Why haven’t you been following at the new blog location?
If you insist.. don’t forget to come to tonights Opening Reception for TEEM
TONIGHT, March 11, 8PM
We here are fortunate to share a wonderful second space with Jordana Martin of Oak Knit Studio. In this space, upstairs from TAC, is where the Artist Residency and resource library are housed. In addition, there is a second Gallery. So, for the first show in this new space, Tali Weinberg — one of our talented residents — will be curating a show and day of workshops based around May Day, celebrating the textile workers, artists, designers, and activists who make our world more beautiful and just:
I can’t believe how fast time passes! After a super fun and creative Fashion Week Brunch, The Mending Circle is meeting again tonight, from 6.30 – 9PM at the Textile Arts Center. I’m looking forward to new exciting mending projects and meet all of you with sewing/altering/mending and/or creative skills.
I thought I would leave a teaser of inspiration mending projects… Hope to see you all tonight!
Cardigan mended with bird-shaped patches
Mending buttonholes and holes on sweatters
(via Martha Stewart Livings)
(via Craft magazine blog)
Mended Sweater by Esther K. Smith, part of Mend Exhibition at Proteus Gowanus, 2008-2009
Teem superimposes metaphors of water (movement/potentiality), and the sea (the infinite, comfort, danger, aloneness) to evoke a sense of dreamspace — the space of possibility. Using textiles, Teem creates an environment where viewers find themselves under the surface of the water at the powerful juncture where river currents meet the ocean tides, where the individual meets the collective.
Chris will be joining us for the Opening Reception, giving a talk that night on concept and installation. Unfortunately, Mary, the fiber artist of the two, is located in Hawaii and will be unable to join us… However, in preparation for the installation that will begin tomorrow I’ve been looking at Mary’s work a ton.
Through performance, installation, and textile media, Mary focuses on many familiar issues to us (war, revolution, natural and manmade disaster), through the idea of “mending” — something we’ve been talking about a lot lately around here.
In Mary’s words: “My work explores ‘mending’ and its implications for cultural change. Although I work across traditionally defined media and conceptual boundaries, the grounding point for my work is in the metaphors derived from fiber processes (e.g. stitching, binding, weaving, piecing) and the overarching concept of mending. I am interested in how precise application of fiber metaphors may heighten our understanding of both peace-building and of fractures in the foundations for social justice. Tattering might be inherent. It is part of the wear and tear – some necessary, some not so necessary. But we seem to fall short on the art of mending.
I am deeply interested in the profundity of listening and of silence – of listening to the conversation between materials, thoughts and processes and of experiencing the rich silence of open space. I investigate ‘making’ as a form of contemplative action – as a tool for illuminating implicit knowledge of our potential for compassion and our proclivities for grief, confusion and complicity with structural and personal violence.”
Departire – Site specific installation at Ueno Town Art Museum, formerly Sakamoto Elementary School, for Threshold: Sustainable Art Project, Ueno/Tokyo, Japan, 2009. A response to Tokyo’s changing age demographics that leave elementary schools vacant and shift cultural mores. Pieced from over 50 nagajugan, mostly of vintage silk from obsolete Japanese textile mills, handsewn by students and volunteers in workshop settings.
Circumspect – Created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. The Jones House, Boone, NC. Materials: Wall Street Journal and NY Times, stained; tapestries of black walnut dyed silk, kozo and book binders thread; typewriter erasure ribbons, post post mortem surgical needles. Chronicles deaths of the “coalition forces”. The names of those who died between the March 21st invasion and April 1, 2004 (the showʼs opening) were deleted from the ribbons as they silently vanished from our lives.
While we find no shortage of political art in general, and specifically in the fiber and textile world, I find Mary’s approach to be unique. Instead of speculating the problem, it focuses on a solution, forcing us to think about what comes next.
Looking at her work, even through image, does invoke the feeling of silence. It makes me stop — at first at it’s beauty, and after reading her Artist Statement — to contemplate my own ability to pay attention to relationships between people, materials, concepts, places. Our ability, as humans, to withstand pain and hardship (including the ways we provoke it) and then our ability to focus on how to fix it. What new solutions can we come up with, and what can we learn from older ideas?
Deluge – Created in collaboration with Christopher Curtin for The Netshed at Alderbrook Station, Astoria, OR, 2010. Once the site of a thriving, albeit contested, salmon fishing industry, the Netshed – where fishermen would repair their gillnets – is an historical structure that serves as an icon for the interplay of migration, economy, ecology, dispossession and reclamation. Using hand-dyed cloth, the metaphor of water and reclaimed gillnets – the material that originally necessitated the site – we sought to re-engage the building’s history as a site of restoration and repair, creating a poetic context in which viewers might dream new possibilities for dialogue and negotiation. Gillnets provided by the Columbia River Fisherman’s Protective Union’s gillnet recycling project. Photo credit: http://www.donfrankphotography.com
Hope to see you next Friday, March 11 for the Opening from 8-11PM! The show will be up through April. And you can check out the video of “Deluge” to get an idea of what will be up here.
I meant to write this post a long time ago, after attending to a lecture last October at FIT by Sass Brown, on “Eco-Fashion”. In the lecture, were presented several examples of designers around the world doing sustainable fashion. Some of the examples shown were working with African countries, and their work was simultaneous supporting the local textile industry – by training people, producing locally, developing the organic production of materials, promote local economic opportunities etc; but also being inspired by the African fashion and textiles.
SUNO, Spring/Summer 2011 Collection
When I moved to New York, the first project that I helped with on my fellowship at the Met was the installation of “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End”. I wasn’t very familiar with African textiles at the time, but after this first immersion, my love for them kept growing stronger. Africa has an enormous textile and fashion tradition and I thought I would share some of it today!
Amongst the best known African textiles are the Kente cloths (or stripwoven cloths), made by Ewe and Ashanti people in Ghana. These super elaborated were prestige garments, a symbol of status and wealth and, therefor, only worn on special occasions. These very long cloths (some would have more than 9 feet of length and width) were worn draped like togas around the body, creating voluminous garments. Kente cloths were constructed by several woven narrow strips woven continuously and cut at fixed lengths , sewn together, selvage to selvage. Both weaving and sewing are normally carried by men. Initially the only material used was indigo dyed cotton, but after the 17th century, with the arrival of Europeans, silk unraveled from trade cloths was introduced. Nowadays, synthetic fibers like rayon are sometimes used too.
Detail of Kente Prestige Cloth, Ghana, Ewe peoples, cotton and silk, 19th century
The British Museum, London, Provenance: Collected in West Africa between 1880 and 1900 by Charles Beving Sr.
And we couldn’t leave Ghana without mentioning the amazing hand-printed Adinkra cloths worn in special ceremonies. Adinkra cloths made for funerals and mourning are normally overdyed red or black, while the ones used for festive occasions retain their white background or are dyed with bright colors. The stamps for adinkra are carved from the outsides of calabash gourd and include geometric forms and also stars and half moon shapes.
Boys wearing adinkra robes, 1973, Accra
Stamp carver Joseph Nsiah of Ntonso, Ghana, holding an adinkra stamp, 1988.
Photo and caption information by Dan Mato,
Professor Emeritus of Art History, The University of Calgary
From Cameroons comes this beautiful prestige gown, made of indigo dyed cotton, embroidered with with chain stitches in white cotton. The blue and white geometric design was probably adapted from the famous resist-stitched indigo dyeing technique of the Bamileke people from grasslands Cameroon called ndop.
Prestige Gown, Cameroon, Grassfield region, cotton and wool, 19-20th century
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Clyman Gift and Rogers Fund, 1987
Ndop Tunic, Bamileke people, Cameroon; cotton, trade cloth, goat hair; first half of 20th century
(via Andres Moraga Textile Arts)
Also, from Central Africa comes other of my favorite African textiles – the uber-long skirts made by the Kuba people, Republic of Congo. These skirts are made of woven raphia panels, sewn together. They’re often decorated with applique with geometric forms and/or embroidered. One of the most amazing features is that the applique has both a decorative and utilitarian purpose. Raphia cloth can be very stiff and hard to wear, so to make it more comfortable it is normally washed and pounded several times. Raphia cloth isn’t also very durable so several holes and tears will appear during this process, and the applique is used to cover them. Other particularity is the fact that the hems aren’t turned under, but face the surface of the fabric, giving it extra volume. Kuba skirts are worn by men and women, and normally several are worn at the same time.
Applique Kuba Skirt, raphia fibers dyed with natural dyes
Women wearing skirts, Kuba, Congo
There are so many amazing textiles and techniques from Africa missing in this post though! So, if you’d like to continue exploring the world of African textiles I strongly recommend reading the catalog of “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End”, with essays by curator Alissa LaGamma and textile conservator Christine Giuntini; and the amazing “African Textiles, Color and creativity across a continent” by John Gillow.
I’ve got my mind set on Spring. I’m feeling claustrophobic and itchy in my layers, putting on boots ignites anger, and I just want to go to the damn beach. March is the worst month in this regard, and so to keep myself from avoiding SAD I’ve been thinking a lot about my plants.
I was given a my first potted plant by my mother when I went off to college. He’s almost seen his final days quite a number of times, but now that I’m settled, he seems to be settled and happy in my window sill with an Ivy I bought last Spring right around this time. So on this dreary day, while a jack hammer takes out our back floor spewing soil everywhere, I thought of Megan Piontkowski.
A few weeks ago, we had a drop-in visit from a local artist named Megan Piontkowski. This has to be one of my favorite parts about working here. I love when artists or designers stop in to see the space, introduce themselves, and we get to know a little more about the person at the same time as being introduced to their work.
Megan proposed some classes, and when I took a look at her website, her work immediately lifted my winter-blues.
The plants, of course, made me smile — but overall, there is a quirky and light air to everything she does — from her illustrations of her alter ego, Sebastian, to more political, tongue-in-cheek satire, like her own Economic Stimulus Plan.
I am also a fan of her embroidery. Somewhere behind my cluttered desk, I am a minimalist at heart.
Overall, I’d like to fill my apartment with things this subtly beautiful and happy. Only 21 days to go!
(Photos courtesy Megan Piontkowski — sorry for the small size!)
Last Monday TAC took a rest and celebrated President’s Day – which for me pretty much ended up being the day that I finally did all my laundry, cleaned my room, and faced the world as a grown-up woman. The bright and shiny moment of the day was the quick stop that my roommate and I did at a pop-up gallery space in 147 Franklin Street, in Greenpoint.
The gallery is hosting the 600/3×9 project, which consists of 3 different exhibitions, by 3 different curators, featuring an x amount of artists, and all this happening in a 600 sq feet space, during only 9 days (each show is up for only 2 days!). The three emerging curators, Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, Ati Egas, Renee Bovenzi were selected amongst a group of 12, by the curators of the IN RiVERS gallery.
Hannah and I catch the end of the first show, Hybrid Lifeforms, curated by Jiyoun Lee-Lodge, and I fell in love with the work of Aidan Sofia Earle.
Sorting, dyed fabric and thread on paper, 2010
Aidan Sofia Earle studied painting but has “always been drawn to fiber arts” and her work brings together painting, embroidery, fabric applique and found objects. The result are beautiful and detailed compositions, that ask you to take a closer look and spend time discovering. One of my favorites is “At Nostrand”, which had kind of a finding-a-treasure-box effect in me.
Small Pile, watercolor, thread and fabric on paper, 2009
At Nostrand, found objects, mixed media, 2010
About her work, Aidan Sofia Earle says:
“Man made objects accumulate in many ways. Things are collated and stacked, piled and flushed, bundled and lined-up. We have numerous approaches to organizing our belongings and our waste. Even the forces of nature come into play in the way objects are accumulated. The gyres of trash in the oceans, the accretion of items on shorelines, these discarded items, small and large, have transformed landscapes.
From the streets of my environment I gather and accumulate discarded items. As a magpie chooses its treasure I collect the left behind objects of daily life. Physically stitching the objects together I think of the accumulation as story quilts, each item carrying its perceived history while becoming part of a new whole.”
The Collection, wood, metal, dyed fabric, thread, 2008
Aidan worked as a fashion textile dyer and painter, puppet and prop designer builder, carpenter and artists assistant, experiences that allowed her to have contact with a wide range of materials and techniques, which is reflected in her work. She still hand-dyes the fabric and the thread used in her artwork.
Untitled, collage watercolor, thread, pencil on paper, 2008
Aidan Sofia Earle is currently an MFA candidate at the Brooklyn College. She has exhibited with Sharon Arts Center, NH, Chase Gallery and Bates College Gallery, ME, Target Gallery, VA and had several residency fellowships, including Vermont Studio Center 2009, CAC Woodside 2010. She lives and works in Brooklyn.
I mentioned this exhibit on my blog yesterday but needed to have an excuse to further research the work of Anna Betbeze. She currently has an exhibit up at Kate Werble Gallery in NY and I cannot wait to check it out.
Anna is a young artist, under 35, originally from Alabama who went through the prestigious art program at Yale to end up as a working artist here in Brooklyn. Her work takes Flokati Rugs, think wool & shaggy, and she then dyes, beats, burns, and rips the work until it becomes a gorgeous but deconstructed skin of texture.
In a way her work is unclear, I remain unsure as what to take from it and her specific choice of canvas but in the end they are gorgeous abstract objects that have a more textural and therefore physical experience then most works of this style.
(The shows title, Moss Garden) refer to Michel Foucault, who lectured that “the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space.” Fortunately the artworks don’t take themselves as seriously; they have a wonderfully forlorn, abject quality that inspires more empathy than theory.
I love the reference to the Foucault quote but do not agree that these works do not take themselves seriously, I feel that the “forlorn” quality is the “seriousness” of the work and though very abstract they also must be incredibly textural and through the process quite distressed and overworked.
I cannot help but wonder what the role of that deconstruction is… I feel that if an artist is choosing to take something and then in essence destroy it to make something new that there must be intention behind this act and I am curious to what Anna’s intention is.
Visually these works intrigue and satisfy, conceptually I still have questions and have much more ambiguous feelings but needless to say I cannot wait to head to the city and see them myself this weekend.
It would make a great day to see this show on the same trip.
Read another thoughtful review here.
Until next time keep your needle threaded.
Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.
A few weeks ago, we were approached by a nice Irish man working for Japanese TV. He was working on a segment that highlighted the “craft wave” in and around NYC and Brooklyn. In particular he was interested in highlighting our weaving and shoe making classes, and he discussed with us the various ways in which we felt this “craft wave” was growing, affecting individuals, as well as the economy.
I feel like we’ve been having this conversation a lot, through several interviews happening around the same time (EcoSalon, Brooklyn Based), and it’s really actually helped in how we run things here. For the most part, we are doing what we believe in and what we think will make people happy. But when you are asked specific questions, it forces you to wrap your mind around what you’re actually doing — what is going on in a larger picture. And rather than just feeling it, you can talk about it in a more concrete way. I like that.
Alisa, one of our wonderful previous interns, shows up on the video as a weaver. She is Japanese, and her father still lives there. So when he randomly saw her on TV one night, he sent her the clip through Youtube:
Now I only wish I could understand Japanese and know what it says under my face while I’m speaking..