Meet Passle Helminski, 2022 Lydia McCain Established Artist Fellow

Thursday Dec 8th, 2022

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EAC’s 2022 Lydia McCain Established Artist Fellow, Passle Helminski, has had quite an incredible year. Her work was featured in 20 exhibitions across the nation and earned multiple accolades from juried shows. On top of her busy artistic career, Passle was featured in Sports Illustrated for racing in the New York City Marathon with her service dog, Zoey. 

Passle uses tubular knitting to create energetic sculptures that are sleek and organic in form. Industrial ribs emerge from and interact with brightly colored, textural knitted dressings to create work that is both familiar and otherworldly. As her work swirls in the air, it creates movement and shadows that invite the viewer to another world. 

What is truly striking is Passel’s ability to translate musical concepts to the physical plane. Passle’s sculptures dance between rigid and fluid. As a flutist, Passel’s sense of rhythm and tempo are an integral part of her practice. Her sculptures, which are well structured and perfectly balanced, communicate these same ideas through the use of patterns and negative space. Despite all this structure, her work still manages to have an organic air of improvisation. The ribs curl and interact with space as if they are alive, but merely frozen in time. 

Passle used unrestricted funding from the Lydia McCain Artist Fellowship to offset the costs of her materials, pay for application fees to juried shows nationwide, and cover the costs of shipping her work. The Fellowship also covered her annual membership fees and allowed her to join new groups. 

Following her busy year as a Lydia McCain Artist Fellow, Passle’s goals for 2023 are simple: 

  1. Create
  2. Enter more exhibits 
  3. Seek grants that will allow her to create with Erie’s disabled community members  
  4. Continue working on concepts that combine music and race walking into visual arts 
  5. Continue teaching at the Neighborhood Art House 
  6. Try writing poetry

For artists and creatives who are interested in following in Passle’s footsteps, she offered a few pieces of advice: 

Step out of your comfort zone and create like no one is looking. Be disciplined about your artwork. Combine art forms! Join art groups or guilds. Take time to be part of nature. Nurture your other hobbies.  

Artist Biography

Passle is a visually impaired artist who graduated with a MFA in Weaving and Textiles from  Edinboro University. She has exhibited in countless exhibitions all over the country and in many international exhibitions, from Germany to Singapore, Sweden, Australia, and China. She teaches at the Neighborhood Art House, and served as an adjunct at Mercyhurst College and Gannon University, in addition to being the Artist in Residence at the Cathedral Center, Erie, PA. She received two Mid Atlantic Artist Residences through the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation at the Keystone Blind Association, in 2003 and 2004. In 2005 she received a Kellogg’s Foundation Artist Residency in Battle Creek, MI.  She received the Distinguished Alumni Award in Art from Edinboro University in 2005. Her work has been published many times.

Passle is currently a member of:

  • Erie Art Museum, PA
  • Lake Erie Fiber Guild, PA
  • Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Uniontown Art Club, PA
  • Associated Arts of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Chautauqua Visual Arts, NY
  • FCCA, VA membership
2022 Exhibitions and Awards

Winter white.  Juried National Exhibit FCCA in VA.

Please touch an inclusive tactile Exhibit.  Featured artist.  Seattle, WA

Common threads exhibit, Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh airport.

Faces and Figures. Juried National Exhibit FCCA in VA.

Artist Choice.  Juried National Exhibit FCCA in VA.  Honorable mention for “Presenting” my fiber sculpture.

The Jay & Mona Kang art show and sale.  Erie, PA Artist choice. 

Artist Choice.  Juried National Exhibit FCCA in VA.

Westmoreland Count Community College exhibit and Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival. Latrobe, PA

Summer Red. Juried National Exhibit FCCA in VA.  Honorable mention for my fiber sculpture “Red Dog”.

Art of the State.  Juried exhibition at The State Museum of Pennsylvania.  Harrisburg, PA

Art Ability. Malvern, PA

Thinking Green.  Juried exhibition Chautauqua Institute.  Chautauqua, NY

NPAA/PACA Palooza.  Erie, PA

59th Creative Art Guild’s Festival of Fine Arts and Crafts Indoor Exhibit. Dalton, GA

Behind the Mask juried exhibit of the Fiber Guild of Pittsburgh 2022 member’s exhibit.  Latrobe Art Center, Latrobe, PA

Artist Choice. Juried National Exhibit FCCA, VA. 2nd Place for my acrylic painting “Wild Fires”. 

Passionate Focus. Chicago, IL  2nd Place: Growing Gold Teapot

Associated Artist of Pittsburgh juried exhibit 112 x 122

NPAA Holiday Exhibit, Erie, PA

Cold of Winter National juried exhibit FCAA, VA

Established Artist Fellowship from the Erie Arts and Culture.  Erie, PA

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