Since the early 1960s, I have identified myself as a weaver. I've exhibited my work nationally in juried and invitational shows and had many one-person shows.
Beginning in the late 1980s, I started to research weaving activities, settlement schools, and the Appalachian Craft Revival in the southern mountains.
Over my life as a craftsperson, I have taken an active role in several crafts organizations.
I have served as a short-term crafts development consultant in a dozen countries on four continents through USAID funded agencies.
I am an artist that has chosen weaving as my principal medium of expression. Over the last forty years I have used completely loom-controlled pattern weaving to convey a series of visual ideas that are usually approached through painting rather than woven panels. Ideas come from a variety of sources—the world around me, great works of art and textiles, and the mechanical aspects of my craft. While my career might seem unusual to many, all my varied activities have contributed to my insight and work as a weaver.
Although Philis Alvic grew up in Chicago and has lived in Alaska, Florida, and South Carolina, she has called Kentucky home since 1976. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1964 with a Bachelor of Art Education with concentrations in painting and weaving. At Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, additional graduate study added to her knowledge of textiles. Her weaving has been represented in over 225 juried, invitational, or solo exhibitions on the regional and national level. She is an exhibiting juried member of Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, Kentucky Craft Marketing, and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
Alvic has presented over 75 workshops, lectures, and papers to weavers’ guilds, craft schools, arts organizations, or weaving and academic conferences. Weaving, crafts, and art magazines have published over 100 of her articles on weaving techniques, crafts, art history, and art criticism. To support research on the Appalachian Crafts Revival, she has received eleven major and six mini- grants from Humanities and Arts Councils in seven different states, as well as foundation grants. This study resulted in several monographs and a book. Over the years she has written grants to support exhibitions, lectures, and programs for many different organizations.
During the last dozen years, Alvic has been a consultant on crafts development and marketing in Peru, Morocco, Nepal, India, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and for five Armenian projects. She is a founding member and Board Secretary of the Appalachian Coalition for Just and Sustainable Communities.
Handweavers Guild of American Certificate of Excellence, 1977
The Alden B. Dow Creativity Center Fellowship, 1987
Al Smith Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council, 1996
The Kentucky Foundation for Women Grants, 1994 & 1996 & 2011
PUBLICATIONS -- Books
Weavers of the Southern Highlands (University Press of Kentucky, 2003)
Crafts of Armenia (IESC/Armenia, 2003)
"Weaving" entry, American Folklore: An Encyclopedia. Jan Harold Brunvand, Ed. Garland Publishing, Inc. 1996.
“Fireside Industries,” “Weaving Room of Crossnore School,” and “Settlement, Mission, and Sponsored Schools” entries, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell, Ed. University of Tennessee Press: 2006.
“Textiles” entry, The Encyclopedia of the Early Republic and Antebellum America, Christopher R. Bates, Ed., M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2009
Chair, Kentucky Craft Encyclopedia Committee, Kentucky Craft History and Education Association, 2011- current.