AU archives features new textile exhibit
A new exhibit at Athabasca University (AU) is highlighting the work of an artist who made significant contributions to Alberta’s post-war arts culture—teaching clothing and textiles, interior design, and art at the University of Alberta.
And before moving to Alberta in 1946, Helen S. Petersen Bentley’s accomplishments as a student and professor were already significant, which was unusual for a woman in the 1930s and 40s.
A collection of her work has been donated to the Thomas A. Edge archives, and thanks to the work of her daughter Ann Bentley Manson and AU’s archivists, that collection is now available to the public in the next exhibit, titled, Helen S. Petersen Bentley, BSc, MSc: Student, Educator, Artist.
The exhibit features materials from her time as a post-secondary student, and tells the story of a woman who was excited to learn, and who channeled her energy and artistry into a wide variety of projects.
Bentley was born in the United States to Danish immigrant parents, and developed a love of learning early on in life. She earned a bachelor of science in applied art in 1936, and a master of science in applied art in 1940 after submitting her thesis Hand Wrought Candlesticks of Original Design.
In the early 1940s, she taught decorative needlework, textile design and advanced crafts at the University of Minnesota, before she and her husband moved to Alberta. She was an influential figure through her work with the Edmonton Weaver’s Guild and the Edmonton Needlecraft Guild, while continuing to design and execute her own creations.
There is a small exhibit of artifacts in a display cabinet outside the Archives in the ARC building at AU’s main campus in Athabasca, along with a larger, corresponding online exhibit featuring additional materials located here: http://archives.athabascau.ca/arc_program/online_exhibits/helen_bentley/index.php.