Florida Tech Funk Center Benefactor Publishes Cloth and Culture

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Ruth Funk, Florida Institute of Technology trustee and benefactor, has published Cloth and Culture: Couture Creations of Ruth E. Funk. A tribute to the textile arts, the volume takes readers through the couture creations Funk has made over the last 25 years. More than 400 full-color images in 280 pages depict her art-to-wear designs.

World-renowned textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen penned a scholarly foreword in the book. In it he wrote, “Forget octogenarian; think paragon. Ruth Funk, creator and collector, stitches with one hand while shaking the world with the other.”

She is an accomplished artist-designer, teacher, guest lecturer, collector, and textile preservationist. Committed to elevating textile arts through her wearable art, she has also created fiber art jewelry and accessories. Her legacy is creating visually engaging wearable art—garments and handmade jewelry—out of recycled textiles made from time-honored ancestral techniques that have been underappreciated.

Funk began her relationship with Florida Tech in 2003 when she exhibited at the Dream Weavers textile arts display on campus. Since her exhibit at that first show, she has made many gifts to the university.

She first donated hundreds of items of kaleidoscopically colored ethnic textiles and wearable art from around the world, and jewelry and cultural artifacts of artistic and historic value. She also enriched the Evans Library’s holdings of art and design material by almost 500 volumes.

Funk has inspired, and supplied the raw material for several events and programs. Her collection has made possible a fashion show of wearable art and exhibits at Florida Tech. She funds the annual textiles program, Uncommon Threads, which gathers international experts in the textile arts.

Funk’s generosity has made possible Florida Tech’s first textile course as well as the annual Ruth Funk Visiting Professor in Textiles. Her $1.25 million gift to the university has created a textile arts center. With additional support from the university, that gift is now the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, located between Evans Library and the Botanical Garden. The center opens to the public Aug. 29 with an exhibit of Funk’s work. The exhibit continues through Dec. 12, 2009.

Funk’s book will be sold at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. For book sale information, contact  Carla Funk at (321) 674-6129 or cfunk@fit.edu.

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