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In Memoriam – Dika Eckersley

Dika Eckersley (1939-2015) contributed to the world of textiles as a catalog designer, friend and lover of excellent design in any form, especially finding pleasure in textiles and dress. She lived a large life, touching people in her global community, while liv- ing in Lincoln, Nebraska since 1981 with her family and then with those she welcomed into her home. She was an advocate for justice, a believer in human scale and bike lanes, a cross-country skier and walker, a friend to all. Dika hosted numerous guests to Lincoln, including members of the TSA Board when they visited Lincoln for the 2009 fall Board meeting preceding the 12th Biennial TSA Symposium.

Professionally, she worked for the University of Nebraska Press as a book designer. In addition, for more than two decades she designed Prairie Schooner, a quarterly journal of poems and essays. In 2001, she launched The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery’s first publication, Impassioned Form: Jane Sauer, a catalog for an exhibition of the artist’s work from that period. This first catalog set the style for future ones, and the two subsequent titles she designed were Intersecting Traditions: Recent Textiles by Cynthia Schira and Process and Pattern: Hand-dyed and Digitally Printed Textiles by Ana Lisa Hedstrom, both published in 2004. She designed a monograph for Robert Hillestad, the designer for whom the gallery is named. Dika delighted in the craft of textiles, admired those who made them, and often participated in the workshops gallery artists taught.

One aspect of Dika’s brilliance as a designer was her skill at creating a page in which consideration to text, image, and space, together made a striking layout where each element strengthened the other. She was known for her captivating covers for Prairie Schooner. One writer, contributing to the remembrance page Dika’s family created at http://www.dikaeckersley.com, notes that Dika was not only a designer, but also a reader, using images to advance the text, understanding the “intimate connection that a magazine’s cover should have with the narrative created from the stories, essays, and poems within.” Dika lived a life in which she manifested that external and inner connection through her warmth, her puckish style of dress, and her generous, creative spirit.

Beloved to so many, in all walks of life, Dika will be missed.

     –by Wendy Weiss