A woman with brown hair and black glasses taking a selfie in front of a national park sign and green grass.

Virginia Catherall, UMFA curator of education, family programs, visitor experience, and community outreach, completed a month-long artist-in-residency at Glacier National Park this past summer, a prestigious opportunity granted to only two of more than fifty top applicants. 

In addition to her work at the Museum, Virginia is a textile and knitting artist whose work has been featured in many exhibitions, including the UMFA’s own Air in 2022.  

Using the traditional craft of knitting, Virginia interprets the science, geography, and biology of an ecosystem through color, texture, and form. Her work has a close affinity to the land. She creates sculptural and wearable pieces inspired by the incredible, rugged, and sublime landscapes of the Great Salt Lake, Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and now, Glacier National Park. 

A waterwall with moss

Virginia’s art echoes the geography of place; a type of knitting “terroir” that brings the landscape into the forefront of her life. Many of her wearable landscapes and sculptures focus on interpreting the science, geography, and biology of an ecosystem within the traditional craft of knitting. Her practice has helped her build an ethos around environmentalism, conservation, and preservation of the land. 

 Glacier knitLivigston Mountains knit

"The act of creating something so entwined with the land itself sparks a stewardship and urge to conserve that land," said Virginia. "Through craft and art, I hope to engender an appreciation, love, and wonder of the ecology and history unique to the landscape around the American West." 

Each work of art echoes something from the landscape. Whether it’s color, texture, or form, the uniqueness of each piece makes the viewer–or wearer–more conscious of what the objects are and why they are wearing them; elevating craft from a functional item to a conscious and deliberate work of art. 

Thimbleberry bagGreen Lacewing inspired

"I hope viewers think about the traditional medium of knitting in a new way through not only viewing my art and craft but through making their own work of art–­made possible through published knitting patterns of many of my pieces," she said. "My art allows for a pattern to be published for people to knit their own version of the artwork. And in knitting a work inspired by the landscape, I hope the knitter/crafter will learn, appreciate, and come to understand one element of a complex ecosystem." 

Find Virginia’s knitting patterns and learn more about her art practice at www.lakesaltknit.com.