In a career spanning over 40 years, Ellen Kochansky has actively promoted the arts, the preservation and extension of craft traditions, and environmentally responsible practices.

She founded The Rensing Center (2009-2022), a non-profit creative/environmental residency program, to further these goals and to connect the creative process to our need to live more gently on the earth. Her artistic practice is rooted in her experience as a textile artist, designer and quilter, and her work has always stretched those definitions to include experimental fiber and mixed-media art, public and private commissions as well as community-based and site-specific installations.

For her company, EKO, she designed and manufactured custom quilts from 1989 to 2004. She has been an American Craft Council trustee (1989-1993), a National Endowment for the Arts American Canvas panelist (1997), and a founding director of Ripple Effect Sustainable Design Group (1999-2001). She has twice been chosen craft fellow by the SCAC.

Ellen has shared her experience through teaching and workshops, including Penland, Arrowmont, and the Innovation Institute (McColl Center, Charlotte), and as a juror for national art shows such as Cherry Creek, Evanston, and American Craft Council, as well as South Carolina’s Governor’s Awards for the Arts. Her work is included in The Mint Museum, The American Museum of Art and Design in New York, and the White House collection, and she has been cited in various books, articles, and television programs, notably CBS Sunday Morning and the book Six Continents of Quilts.


Executive Director, Rensing Center, 2009-2022

Owner EKO Quilts, 1984-2009

Syracuse Univ., BFA Costume Design & Textiles, 1969 


MARS Millenium Project, National Endowment for the Arts, 1999 

SC Individual Artist Fellowship 1978, 1993 


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

Artist in Residence, McColl Center, Charlotte NC Fall 2006 

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


Creative Mentor: Art of Community, South Carolina Arts Commission, 2020-present

Teacher: Penland School, Arrowmont, many national conferences 

Mentor: AMBIT and other international internship programs 

National Endowment for the Arts, American Canvas Panelist, 1997

HallowGreen Workshop, Spartanburg Day School

Brick Wall, Greenville Fine Arts Center

Value Judgement, Levine Hospital

Tea Bags, Mint Museum

Bird by Bird, Daniel High School



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 


SC Arts Alliance, Board of Directors, 2018-present

American Craft Council Trustee 1990-92, Emeritus, 1993 

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

Ripple Effect Sustainable Design Group, Board of Directors, 2000

Revival Design Camp, Founding Director, 1997 


St. Louis Art Fair

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

American Craft Council, 5 years

Verner Awards, South Carolina Arts Commission