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Convergence® 2016 Tours

These tours are custom designed for HGA’s Convergence® conference. Lunch is included. Tours depart from and return to the Wisconsin Center. Registration opens December 15, 2015 at 10 AM EST. For priority registration, opening December 1, 2015, join the Fiber Trust.


Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts and Cedarburg Woolen Mill

Monday, August 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


Visit the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in beautiful and historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The WMQFA was founded in 1988 to preserve the rich history of quilting in Wisconsin. In 2001, the museum purchased the 1850s Hoffman-Boeker Farm as a permanent home and gallery/exhibition space, expanding the focus to include all fiber arts. 

Enjoy a special lecture by Pat Hilts, entitled The Rediscovery of Coverlets and the Revival of American Handweaving. This will be followed by a tour given by museum staff. Especially for us, the exhibits feature the James A. Taylor Coverlet Collection of thirty-five 19th Century coverlets and numerous Stevengraph weavings (pictures, woven from silk, originally created by Thomas Stevens in the 19th century). 

Visit the Cedarburg Woolen Mill, featuring several fiber art studios and a working 19th Century carding machine. There will be a carding demonstration on site, along with time to wander downtown for shopping. Please note that the Cedarburg Woolen Mill requires going down approximately 15, steep stair steps to view the carding demonstration.


Harley Davidson Tour and MillerCoors Brewery Tour

Tuesday, August 2, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.


You couldn’t come to Milwaukee without a tour of the Harley Davidson Museum. Enjoy a special behind-the-scenes tour including the artifact processing room to see examples of clothing and to discuss conservation issues. The museum registrar will be happy to share her textile knowledge with us.

Frederick J. Miller was a determined young brewer who founded the Miller Brewing Company in 1855. Adolph Coors came from Prussia to America to realize his dreams of becoming a brewer. He opened the Golden Brewery and tapped his first barrel in 1873. This became the Coors Brewing Company. Tour 155 years of brewing history on an indoor/outdoor guided walking tour with close-up views of packaging, shipping, the brewhouse and the one-of-a-kind historic Miller Caves. This is a walking tour, with multiple levels and steps involved. Please be prepared to walk the four-block area covered in the tour. Your reward will be the beer tasting at the Bavarian-style Miller Inn.


Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and Ruth Davis Design Gallery

Wednesday, August 3, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.


Visit the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison for a behind-the-scenes look at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, one of the foremost textile collections in the country and nationally renowned for its ethnographic textiles and fiber art. Helen Louise Allen (1902 – 1968) was born into a family that shared the fiber arts with her as well as relatives who sent textiles from their travels world-wide. 

Tour the Ruth Davis Design Gallery; visit the weaving, dyeing, surface design, sewing and pattern-making classrooms; and stroll through the Allen Centennial Garden, a 2.5 acre garden. Ruth Davis was a pioneer in green and sustainable design. She drew and photographed bark textures, incorporated rocks, reeds and flowing water into her textile panels. She created a technique for applying watercolors, dyes and inks directly to textiles which she exhibited around the globe.

The curator of the Helen Louise Allen Collection, Natasha Thoreson, will lead our tour.


John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Residency Program & The Sheboygan Project

Wednesday, August 3, 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


Kohler is the nation’s largest plumbing-ware manufacturer, creating everything from vitreous china bathroom sinks to enameled Cast Iron baths. The Kohler Factory Arts/Industry program is undoubtedly the most unusual collaboration between art and industry in the United States. Each year, hundreds apply for fewer than 20 positions for artists in residence, working in the pottery or iron/brass foundry and enamel shop in the Kohler plant. Artists have 24/7 access to industrial studios, a talented staff, free housing, transportation, and much more. Kristin Plucar, Education Specialist and A/I Coordinator, will explain this remarkable and unusual program. You will meet two current artists currently in the program at Kohler, followed by a docent led tour of the Kohler Factory.    

The Sheboygan Project brings the street-art movement to the public by using the urban landscape as a canvas for exciting works of art that reflect the city’s people and culture. The goal of the street art series is to create a more intimate relationship between the invited artists and the Sheboygan community. Artists can apply for specific locations throughout the city and request resources needed to complete their project. All artists have been juried in by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Staff. The Sheboygan Project began in 2012, searching for locations throughout the streets of Sheboygan. In the summer of 2013, those chosen locations became home to an amazing array of artwork. This docent-led tour offers a chance to view much of the juried art which has created this project.