Celebrated Designer Will Share Fashion Inspiration at Colorado State April 17, with Gallery Opening April 25

A celebrated studio artist and design educator will share his fashion inspiration and the historical influence on his colorful and dazzling styles at a public lecture at Colorado State University April 17.

Robert Hillestad, a renowned fiber artist and professor emeritus from the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Design at the University of Nebraska, will speak at 7 p.m. at Ammons Hall in the President’s Room on the Colorado State campus. Refreshments will be served at a reception to follow the event. The event is free and open to the public.

"The presentation will focus on Rob Hillestad’s work as a fiber artist and will undoubtedly demystify the thought process – inspiration, theoretical frameworks and validation – behind the work of designers and fiber artist," said Eulanda Sanders, assistant professor of design and merchandising at Colorado State.

The Gustafson Gallery opening at 4 p.m. April 25 will include garments and wall pieces of Hillestad’s work as a fiber artist over the past several years. The exhibit also will include installation pieces created with students during his tenure as artist-in-residence at Colorado State.

"His work displays an incredible sense of color and is a celebration of textile textures through various construction techniques such as knitting, dyeing, binding and embroidery," said Sanders. "His work is extremely labor intensive and highly, aesthetically visual."

During Hillestad’s visit to Colorado State in April, he will conduct several workshops, lecture on a number of topics including sources of design inspiration, professional presentation techniques and multicultural research used to create repeat fabric designs, trends in domestic and foreign fashion industries and design and methods of research applicable to design and merchandising.

"I use the concept of dance as a metaphor in describing my work," said Hillestad. "Through the medium of fiber and a wide range of interrelated techniques, I work toward creating dazzling effects of rhythm and movement. The goal of my choreography is to prompt viewers to look at textiles in a new way. Although consumers are supplied by industry with many beautiful textiles, they are often programmed to look at them from the prospective of function and the dictates of fashion."

Hillestad earned degrees in art and design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Drexel University in Philadelphia as well as a doctorate degree in clothing and textiles at Ohio State University. He did post-graduate work at the Art Institute of Chicago and graduated from Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in Paris.

Hillestad has participated in more than 150 juried and invitational shows in the United States and abroad and has been the recipient of numerous awards. His art work is included in many corporate, private and museum collections including the Sheldon Memorial Gallery in Lincoln, Neb., the Museum of Nebraska Art and the Kwangu City Folk Museum in Korea. Images of his work have appeared in more than 50 publications in printed and electronic media including The Surface Design Journal, American Craft, Ornament, "Fiber Arts Design Book Two," "Fiber Arts Design Book Three," several textbooks, and three videos including "The Picture Show" narrated by Vincent Price.