Lisa Klakulak’s creativity was nurtured at a young age by her mother’s arts, good public-school art programs in the suburbs of Detroit, and classes at the local art association. With these foundational experiences as well as self-directed exploration in fabric dyeing, sewing, and off-loom bead weaving, Klakulak began her BFA studies in 1993 at the University of Colorado. During her college years, she exhibited sculptural beaded jewelry at local art cooperatives and independently pursued the study of natural dyes, graduating in 1997 from Colorado State with a BFA in Fiber Arts.
Klakulak relocated to Taos, NM in 1997 to work as the chief natural dyer for a fiber supplier and began selling her work at Fine Art and Craft Shows. International travels over the millenium intensified Klakulak’s textile focus, motivating her move to the southeast to study at Penland School of Craft and to accept an Artist-in-Residence position at The Appalachian Center for Craft, in Smithville, TN. While at ACC from 2002-2005, Klakulak extensively explored the medium of felt, educated children in middle Tennessee public schools through ACC’s Outreach Programs, began instructing adult workshops and acquired a K-12 Visual Arts certification.
Asheville, NC became the base of operations from 2006-2018 for Klakulak’s business, STRONGFELT, inc, encompassing the making of body adornment, vessels for holding and figurative sculpture as well as K-12 artist residencies and the instruction of workshops worldwide. An inspirational cycle had developed: traveling to teach, gaining new perspectives though travel, making new work that inspired others and being invited again to teach. In 2012, exhausted by such a pace, Klakulak added a studio to her house to allow for small group instruction without the need for travel.
An adventurer at heart, within four years Klakulak was hiking along Patagonian Glaciers, after teaching in Santiago, Chile. Klakulak recognized the glacial concept of porosity (the relation of space and mass) as familiar: both familial and at the core of her attraction to the wet felting process. Additionally, research into the vast tidal changes (exposure and the cover up) experienced at this southern outpost resulted in learning that the Bay of Fundy located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada has the most extreme swing of water on the planet.
Inspired by big ideas and designated time to explore them while acquiring the paper needed to teach young adults in postsecondary schools, Klakulak decided to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design from 2018-2020.