Kelly Brown was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1968, with a developmental disability and hearing loss. Her visual abilities have deteriorated progressively since 1991 and she is now almost completely blind, but communicates fluently in sign and sign-through-touch.
Brown has worked at the Center for Creative Works since its beginning in 2011. She has developed her weaving practice through practice, intuition, and invention. Without the ability to see, speak, or hear, she has acquired information about making work entirely through touch. For as long as anyone can remember, Brown has worked on crocheting long ropes of yarn, continuing this practice throughout her day both at home and at work. Finding armatures in dolls and other small household objects, she began creating sculptures by intertwining her crocheted ropes through and around these shapes. In 2014, Brown was introduced to a basic frame loom, and began developing weavings through her own invented technique.
Brown’s weavings are created on a basic frame loom, incorporating found textile material that Kelly has collected from the various places in the studio, as well as long threads she has crocheted. Brown uses her entire body to give her information about the work in front of her – hands, arms, feet, tongue – and intertwines found material through the warp of the loom.
Averaging about one sculpture per month, Brown completed most of her sculptural textile work in the past two years, working five days a week at the Center for Creative Works. Encountering her pieces once completed and installed, Brown smiles, signs, and laughs as her memory recalls her pieces, like meeting old friends; meandering past the rough and bumpy surfaces, tangling her feet in the tentacle-like strands that extend to the floor, and reaching up to feel the tops.
OUT THE DOOR, Philadelphia History Museum, Philadelphia, PA
We're In It: Remaking the World, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr, PA
InvisAbility, Philadelphia City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
Outsider Art Fair New York, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York, NY
Main Line Wine Gala, Gladwyne, PA
h x d x w, Gallery 241, Wynnewood, PA
Drawn to Stitch, Naudain Street Art Collaborative, Philadelphia, PA
Main Line Wine Gala, Haverford, PA
Linear/Nonlinear, Delaware County Community College, Media, PA
Weavings: Free-Form Textiles by Kelly Brown, RHD Central Offices, Philadelphia, PA
Music Library Installation, Free Library of Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA
Beautiful Water: Sculptures by Kelly Brown, Gallery 241; Wynnewood, PA
St. Louis Outsider Arts Fair: St. Louis, MO
Illuminations, AIRSPACE Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Psychedelphia, Pageant Soloveev: Philadelphia, PA
Outside Sound, The Rotunda: Philadelphia, PA
A Storm is Coming, Center For Creative Works: Wynnewood, PA
Ludington Library: Bryn Mawr, PA
Color of Art, Grounds For Sculpture: Trenton, NJ
Milkboy Café: Ardmore, PA
Jacobs, Melissa. "A Gifted Artist Find Success, Despite Being Deaf and Blind." Main Line Today, November 2017