ELLEN KOCHANSKY owns and designs for EKO. In rural South Carolina, she has made quilts and textile art for over 30 years. She has served as an American Canvas panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and as a trustee of the American Crafts Council. Her works are in many public and private institutions including the Museum of Art + Design in NY, and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. 

“When we concentrate on a material object…the very act of our attention may lead to our involuntarily sinking into the history of that object. Transparent things, through which the past shines! Objects, inert in themselves but much used by careless life, (you are thinking of a hillside stone over which a multitude of small animals have scurried) are particularly difficult to keep in surface focus: novices fall through the surface, humming happily to themselves, and are soon reveling with childish abandon in the story of this stone, of that heath. A thin veneer of immediate reality is spread over natural and artificial matter, and whoever wishes to remain in the now, should please not break its tension film. Otherwise the inexperienced miracle-worker will find himself no longer walking on water, but descending upright among staring fish.”  – Vladimir Nabokov

The Rensing Center nourishes the imagination. It fosters individual renewal, community connection, and interdisciplinary interaction among people in creative, environmental, and entrepreneurial fields.

On twenty-seven acres in the beautiful southern Appalachian foothills near Pickens, SC, the Rensing Center is more than just the land, the people, the gardens and the buildings. Our 501c3 non-profit organization models a way of life less addicted to cheap energy, and more blessed by what actually fulfills us.

We are a residency program, providing living and workspace to self-directed applicants looking for an isolated rural, creative landscape, for periods ranging from three weeks to three months. Focus may be creative, professional, environmental, or all of these. 


Executive Director, Rensing Center, 2009-present

Owner EKO Quilts, 1984-2009

Syracuse Univ., BFA Costume Design & Textiles, 1969 


SC Arts Alliance, Executive Committee, 2018-present

Artist in Residence, 701 Center For Contemporary Art, Columbia SC, 2008

Artist in Residence, McColl Center, Charlotte NC Fall 2006 

Cultural Commissioner at large, Pickens County, SC 2003-2013

American Craft Council Trustee 1990-92, Emeritus, 1993 

Artist in Residence, Artpark, Lewiston, NY, 1988, 2003 

MARS Millenium Project, National Endowment for the Arts, 1999 

National Endowment for the Arts, American Canvas Panelist, 1997 

Revival Design Camp, Founding Director, 1997 

SC Individual Artist Fellowship 1978, 1993 

Ripple Effect Sustainable Design Group, Board of Directors, 2000


American Craft Museum Permanent Collection, NYC 

White House Permanent Collection, Washington, DC 

Bank of America, Gateway Center, Charlotte, NC 

Mint Museum of Craft + Design Permanent Collection, Charlotte, NC 

Columbia Museum of Art & Science, Columbia, SC 

Gerald Hines Partnership, Chemed Center, Cincinnati, OH 

Milliken & Co. Permanent Collection, Spartanburg, SC 

Spartanburg Museum, Spartanburg, SC 

Hundreds of other public and private collections 


Six Continents of Quilts, American Craft Museum, NY, NY, 2002 

Objects for Use, American Craft Museum, NY, NY, 2001-2002 

White House Collection, National Museum of American Art, 1995 

Teacher: Penland School, Arrowmont, many national conferences 

Mentor: AMBIT and other international internship programs 

Juror: St. Louis Art Fair, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, American Craft Council, 5 years