorporated in my work. It forms a surprising relationship you wouldn’t think a scarf would do.”

One introductory weaving course at Messiah led to hours of dedication on her loom and a recent master’s degree in creative studies from the University of Vermont. Through her craft, Kane displays a true love of weaving and an appreciation for creating wearable works of art.

“Seeing someone put on one my scarves and watching their face light up with confidence,” said Kane, “that’s what I love.”

-Erin Bray ’10

Posted in 2007, Alumni, Art Education, Arts, Majors & Minors | Comments Off

Posted on September 12th, 2012

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