Fiber Art with a Capitol A: Interview with C Joanne Grabinski

Studio 23 is pleased to announce our new Artist-in-Residency program! We are currently accepting applications from fiber and textile artists residing in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, or Wisconsin. The selected artist will receive funding to aid in the creation of new work to be exhibited at Studio 23 from September to November 2022. This exciting new opportunity is made possible by the C Joanne Grabinski Artist-in-Residency fund.

C Joanne Grabinski has been an active member of Studio 23 for several years, and was kind enough to share with us why she decided to create this fund and her thoughts on the importance of recognition for the fiber arts.



How did you first become involved with Studio 23?

As I stepped away from my long academic career at the end of 2010, I made the decision to follow two new creative paths—one as an artist and the other as a creative writer. As new opportunities opened for me to pursue my intent to become an artist, I first learned about Studio 23 through Tara Welch and Val Allen the evening they attended the Judges’ Panel (announcement of the Top 10 Adult Finalists and the Top 5 Youth Finalists) for Art Walk Central 2015. Since then, I have participated in Studio 23’s 100 Day Project and the Painters & Potters Exhibit. Some of my artworks have been juried into both the 50 Artists-Great Lakes Bay Region and Mi Artists All State exhibits. I have contributed toward several Studio 23 fundraisers, including the Black & White Affair and the Renovation Project.


Why did you decide to fund the Artist-in-Residence opportunity?

As Studio 23 became my “art home”, I wanted to find a new way to fund something further for this excellent non-profit arts organization. In 2021, I asked Tara to identify several potential initiatives that would allow Studio 23 to develop a new program or expand on an existing project. When we met to discuss these potential projects, I was immediately drawn to the idea of the newly-started Artist in Residence program. In 2019, I went to my first artist residency at Golden Apple Art Residency in Maine; I will be there again this summer for a second art residency. Although Studio 23’s Artist in Residence program is quite different in style and format, I understood the value of such an experience for an artist. Studio 23’s new program also brings many benefits to Studio 23 through the artist’s interaction with students and the broader community the organization serves. Now, my funding for this program will help to support two artists in residence each year, starting this year and continuing into the future. This is a perfect match between my artistic/creative life and my philanthropic interests/goals.


Why do you feel recognition for fiber and textile arts/artists is important?

Well, the simplest and most direct answer to this question is, “I am a fiber artist.” My “career” as an artist, begun in 2012, still feels quite new. In my relatively short time in the art world, my artwork has been accepted more quickly than I ever expected. Frustratingly, I also have had to defend my original fiber artwork as ART and not “just craft” or “only hobby”. My specific fiber art medium is needlepoint, so I’ve spent many moments explaining—or trying to—how what I do is different from the wonderful craft or hobby needlework done by many others. I also have learned that fiber/textile art is most often exhibited in invitational and/or juried exhibits specific to fiber/textile arts. Likewise, fiber/textile artworks are less often featured in magazines focused on ART/fine art or fine Craft than in magazines specific to fiber/textile arts. In my own short career as an artist, I have had the privilege and honor of my work being accepted, recognized and rewarded in both invitational and juried exhibits open to artists and artworks in all ART mediums. I feel strongly that fiber/textile artists need to be seen in and recognized in both medium-specific AND medium-diverse exhibitions, residencies, publications and other opportunities open to artists from across the art world. I have personally learned and grown better as an artist because I had access to, dialogue with, and acceptance into both the specific and the diverse art worlds.


You can see the work of C Joanne Grabinski during Fiber: Four Voices, Diverse Visions, along with artists Carol Irving, Marti Liddle-Lameti, and Sally Rose beginning May 26th at Studio 23.

Application for the Artist-in-Residency program for Fiber and Textile artists is open through Friday, April 29th, 2022. For details and application, please follow the link here, or contact Curator of Exhibits Amy Gibas at with any questions.


Upcoming Events and Workshops

Family Paint Night: Marvelous Midnight
Friday, March 18th, 5:30 p.m.

Join instructor Courtney Clark for a fun evening of paint, pizza, and fun! Courtney will take you through a fun colorful painting step-by-step. Pizza, breadsticks, and salad provided. Bring beverages of your choice! $25 per person and $20 for each friend/family member you bring and includes all the supplies you need to create your own magnificent landscape that you can hang together with your families creations. Recommended ages: 7+

Please register 2 days or more prior to the event as spots are limited.


This Must Be the Place
The artwork of Jay Handy
March 24 – May 14, 2022

Photographs submitted by Bay City residents are the inspiration for artwork created by Jay Handy. Photos that help display the rich lives and beautiful moments that have taken place in Bay City were chosen to be incorporated into Jay’s compositions. The artwork is a celebration of our community, where full cycles of life have occurred for generations.

Gallery Walk & Talk with Jay Handy
Friday, March 25th at 4:15 p.m.

Opening Reception
Friday, March 25th, 5-7 p.m.


Community Printmaking Workshops with Artist-in-Residence Jay Handy

Saturday, March 26th
10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.

In this 2-hour workshop led by artist in residence Jay Handy, participants will learn the technique of ‘chine colle’ printmaking. Jay will guide the group through the process of etching a Plexiglas matrix, as well as applying, embedding, and properly wiping off ink. Finally, the prepared plate will be sent through a press with a sheet of art paper, leaving the creator with their work of art to bring home.

A $5 payment is required to reserve your seat for this workshop. Space is limited. Please call Studio 23 at 989-894-2323 to reserve your seat.

This workshop is generously sponsored by the Bay Area Community Foundation.



More Upcoming Workshops

Try It Session: Adult Origami March 26, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Melt making w/ Dark Candles April 2, 1-4 p.m.

Beginner Stained Glass w/ Donna Martin April 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Woven Bracelet Workshop w/ Angela Griebe April 23, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.


Posted 11 November 2022

21st Annual Back & White Affair and Art Auction

21st Annual Black & White Affair and Art Auction December 9, 2022 6 – 9 p.m. The Black & White Affair is returning this Friday, December 9, and we are excited for an evening of drinks, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and a live auction of artwork by local artists. The annual Black &...

Posted 8 July 2022

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Solstice Art-a-Thon Plein Air Paint Out!

On Saturday, June 25, 13 artists visited 12 farms growing sugar beets for Michigan Sugar and spent the morning and afternoon painting the fields, buildings, and scenery of the farms. Artist checked in at Studio 23 beginning at 8 a.m. and had paintings finished and framed by 4 p.m. the same...