e-mail: phorjus at gmail dot com for inquiries or commissions.   

To purchase indigo-dyed products, see studio website:   www.thecrosbyschoolhouse.com

instagram: @peterhorjus



Artist Statement

My work is defined by personal relationships and my perceptions of how people look and feel to me, and how these people make me feel.   I select each portrait subject because they each relate to me as a peer in a unique, strong, personal way.  I use traditional quilting techniques and more innovative fabric piecing to create portraits that are at once two dimensional art when displayed on a wall, three dimensional sculpture when displayed hung in space, and as objects of utility when thought of as quilts, which in essence they are.    The detail, steps, and time required to create each work results in a one-sided intimacy between myself and the subject, making the process both introspective and emotionally demanding.  The work is also technically and physically demanding to create, requiring miles of thread as well as careful manipulation of fabric across large surfaces.  I believe each work visually portrays the emotional, physical, and temporal investment made to create them, and leaves the viewer questioning not only who the subject is, but what the subject means to the artist, and maybe even what the artist means to the subject.  

My current work, an ongoing series of portraits entitled “A Series of Men”, depict men that I have been physically intimate with and who have made a strong emotional impression on me.   These range from men who have just briefly crossed my path, to past partners, to dear current and past friends.   The use of traditional quilting as background conveys a sense of familiarity and intimacy.  The raw edged appliqué fabrics of each portrait itself blend into a whole from afar, and show great detail and variation from near. Some pieces are meant not only to be viewed from the front, but also viewed from the back, where a ghostly rendering of the portrait figure exists, providing another perspective of the subject while also visually emphasizing the intensity of detail in the work. This urges the observers to take the time to explore each piece from various angles and distances.  This viewer exploration leads them to ponder who these subjects are and what about them merited such time and detail to render.  

While the viewer makes inferences as to how they interpret the works, each portrait subject is for me a real story and experience, and I think about this story and my relationship to the subject throughout the process.   More recently I am exploring ways to convey these stories to viewer beyond the visual, to accompany the portraits, such as written and oral recounting of my experiences with the subjects and my feelings towards them.



Group Exhibition.  The Artist as Quiltmaker XVIII.  Firelands Association for the Visual Arts.   Oberlin, OH.  Forthcoming.  

Group Exhibition.  Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp The Bywater Bakery (satellite location).  New Orleans, LA. 


Juried Group Exhibition. Louisiana Contemporary Exhibition. Ogden Museum of Southern Art. New Orleans, LA.     


Juried Group Exhibition. Louisiana Contemporary Exhibition. Ogden Museum of Southern Art.  New Orleans, LA.    


Solo Exhibition.  “A Series of Men”, Initial Works.   The Aquarium Gallery.  New Orleans, LA.  


Third Place, juror awarded. Louisiana Contemporary Exhibition. Ogden Museum of Southern Art.  New Orleans, LA, August 2016

Other Artistic Experience

Co-founder of The Crosby Schoolhouse. April 2014-present.  Crosby, MS

  • Co-founded the Crosby Schoolhouse, an artist living and studio space in Crosby, Mississippi.   Set up studio and living space for both personal use as well as use by guest artists.   Crosby, Mississippi.  

Indigo Dye Workshop co-Facilitator.   Longue Vue House and Gardens.  October 2016- present.  New Orleans, LA.   

  • Co-facilitate occasional workshops on dying with natural indigo.   

Other Professional Experience (selected)

Food and Nutrition Security Analyst, United Nations World Food Programme, March 2004 - Present

  • Over a decade of work as a consultant and staff member, conducting food security assessments and data analysis in developing countries, including Haiti,  Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, DRC, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Burundi, Afghanistan, East Timor, Laos, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritania.  

Resilience Senior Analyst Consultant, Tulane University, January 2011- February 2012, January 2014 – March 2016.  New Orleans, LA.  

  • Served as a technical lead for a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded joint project between Tulane University and the State University of Haiti to examine the impact of humanitarian assistance on household and community resilience in Haiti post-earthquake. 
  • In collaboration with over ten university partners across Africa, provide support to the ResilientAfrica Network and Resilient Malian Children projects in qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Based in New Orleans, with travel to Ethiopia, Ghana, DRC, Uganda, South Africa, and Mali.

Marine Mammalogist.  Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, March 2000 - January 2002.  New Orleans, LA

  • Responsible for the care and training of two Southern Sea Otters.
  • Other duties included assisting in the care of many species of fish, reptiles, birds, and frogs.

Animal Trainer Assistant. October 1997 January 1998, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL

  • Assisted in the daily husbandry of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, Pacific Walruses, Harbor Seals, and California Sea Lions, including training of basic husbandry behaviors.

Aquarist, May 1996 December - 1996.  John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL

  • Responsible for the daily husbandry of more than eighty frog species.

Stage Manager.  January 1993- December 1996.  Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Chicago, IL, and Hope College Theatre Department, Holland, MI.

  • Served as Stage Manager as well as Set Technician (carpenter) and Lighting Technician.
  • Responsible for communication among all participants in each production.
  • Managed between 20 and 100 people per show.