I make tufted and stitched constructions with fiber and rubber. I studied in Budd Stalnaker’s woven & constructed textiles program at Indiana University-Bloomington and got an MFA degree (1985). Since then, I have been making large scale, abstract, tufted wall pieces of hand-dyed wool yarn. I began with an electric Rumplestiltskin tool and now use an industrial punch gun powered by an air compressor.

"Koshi Series: Beke," ©1999 Martha Donovan Opdahl, 53" x 80", tufted wool pile, sheared/ cotton backing/ acid dyes

Since 2003, I’ve been working on a smaller scale. I cut, fold,  layer, and piece together cotton organdy shapes and sew them on acrylic (aka plexiglass). I limit my visual vocabulary to geometric shapes, gestural and structural lines, and hue and value contrasts (rather than gradations). The organdy pieces are monochromatic.

"Construction #44," ©2005, Martha Donovan Opdahl, 22" x 23", folded, layered, pieced, machine top-stitched cotton organdy sewn onto acrylic

I am currently (2012) developing a body of work in 3-D using black rubber–a radical departure from 3 decades of 2-D fiber art work. I stitch together my sculptures using a basic textile technique: a hand-sewn straight stitch.

"Black and Blue #3," ©2011 Martha Donovan Opdahl, 24" x 13" x 11", pieced hand-stitched rubber/ waxed linen cord

My approach to making art is intuitive and spontaneous, yet the pieces remain true to the special qualities of the materials. I offer a structure that is formal and spare, stressing strong silhouette, surface, and line.

I am represented by Hodges Taylor Gallery,  Charlotte, NC, and welcome commissions.

2 Responses to “Introduction to my work”

  1. Pepper Cory Says:

    Hello Martha,
    If possible I’d like to contact you in person. Could you email me?
    Many thanks-
    Pepper Cory

  2. David Krouse Says:

    Ms. Opdahl,
    I am David Krouse and writing on behalf of Lincoln Financial Group in Ft. Wayne ,In.I am currently updating the Corporate Art Collection database with missing information.Lincoln purchased one of your pieces in 1998 “Epula”. Although we have a large file for you, the only missing information is year of birth.
    If you find this request too imposing or personal, I understand. i am simply trying to gather as much information on each artist as possible.
    Thank you for your time
    Best Regards,
    David Krouse
    Art coordinator
    LFG Ft. Wayne, IN.

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