My name is Zewei O’Connor, known to many as “Willa.” I was born and raised in Shanghai, China, where I studied with a Chinese painter for many years. In 1981 I moved to Hawaii and that’s where I learned about quilting and began my work in textile art. Since then I have lived and made my artwork in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and also in Hood River, Oregon. Currently, I’m living in Salem, Oregon, where I work at the Salem Public Library while still pursuing my artistic endeavors in textile art and in my new passions of lapidary and origami.
I’m a self-taught textile artist, who has found the fiber arts to be the natural way to satisfy my creative needs. I have developed my current style by experimenting with various quilting and sewing techniques to produce wall-hangings and textile artwork that are unique and contemporary. My textile work has been shown throughout the United States and was represented in an exhibition that traveled to Germany. Notable among the many awards I have received was a first place prize in New York Quilt Festival for my wall-hanging, “Dreamscape” , see the image below. Since I moved to Oregon, I’ve participated in many of the art festivals and quilt shows in the Northwest. Check my Show Schedule to see where I’ll be showing and selling my artwork this year.
Although I work mostly with fabric, in the last few years I have been studying lapidary and have been working hard to bring out the beauty from the natural rocks of the Northwest to be used in the jewelry I make. In addition, I also found the art of origami fascinating and have been learning and making modular origami and other paper creations. I find joy in doing all these creative works, and I hope my work not only brings a sense of beauty and enjoyment to the public, but also connects with people on a deeper level.