Archives for category: Contemporary Textile Art

–Light and air are invisible existences–

Asako Ishizaki‘s inspiration comes from the drama created by nature’s ecosystem, which penetrates every facet of our lives.  Her work offers to simulate the senses and imagination of invisibility and visibility.  “Therefore the form of my work should devote itself to become minimalist, as if by natural selection, and should catch air and light to make it possible to sneak in the natural beauty.” — Asako’s Artist Statement

Thus all of her works are transparent and airy to allow the light and air to intertwine with the structure.

From the Earth

Field – SUI

Drawing of Light

Field- Crossing

Asako creates three-dimensional, free-standing sculptures created out of silk and linen.  She is a highly skilled weaver and in 1969 created her own way of weaving. This is a mixture of plain weave and allowing the weft threads to cross freely without warp threads at various points. The cloth is then oversewn to increase its density, or pleated to give a further dimension.  The piece ´Drawn From Light´ is woven from linen and silver yarn but involves the use of the light as a key component. The work is lit from above so that the pattern of the threads cast shadows, drawing from the light. In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, curator Lesley Millar describes the delicate nature of the work: “the horizontal ´weft´ threads have been tie-dyed giving a variation of colour and texture which add to the visual sensation that the work is floating in the air´.

I think it’s incredible that Asako captures the beauty of light and air so perfectly. When I think of beautiful light and air I think of sheer white curtains blowing in the morning wind, and that feeling of peace and awe are reflected in her pieces.  I imagine that her work would perfectly coincide with the quiet sounds of nature that lull adults to sleep.

Beyond the Season

Beyond the Season 2003


SOUKEI – Wrapping



It was another successful party at the Textile Arts Center September 17th.  So successful that the guests began to encircle the Raya Brass Band so that they couldn’t leave the venue and stop playing their feet-stepping music.

The exhibition is beautiful, and if you were unable to view all the pieces you should stop by anytime between Mon-Fri from 10am-6pm to walk around and take all the art in.

left: “Creatures- Strength, Wisdom, Trust” — Virginia Fitzgerald

middle: “Nobody” — Sierra Furtwangler (Mixed Media)

right: “RB Dress” — Margarita Mileva (Rubber Bands)

“The Weavers Bench” — Andrea Donnelly (Warp Painted, Hand-Woven Cotton)

“Chlorobionta” — Lucia Lavilla Havelins (Needlepoint and Beading)

“(Untitled) rocks” — Emily Barletta (Embroidery, Felting)

“Plastic in Trees” — Julia Kornblum (Weaving)

left: “Dream Home Sweet Home (Mature Landscape)” — Jennifer Hunold (Hand Embroidered)

right: “Bill Cosby” — Amanda Tiller (Embroidery)

“Cover” — Luke Haynes (Quilting)

“Seven Houses Never At Home” — Mallory Feltz (Hand -Warped Yarn)

“Conciliate” — Janice Jakielski (Porcelain and Mixed Media)

Title Unknown — Suyeon Na

“Creatures – Strength, Wisdom, Trust” — Virginia Fitzgerald (Organic Crochet)

“Self Portrait with Son” — Leslie Schomp (Hand-stitched with Hair, Nylon and Thread)

“Martina” — Cayce Zavaglia (Hand Embroidery)

“Beer Pong” — Erin M. Riley (Hand Woven Tapestry with Hand Dyed Wool)

“(Untitled)” — Tod Hensley (Hand Embroidery)

“Knit together in that Secret Place” — Meredith Re Grimsley (Hand Embroidery and Beading)

“Sewn Home” — Alisha McCurdy (Hand Embroidery and Color Photograph)

“Bounty” — Rebecca Ringquist (Machine and Hand Stitching on Found Cloth)

**Pictures provided by Roland Kielman

Cutting Edge has many more artists being shown and other works done by some of the artists you see here.  Stop by any time between Monday-Friday from 10:00am-6:00pm to see all the art in person.  It really is quite an experience.

Cutting Edge (Showing until October 11)

Curated by: Joetta Maue

Artist Talk on October 8th at 7pm (must RSVP at with subject “Artist Talk” to reserve a seat)

I know what you are thinking.  How gross!  But I wanted to start this new week off with a bang. I want to introduce you an artist who has two hobbies that give me the heebie-geebies, hunting and taxidermy.

David R. Harper specializes in sculpture, drawing, and embroidery and combines them with the unappealing, self-taught hobby of taxidermy.  At 26 years old, is finishing up his Masters in Fine Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago and his works are currently being shown at the Textile Museum of Canada. My question is: When will he show in an American museum?

His painstaking work takes a lot of time to perfect and complete.  One of his larger works includes a life-size horse which is made entirely out of cow hides with a Victorian woman delicately embroidered into the rear of the animal.

The Last to Win (2008)

His pelts are intricately embroidered and deliberate in their message.  They give a new spin on a luxury, giving it a rough edge with a little dab of mortality.  I love that he embroiders pictures of long-past persons on these pelts that belong to a long-past animal.  To me it is a unification of man and animal, blurring the lines that define humans from other mammals.  It’s as he is saying that we shouldn’t care about defining ourselves from our animal friends, for in the end it doesn’t matter.

Then there are David’s sculptures which echo the themes of his pelts.  However, I feel that these pieces are like a car crash: you are revolted by the sight but find it so interesting that you are unable to look away.  His sculptures are not the most beautiful by traditional standards, but definitely are stunning in their own right.

Guild (2007)

Title Unknown

Bear Skin Rug (2008)

Fox 39 (2008)

Graze (2005)

A Tribute to Canadian Rock and Roll (2005)

Because of Fashion Week the Textile Arts Center’s blog has been consumed with fashion. However, with our Grand Opening party quickly approaching and the opening of our first gallery exhibition, Cutting Edge: A Celebration of Fiber, it is time to get back to the forward-thinking art.  One artist whose work spans over the past 16 years immediately came to mind.

I came across Joana Vasconcelos one day when I googled fiber art.  One of the first pictures to pop up was a piece called Piano Dentelle (2008) which is a hand crochet piano and stool.  Of course I was immediately drawn to it being a woman of music.  It just looks so dainty, like those piano fortes that were used in the time of Mozart.  I just want to run my fingers across the ivory.

This artist doesn’t stop at just pianos; she covers literally every surface imaginable with beautiful crochet covers.  I wish I could put more of her beautiful snakes up on this, but I’ll leave a little mystery so you will go out and check out her amazing website.

(Yes, it is a urinal.)

Joana was born in Paris and now lives and works in Lisbon.  Her creative process is based on the appropriation, decontextualization, and subversion of pre-existent objects and everyday realities.  From this process she derives a conversation of contemporary idiosyncrasies: hand-crafted/industrial, private/public, tradition/modernity, and popular culture/erudite culture.

Her materials range all over the spectrum of materials, some materials you wouldn’t even suspect…like pots, zip-ties, and tampons.

Marilyn 2009 (Materials: Pots and Pot Lids)

The Bride 2001 (Material: Tampons)

Wives 2005 (Material: Zip Ties)

Sugar Baby 2010 (Materials: Plastic Sand Moulds, Stainless Steel)

Mr. Wine 2010 (Material: Wrought Iron)

And remember, the Textile Arts Center’s Grand Opening party and Cutting Edge:A Celebration of Fiber are both this Friday September 17th from 8pm-11pm.  Music, food, beer, wine, and great textile art.  (Suggested donation of $20.00)

I love multi-textured and architectural art.  By layering pieces, colors, and different degrees of sheer fabric on top of each other creates new ways of seeing the fabric.  Lindsay Taylor is another individual who understands the principles of layering and has put it to practice in her sculptures and jewelry.

Lindsay resides on the Isle of Wright in England.  Her works have been featured in many publications including Selvedge, Design Edge, and Country Living.  All of her works begin with hand dyed fabric, mainly silk or merino wool.  Then multiple techniques are applied usually over one another to create what Lindsay describes as “magic”.  Many of the techniques used are devoré, felting, appliqué, heat manipulation, freehand or machine embroidery, batik, wire and bead work.  The final product is nothing short of highly innovative, textured, and extremely beautiful.

Every little detail that you can imagine are present in her work.  The lines of the butterflies are carefully stitched into the wings, giving each individual butterfly character of its own.

The Victorian Era.  When I think of the Victorian Era I always think about the magnificent dresses adorned in pearls, lace, gold brooches, feathers, beads, and ribbons.  Layer upon layer of silk, satin, and velvet in rich, royal colors: all the robin’s egg blue, scarlet red, eggplant purple, evergreen, ballet pink, and ivories you could ever desire.  Ugh, I was born in the wrong era. Though I am grateful my mother never tried to put me into one of those corsets.  Torture devices is what I would call those. I could never risk the ability to breathe deeply in order to look like an hour-glass.  Sigh…but the way fabrics were manipulated and transformed into fantastical waterfalls of fabric just mesmerize me.

Thank god I can still taste a little bit of this era with these beautiful textile necklaces.  They can be worn with any little black dress or with a plain white tee-shirt.  Either way, they make a statement on their own, “I feel pretty.”

Katherine Wardropped is an award-winning 3-D textile designer.  Her goal is to organically develop her “sculptural fabric technique” to a range of creative disciplines.  Particularly her brooches and necklaces all remind me of swirling wedding cakes.

However these necklaces are only available in London-based boutiques, though you could commission Katherine to create a masterpiece for you..if you are willing to pay a Victorian price.

If you don’t want to break the bank, then you should check out the necklaces created by Laura Su for her website Prismera.  Laura takes chiffon and other fabrics, sculpts them into ruffles, and applies vintage-style satin, ruffles, and sequins creating a modern take on Victorian high-style.

When you think about it, felt is an amazing substance.

Born from wool, it takes just a little bit of water, beating with reeds, and a ride behind a horse and you have the fabric called felt.  Or, to save on the cost of a horse, you can just throw wool into a hot wash and out comes felt.  Felt is used everywhere: on your instruments, in your car and home, in your childhood toys, or your warm hats, on your billiard tables, in blankets and mattresses, and those are the only examples I can think of right now.

However, felt has never been considered a luxury fabric; and subsequently, never is first to be chosen when creating clothing or art.  Yet the kids at the Textile Arts Center’s camp made these beautiful little felt sculptures that got me to thinking whether or not any mature artists utilize felt in their artistic process.

Tristin Lowe’s work is simple but powerful.  He uses natural white felt to create his life-sized masterpieces.

This whale is made entirely out of felt and is life-size.  Look at the fantastic detail that went into the little barnacles that permanently attach themselves to the whale’s body.

Another large-scale artwork is his Lunar piece.

Dana Barnes is no stranger to fabrics.  As a veteran sportswear clothing designer for Elie Tahari, Adrienne Vittadini and Tommy Hilfiger she has been exposed to fabrics more complicated than felt.  But when her downstairs neighbors started to complain that her children were making a racket running back and forth through their loft she came up with a “feltastic” solution.  She started to create large felt rugs to muffle the sounds of her children running.  The process is communal and creates very beautiful rugs.

Dana was reviewed in the NY Times in May.  To read this review click here.

It is a common thing to look at one’s feet when one is extremely shy.  Why not give them something interesting to look at?

Bolon, a Swedish vinyl flooring company, have been producing beautiful woven vinyl flooring for over 50 years have produced some of the most eco-friendly “flooring without limits”.  Though not many people would see vinyl flooring as chic, these designs are hard to pass up.  They look and feel just like textile flooring but have all the advantages of vinyl flooring from the installation to the cleaning.

Some of the most well-known and luxurious hotels have opted for Bolon’s environmentally friendly woven flooring.  Used either outside or inside, neutral or bold, Bolon’s distinction cannot be denied.  From the Sheraton, Hilton, and Best Western to The Four Seasons, and Club Med these innovative colors and patterns add a refreshing punch of  individuality to the most common of accommodations.

Bolon’s flooring looks great and feels great AND on top of that are made out of plasticisers which consist of 100% renewable raw material, with origin in the plant kingdom, which was added to their most recent line “Botanical” and will be spread to the rest of its line within the next coming years.  It’s initiatives is to make a product that is completely environmentally adaptive and climate neutral.  Bolon’s factories also use 100% recycled electricity to run their extensive facilities.

One may want look at their feet for days…

Sandra Backlund

Knitwear genius extraordinaire.  Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden this talented knitwear designer has grown from single inventor to working with a team of experts.  Each of her collections have life of its own while maintaining the skill of the simple knit and pearl.

It was incredibly difficult for me to choose just one collection to highlight so I want to take a walk through them all.

Body Skin and Hair. Yes that would be hair that you are seeing, this collection highlights the proportions of the body and flesh colored tones, and actual human hair.

Blank Page is a collection done entirely with white thread.  Here we get a sense of wintery wonderland-ness with puffy looking snowball experiments.

In Perfect Hurts we see Sandra dabble in crochet and the delicate silk lining only accentuates her beautiful designs.

Diamond Cut Diamond style is harsh yet stunningly beautiful.  The model completely terrifies me, but OH do i want those awesome grey leg warmers!

Don’t Walk…you guessed it, the entire collection is done in a deep, rich, red.

Ink Blot Test. Tell me doctor, what do you see in this black and white confection?

In No Time

“My work is very personal to me.  I improvise and allow myself to loose control and see what happens if I do not think too much about practical things.  The human body is always the starting point.  I am really fascinated by all the ways you can highlight, distort, and transform the natural silhouette with clothes and accessories. I build garments from a couple of basic bricks which I multiply and attach in different ways to discover the shape that I want.” – Sandra

These next three collections speak clearly to this point.

Last Breath Bruises

Pool Positions

“I am interested in almost every traditional handicraft method and I do experiment a lot with different materials and techniques, but it is my three-deimentional collage knitting that is most significant.”

Control C

Sandra’s current collection for Spring/Summer 2010 is her first collaboration with a team of expert knitwear designers.  The knit wears carry less volume and are more consumer friendly.   Though they still maintain the same principles and techniques as Sandra’s solo collections.  You can still see her uniqueness shine through in these more conventional shapes.

Today I am going to talk a little bit about these beautiful sculpture tapestries created by the genius El Anatsui. Every tapestry is made from tops of evaporated milk tins, rusty metal graters and old printing plates, liquor bottle caps, all gathered in and around Nsukka, Nigeria, where the artist has lived and worked for the last 28 years. All of the cutting, manipulating, and reattaching of these different metals culminate into stunning, visual feasts.  The tapestries’ aesthetics are inspired by traditions of Ghana and Nigeria.

Though his work is based in West African societies and practices the commentary of his work transcends to any society.   “Through their associations, his humble metal fragments provide a commentary on globalization, consumerism, waste and the transience of people’s lives in West Africa and beyond. Their re-creation as powerful and transcendent works of art–many of which recall traditional practices and art forms–suggests as well the power of human agency to alter such harmful patterns.” (from National Museum of African Art)

El Anatsui will be hosting a North American Tour beginning this October.  The show When I Last Wrote To You About Africa will consist of 60 El Anastui’s sculptures which were pulled from public and private collections, and will cover over 40 years of El Anastui’s work.

Tour Dates:

October 2, 2010 to January 2, 2011 – Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Winter 2011 – Museum for African Art, in New York

November 12, 2011 – February 5, 2012 – The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor

March 8 – June 17, 2012 – The North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh

September 2 – December 1, 2012 – The Denver Art Museum