Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

Alyse C. Bernstein: Stitches and Fishes


As a part of its holiday pop-up market, Geppetto, the Art Alliance is pleased to present the work of Alyse C. Bernstein, a local printmaker and textile artist. In addition to lithography, Bernstein has undertaken ambitious and challenging textile projects, including large-scale embroidered quilts and a series of murder rugs, in which the artist introduces the characteristic white chalk outlines of crime scenes into the unlikely context of domestic rugs. At Geppetto, Bernstein will be offering smaller scale pillows, adorned with meticulously embroidered koi accompanied by a single golden coin.


Bernstein began creating these pillows during a visit to Japan, where she traveled on an Independence Foundation Grant in 2003. She studied the techniques of traditional craftspeople, and spent long hours sketching the koi at the Sensō-ji Temple in Tokyo. Bernstein manages to capture the fleeting movement and glowing colors of the fish, which seem to swim across the surface of the fabric. The decorative koi of Japanese temple gardens make an appropriate subject matter for textile art, for the Japanese name of carp with orange and white markings (nishikigoi) literally translates to “brocaded carp.” These iconic fish are strongly linked to the concepts of love and friendship, making these pillows ideal gifts for loved ones and friends.

A graduate of PAFA, Bernstein has been working and teaching in the Philadelphia area since the mid-1990s. Most recently, she has worked at Fleisher Art Memorial, where she taught lithography and gyotaku, a traditional Japanese technique of printing fish.

Geppetto will be open Tuesday through Sunday, 12 to 7 pm from December 10, 2015, to January 3, 2016. Closed on Mondays.

Text by Flora Ward, Intern

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