Opening Reception and Art Talk: Crochet Mandalas and Stories of the Heart, with Lisa Daehlin

Please join us for an opening reception and conversation about Crochet Mandalas and Stories of the Heart, a colorful, vibrant, and unique exhibition by Lisa Daehlin which is on display in Offit Gallery through May. This exhibition features “bits of hooked stitchery worked in the round,” or approximately twenty crocheted circles made of special yarns that were donated by the artist’s friends from around the world — from Minnesota to New York to Norway, the land of her ancestors, with Chinatown and Morningside Heights mixed in. The artworks represent aspects of the artist’s life experiences and learning, drawn from urban and rural settings; the winter season; sacred or spiritual spaces; family and friends; and pleasant pastimes, like fishing.

While mandalas are spiritual symbols representing the universe in the Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, they also appear in Christian religions and represent wholeness, holiness, and all things encompassed by God. Originally using them as a teaching tool in her fiber arts classes at the Cooper Union in the early 2000s, Lisa Daehlin was inspired to grow her artful practice into a project known as #LovePeopleBeKind, whose “goal is to bring the world together in seemingly small ways (one heart at a time) that can grow more plentiful than any we can imagine.” Her exhibited collection demonstrates “yarn with a story”, imbued with meaning also from the giver: for example, through donated yarn that was left over from a sweater knitted as a holiday gift for a friend; yarn purchased on vacation, but which never found a use; or simply yarn of a favorite color.

At Teachers College, Columbia University, Lisa has over the years led crochet and knitting circles, bringing  members closer together through the shared experience of communal art. Accompanying this exhibit is a series of three art workshops, “Crochet and Color Mandalas,” designed to create a warm, close sense of community through the joy of mandala making. These coloring, paper collage, and crochet workshops are open to the TC community and offered on Thursdays, from 4-6pm, April 27thMay 4th, and May 25th.

Commented Lisa, who creatively thinks in meaningful shapes, colors, and fibers, “A nice ‘full circle’ moment recently was when Katie Embree happened to stop by the gallery while we were laying out the show. It was my email to the 2 of you [Katie Embree, Vice President for Planning and Strategy, Chief of Staff to the President, and Secretary of the College; and Jennifer Govan, Library Director and Senior Librarian] last year that launched this thing.”

Lisa Daehlin is an artist, educator, performer, and alumna of Teachers College (Music and Music Education, MA 2012). Since 2007 Lisa has served as Academic Secretary in International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Lisa’s artistic identities as a singer and a stitch wielder often blend together in her performance of art song on the concert stage, in cabarets, and in windows of yarn shops (“knitting residencies” in New York City and Northfield, Minnesota). One such example of these interdisciplinary endeavors, her OperaKnit Cabaret, periodically rears its head in various incarnations (including as an online weekly cabaret for the TC Community during the shutdown of 2020). Lisa free-lances for the fashion industry and retail design. Her designs have been published in Interweave KnitsKnit.1Knit Simple, and Vogue Knitting magazines as well as featured in Lace StyleBag Style, and The New Tunisian Crochet books published by Interweave Press, and Vogue Knitting: Ultimate Hat Book and Vogue Knitting: Shawls and Wraps by Sixth and Spring Books. Over the past two decades, Lisa has taught at several venues including: 92NY, The Cooper Union, The Creative Center, Newark Museum, PS122 Gallery, Harlem Knitting Circle, University Settlement, Vogue Knitting LIVE, and the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

Kindly rsvp with your interest and details no later than Wednesday, April 26th. We welcome you with all our hearts, and refreshments will be served!

Where: 306 Russell / Offit Gallery

To request disability-related accommodations, contact OASID at 678-3689, as early as possible.


Apr 20 2023


4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



Teachers College - Russell Halll
525 W 120th St #91, New York, NY 10027


Teachers College, Columbia University
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