Patty Aker


The 2017-2018 Artist in Residency Program is supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Art Education Association and Kohler Foundation, Inc. 

About Patty Aker

Growing up in England in the Swing’ 60’s exposed me to Mary Quant fashion, Twiggy, James Bond and the Beatles.  I was seduced by the glamour of that era.  I pursued a more conventional path and finally in my Autumnal years I am able to explore the fiber arts that tried to lure me years ago.

Various studio experiences and credit classes at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and the University of Wisconsin Sheboygan have enhanced my knowledge and interest.

My fiber art work started when asked to create a baptismal banner for my church. I endeavored to paint on silk. The project took many months of trial and error, but the experience was so wonderful and addictive that it has spurned a cottage venture, Gaelic Sands.

I have exhibited in many juried shows, group and solo shows. Venues include U.W. Sheboygan, Plymouth Art Center, St. Nicholas Hospital,  Inspiration Studios in Milwaukee, the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac, Latitude Art, Sheboygan Visual Artists shows, Lakeshore Art Supplies, JMKAC and many local coffee houses.

Artist Kay Jelinek and I team up to exhibit together as our art is both colorful and abstract. Our art pieces were exhibited at nine venues in the past year.  Kay and I have also juried a couple of shows, one being a WRAP event in Fond du Lac.

I also conduct instructional demonstrations and workshops in galleries and for community organizations.  I teach silk painting and batik at John Michael Kohler Art Center (JMKAC).

I’m particularly happy that in January 2009, I trained as a docent at JMKAC in Sheboygan.  I enjoy the docent workshops with children of all ages.  The continuing training and education provided by JMKAC is unparalleled.  This, plus joining a website based art group surrounds me with enthusiastic art-centered people and provides me with drive and inspiration for my work.   

Patty’s Schedule

Patty will be at Sheboygan North on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am – 2pm.

Please fill out the form to contact her.

Patty’s Artist Statement

Image courtesy of the artist.

My esthetic leans towards simple, modern and dramatic compositions, reflecting on nature’s tessellations.  I admire Master artists such as David Hocking, Sonia Delaunay, Matisse and Picasso!

I enjoy designing abstracts with an organic slant, working with layers of paint and resists and employing different techniques to build on texture.  The result belies the simplicity of my craft.   Occasionally, I include the written word or my favorite poetry to complete a piece.

The love of fashion and sewing draws me to fiber arts.  Silk is my canvas; it is a very forgiving medium.  Colors evolve intensely to produce the drama I want in the fabric.

Painting on silk is such an exciting experience.  The paints are uncontrollable upon touching the silk and take on a life of their own, swirling, pushing, and merging into amazing contortions of vibrant color.  The dye flow is tamed by various methods and the result is always a visual, textural surprise.

Experimentation is endless and after a decade plus of playing and practice, I am still thrilled at every unexpected image or design.

My latest body of work reflects our fragile environment and the impact humans have on the earth, especially bees.  Also, I’m contemplating how heritage and immigration affects relationships within communities. 

Art Happenings with Patty

SUNday, decEMBER 10th 2017

Week 12

On Monday, I worked on a clergy stole of silk for a pastor.  I also planned for an ArtPlosions in Mr. Soik’s class, and on Thursday I presented the idea.

The collaborative idea was to enlarge a print of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and create a design within the image of the man.

Beth’s class painted by rolling rubber balls soaked in color in a large tray with paper on the bottom surface.  The students really enjoyed this project as they could control the balls by tilting the tray back and forth.

Art Club continued these past weeks, with each student painting a silk hoop.

Week 11

I took home and DVD documentary Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality and I made notes.

Art in room 25 was Christmas décor painting that is to be displayed in the auditorium during a play that will be presented later in December.

Week 10

Week ten was Thanksgiving week; I had plenty of time to do my own work. It was a very productive session.

Week 9

H. Humanities class’ discussion was about prehistoric man and art discoveries.

Beth’s class stamped leaves on paper.  Also, Ruff Academy therapy dogs visited and I was so touched by the response of the students.  One boy was especially jubilant.  He has a fondness for German Shepherds. The dogs were so gentle and loved the attention.

SUNday, NOVEMBER 12th 2017

Week eight of AIR at NHS

Week eight I started drawing a bee picture.

During Art Club on Tuesday, students designed stamps and there are twelve individual medallion designs ready to be added to the collaborative art banner.

Mr. Soik Honors Humanities class conducted discussion panels of four students. 

Beth’s Room 25 painted silk handkerchiefs. The shibori method was used and each student produced a beautiful floral design.

Friday, NOVEMBER 10th 2017

Week seven of AIR at NHS

My art took a tangent this week.  I enjoy using filters to distort my photographs.  I had some of these pictures printed mini poster size so that I can paint the distortions.  I will not copy the printed posters but use them for inspiration to produce unique pieces.  It’s great to have solitude in the studio to pursue these ideas that have been ‘filed’ in my head for a very long time.  I so appreciate my time as Artist in Residence at North High School!

Art Club on Tuesday after school was not well attended as it was Halloween.  The few dedicated artists created stamps to be added to the IMC banner in the next week or so.

Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class explored their creative side on week seven.  The discussion was about the rapid progress of Artificial Intelligence and technology. ” Is progress ruining our beautiful world?”, were some of the quandaries students were grappling with this week.  Artplosion is the word Mr. Soik uses to name the class sessions of creativity.  Students produced and submitted great artworks: collage, sculpture, origami and digital.

In room 25, students chose colored rectangles and triangles to create a house and added numbers of their address.  There was a very fine green and yellow house created!

 Eileen Urness, our next Artist in Residence visited the Art Department at NHS.


Week six of AIR at NHS

I was painting silk fabric rock images and finished the work. I was going to cut out individual rocks and glue onto canvas pictures, but I’ll keep the silk in one piece and frame it.  This is some of the joy of constantly experimenting in art, you can change the idea/plan midstream: no rules; never paint in the lines!  The one piece rock silk looked like stained glass, I framed it and entered the picture into the Sheboygan Visual Artists show: Sheboygan Rocks!

Art Club is on Tuesdays after school, the students continued working on their silk pieces and there are seven circles finished to add to the banner.

On Thursday,  I joined Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class. The students continued reading Feed and viewed an artist’s film ‘Manufactured Landscapes’ about manmade ugliness replacing beautiful, scenic nature and the landscape becomes a desolate void or a jungle of concrete and steel.

Beth Cesario’s class painted the blank side of the 3D houses of foam board, I think the students enjoyed the messy session!

 TUESDAY, October 24th 2017

Week five of AIR at NHS

Architectural elements seemed to be the theme of week five of AIR at North High School.  I viewed at Honors Humanities video of modern architecture photographer Julius Shulman, which triggered an idea for room 25 class.  This outline can also be an option for the future Honors Humanities art project.

The students in Beth’s class used shower scrub ‘poufs’ to add paint color and interesting texture to foam board house shapes.  The house shapes were slotted together to make the project 3D.  The result was reasonably successful; the paint moisture warped the foam boards a little.  The table protector paper was also painted with the shower ‘poufs’ and the students had a good time with their free spirited art session!

Eight Art Club participants are working on a collaborative banner to hang in the IMC.  Each student has designed a piece of silk reflecting some essence of themselves.  Every art work is excellent, reflecting the designer’s talent and interests.  Looking forward to week six’s session of actually adding paint color to the silk!

My personal work was to start five 6×6 inch cradle boards to create an insect series for entry into Manitowoc’s Rahr West art gallery exhibit for next month. I also finished up some silk hoop demo pieces for Saturday, October 28th’s workshop at Lakeshore Art Supplies store on North 8th Street in Sheboygan.

Sunday, October 15th 2017

Week four of AIR at NHS

I continued painting silk fabric rock images and finished the work. I was going to cut out individual rocks and glue onto canvas pictures, but I’ll keep the silk in one piece and frame it.  This is some of the joy of constantly experimenting in art, you can change the idea/plan midstream: no rules; never painting in the lines!

Art Club is on Tuesdays after school, but I was teaching a workshop at John Michael Kohler Art Center that night and couldn’t make it.

On Thursdays I join Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class. The students had watched Visual Acoustics, The Modernism of Jules Shulman, a film by Eric Brickner and had group discussions on their views and conclusions of the video and the architecture.

Beth Cesario’s class painted with string, which Beth devised, it was very successful and the students loved it.

Sunday, October 15th 2017 

Week three of AIR at NHS

At the beginning of the third week I stretched the fabric with rock images on to a frame and added vivid paint to the resist shapes on the textured Jacquard silk.   These rocks will be part of a design that will include ink drawings of bees or dragon flies.  Painting on silk hoops was another activity in week three.

Art Club is on Tuesdays after school, so I joined the group for the first time last week.  The students were delightful, and diligently worked on a sketch reflecting their identity.  Quite a few participants managed to trace their idea sketch onto a silk piece.  In the next month we will add resist paint to the image outline on the silk and add color.  Eventually, those individual silk shapes will be attached to a banner to be installed in the IMC, part of their permanent collection.

Thursdays are enjoyable.  I find Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class very interesting.  Not sure that I’m much help as I’m only in the class one hour a week.  Hopefully I can be a resource for students creating an art component.

Later, I helped Beth Cesario’s class with a banner.  The students added fabric shapes in a random design onto a blue background.  They engaged in this activity for quite a while and applied all the many shapes!   I had high fives from some of the pupils as I left!

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Week two of AIR at NHS

Monday was a quiet day. Beth Cesario came in to make a painting date for her students in room 25, so on Thursday morning we will do some stamping with paint!

I had a very creative session. I tried a technique I have not done in a while. Taking an old piece of silk art that was not successful I cut it up into circles and apply them to a canvas. The canvas had been painted dark blue and the silk art was a lake and boat scene so the colors were a good contrast.

My second project was to paint resist in the shapes of rocks on a texture silk. I will stretch the fabric on a frame and add delicious color to the rocks. The rocks will later be cut out and glued to a canvas in design, then I will add drawing to finish the piece.

Thursday was an interesting day. I joined Mr. Soik’s Honors Humanities class. He discussed 19th century masterpieces and artists. I have a collection of Impressionist art books that I’ll bring to school to share with the students.

Later, I helped Beth Cesario’s class with a block print painting time. Her students seemed to enjoy the activity and I had a ball!

Monday, September 18th 2017

My move-in day conjured up memories of taking our boys to college years ago, without the bed linens and towels! I transported boxes and bags of art supplies into the Artist-in-Residence room 17 at North High School the week after Labor Day. Coincidentally, our granddaughter started 4K that week, so we had a lot of news to share!

My art practice is fiber art, my canvas is silk. This involves many different paints, bolts of silk, various resists and a scattering of stretcher bars. I moved the basic art supplies and inevitably will add odds and ends as the weeks pass.

I hope to share my energy and passion for art and creativity with students and staff. I’m so excited and honored to be the seventh Artist-in-Residence at North High School Art department.

The 2017-2018 Artist in Residency Program is supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Art Education Association and Kohler Foundation, Inc.