The Ethereal Textiles of Sister Mary Remy Revor

The Ethereal Textiles of Sister Mary Remy Revor

Branches by Sister Mary Remy Revor

Branches by Sister Mary Remy Revor; textile, blockprint, batik and silkscreen on silk; 3 yds. x 42 in. 

Humorous, self-deprecating, and a true master of her craft is how the journal, Wisconsin Architect, described Sister Mary Remy Revor, SSND, in a May 1967 article. While her humility was certainly an outgrowth of her religious calling, her talent for creating elaborate textiles constructed of silk, wool, or linen and printed with colorful patterns and textures from batik, linoleum block, and silk screen techniques demonstrated a confident and creative eye for design.   

Born in 1914, Sister Remy first became interested in art as a college student at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts before moving on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1946, she began teaching at Mount Mary, a position she held for more than 40 years. During the summers, she would travel down to Tennessee to teach at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She also traveled extensively to study textiles in countries like Finland, Sweden, West Africa, Egypt, and Israel. 

In 1967, Sister Remy received the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) Craftsmanship Medal for her unique textiles. With this award, she was ranked alongside the likes of Anni Albers, Charles Eames, and Paolo Soleri – all nominated for the same award in years prior. Receiving medals and awards, however, was nothing new to her. All throughout the 1960s, '70s, and '80s this ambitious nun was bequeathed with honors including multiple Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen Award (1956, 1958-1961), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in Textiles (1962), a National Merit Award from the ACC (1966), and a Fulbright Scholarship (1970). 

Though Sister Remy died in 1998, her legacy lives on through her works in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and North Carolina State University. An archive of slides, photographs, letters, and news clippings about her can also be found in the ACC Library and documentation of her activities with the ACC can be found in the Library's Digital Collections Database.

Throwback Thursday is a weekly series highlighting visuals from the American Craft Council Library's Digital Collections Database. Check back on Thursdays for more.