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:
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.
(Previously installed as “Deluge”- see below)
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.
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..
(from Eden Jewelry)
An exciting weekend.
Friday was the Opening for Missing/Missed, curated by Scott Henstrand. The turnout was great, and the feedback thus far has been positive. Congratulations to Scott, and all the artists, on a wonderful show!
And on Sunday, we had a first meeting with our 6 new Resident Artists!
And, so, I’d like you to meet them as well:
Denise recently returned from Lebanon, where she produced a traveling theater group called “Books in Motion”. The group traveled throughout the area, to perform small acts in abandoned train stations. She also helped design and create all the costumes.
Now she is back in NYC and will join us for the next leg of her journey, exploring her life long interest in dress and why we choose to wear what we do, as well as her strong admiration for Islamic fashion.
Astrid Lewis Reedy
Astrid is a graphic designer by profession, but undergoing the process of exploring new routes of expression and employment through textiles and product design. She is a machine knitter, felter, and quilter who uses collage methods to combine many things to create a whole.
While at TAC, Astrid plans to create a first collection of home wares focusing on the the things we “keep” through tangible and intangible heirlooms. She also wants to continue her attempts to “hack” into her electronic knitting machine, directly connecting it to a computer and trying out new patterning techniques.
Julia is an incredibly talented machine knitter, who has created commercial work, as well as completed her own collections of knit wedding dresses, and other knit sculpture exploring the consciousness of the human body.
While at TAC, Julia plans to research and develop her interest in the idea of a “dowry” and how textiles have traditionally come into play. Focusing on the history of the dowry in Georgia and Armenia, Julia plans to create parts of a dowry, that follow fictional characters.
Aside from her activist and community organizational work, Tali is also a weaver, natural dyer, and sewer. While at TAC she will use the others around her, whether artists or students, as part of her research, while working on her own artwork.
Jill is a poet, writer, and artist. In her current work, she uses embroidery techniques to draw on paper, also exploring repetition, the artist series, installation, projection and performance. Very attuned to language through writing, her approach is most often conceptual, playing with the subtext of language as well as the presence of the hand and body.
She currently has an installation in the Missing/Missed exhibition at TAC, and plans to spend her time here on a new project related to labor and work.
We first met Whitney two summers ago, when she was a volunteer in our first year of Summer Camp. How happy we are to have her join us again!
Having just completed her MFA in Textiles from Colorado State, Whitney primarily studies repeat patterns and printing methods, and finds her relaxation through weaving.
After completing her thesis, she wants to explore the refuse from the process of creating — what can be done with the things were not purposefully created?
As General Manager at TAC, I often answer the question of whether or not I create anymore. And my answer is usually no, that I’ve really devoted myself to Textile Arts Center, and found far more fulfillment in that — watching others create — than creating for myself. While this is true, and it’s been several years since doing my own artwork, I left last nights meeting incredibly inspired to make that time for myself again.
I can’t wait to see what these 6 talented women do in the next couple of months, and finding my own creativity again through discussion and learning — even if I’m just sitting in on critiques.
I am incredibly lucky to have this life at Textile Arts Center.
It’s been a fast and furious year. We’ve been looking back, so here we go:
January, February and March are a blur of real estate agents, contractors, plumbers, electricians, lawyers. Working from home, Root Hill, back and forth from Carroll St to home and back again. Leaving behind another world before moving in to a new space that would allow an expansion and new ideas to form.
April was more building, felt walls, scrubbing floors, re-starting weaving courses and After School.
May – June no air conditioning. Lots of Ikea trips, building, painting. One more trip to the Dept of Buildings and we might die.
July and August are a hot mess of children Monday – Friday, 9-5pm and it is awesome. We can not be more proud of the children we have the pleasure to teach in our Summer Camp. The level of work that comes from them is incredible and we enter September looking forward to what the new After School program will be.
(kids of TAC go to MAD)
Free After Work Shops and Bags for the People start off a great series of free programming.
September, we throw a very different kind of Fashion’s Night Out event, where we are joined by so many wonderfully smart, beautiful, and talented designers and sustainable fashion experts to kick off a series of events we will have around each NY Fashion Week.
And who could forget the opening party and first gallery exhibition, Cutting Edge, curated by Joetta Maue? Packed wall to wall, with Raya and Fire Island Beer… a great way to start our full course load of adult classes and the series of gallery exhibitions.
October, classes are in full swing, free knitting workshops, and suddenly we are announcing January courses and planning gallery exhibitions for 2012. We realize we live in the future.
November, we celebrate the hand-made object and the process of learning with Kimberly Hall and The Virgin Knitters. Rubalad/Gemini&Scorpio uses TAC as its kick-off point for their giant Halloween Masquerade Ball. We call for artists far and wide as Scott Henstrand would curate our January show Missing/Missed and we would begin our Studio Rental Program with 6 talented textilers.
December, TAC members take to the hills of Peru. We celebrate the Holidays with a massive ice-sculpture-neon-party with neighbors BK Guild and Lite Brite Neon. BK Craft Central holds one-half of it’s fantastic Craft Market at TAC and we spend too much money. But get to present our first foray into product at 3rd Ward.
And now! It’s December 31, we’re about to close the studio and celebrate the year. Thank you to everyone who has supported TAC this year — whether you took a class, attended a workshop, participated in an event, shared your artwork, or just hung out with us. We can’t show our appreciation enough. Looking forward to a fantastic 2011..
Happy New Year, everyone!
Some weekends ago Owyn and I attented to the October New York Handweavers Guild meeting, featuring Adrienne Sloane‘s “Knitting the Political Landscape” lecture, in which she covered “works by artists and activists who are helping to change the landscape of knitting art” as well as her own art work.
Adrienne Sloane – Truth to Power (detail)
(image from www.adriennesloane.com)
Amongst the several exciting knit/crochet artists that Adrienne presented, we came across with the work of Ruth Marshall and her tiger pelts.
Ruth Marshall is an artist in residency at the Museum of Art and Design, in New York and is currently working on her Tiger Pelt Project. In this project, Ruth has been knitting live size tiger pelts, based on the actual tiger pelts collection of the American Museum of Natural History and data from wild tigers being studied by scientists.
Tiger Cub, knitted yarn, 2010
(image from www.madmuseum.org, photo and art by Ruth Marshall)
“Through studying actual pelts that were collected from 1944 onwards to live wild tigers captured by photographs, I hope to trace the history and stories behind these amazing tigers that are facing the threat of extinction today.” (in http://www.madmuseum.org)
Ruth has been working with animals for a while. After graduation she joined the exhibit/graphic & design team of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo, and she worked there as an exhibition sculptor for more than 12 years. This experience gave her the opportunity to study a world class animal collection and to learn about conservation strategies related to endangered species. (www.madmuseum.org)
Some of her previous projects include series of pelts from other cats species, like jaguars and leopards, and a series of 68 knitted coral snake skins. All knitted pelts and skins are a faithful and detailed reproduction of the principal characteristics of the species, like colors, stripes, …
Gold Jaguar, knitted yarn bamboo and string, 2007
(photo by Maja Kihlstedt)
Clouded Leopard (from the Small Cat Series), hand knit wool yarn, wooden frame, twine, 2009
(photo by Maja Kihlstedt)
Coral Snake Series, 2006, exhbited at Dam, Struhltrager Gallery, Brooklyn
(photo by Maja Kihlstedt)
” My art is related to and bound by a fascination with animals. In essence the work is a synthesis of concepts relating to wildlife conservation and visually interpreting natural animal forms. Exploring the precarious balance of our relationship to nature reacquaints us with an exotic world that we are in danger of losing with all the inherent drama of that loss fueling a search for survival.” (www.ruthmarshall.com)
In a society that keeps acknowledging the use of animal pelts as a Fashion need when the cold days come, these awesome uber-detailed knitted pelts and skins should be a reminder for all of us of the need to preserve these species. And, that real animal pelts are way more beautiful when seen “live and alive”.
Ruth Marshall was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. She got her BA in sculpture and printmaking at Phillip Institute of Technology, and in 1995 her M.F.A in sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in multiple exhibitions, throughout the USA and internationally, and in several publications.
Jrumchai Singalavanij’s new technique transforms waste from the textile industry into a usable material and addresses a very real problem. More than one million tons of textiles are thrown away in the UK every year, and only a small proportion is recycled – the rest makes up a large proportion of current landfill sites.
“His project started from a commitment to peaceful happiness which led him to a belief that a non-violent attitude to the entire ecosystem is fundamental to life and design. I chose to recycle scrap from the textile industry. Jrumchai worked with the ragged selvedge of woven woollen cloth, which is cut off at the loom and generally discarded. He then developed a unique process to transform the waste into new kind of material, then let the unusual quality of the new material inspire suitable woven structures.”
“The methodology used in the practice was based on the principle of sustainability. For instance, with an awareness of energy and water consumption, He chose to use the original colours of the waste instead of changing their colours by dyeing or printing on top. In recognition of waste management, natural and synthetic materials were not mixed together. The process is environmentally friendly: only bio-degradable substances, like starch, were used.
Jrumchai seriously thought about how my design can convey the notion of long-term contentment in a simple life. I decided to avoid unnecessary decoration and chose designs that show the intrinsic characteristics of the materials. Therapeutic quality was another important value added through my work, which invites one to touch and feel, and brings a smile to one’s face.”
“I want to make clothes that I love, with lots of character. I want to make timeless pieces with reference to me, where I come from and what I represent as a designer.” –Florencia Kozuch
Originating from Argentine, Florencia Kozuch’s designs draw inspiration from her native home in Buenos Aires. She fuses indigenous craft from South American Aborigines with innovative textile application and shape making. Her recent collections feature a combination of traditional crafts, innovative knitwear design with a modern aesthetic. Florencia’s work is intriguingly detailed and alluring wearable. Her bold imaginative creations have led her to become tipped as “One to Watch” by Vauxhall Fashion Scout. Her designs offer something for the forward thinking, strong, unafraid woman.
This week’s blog post comes from an idea from reader Amy.
Zoe Bradley creates oversize, highly crafted headpieces, dresses, and sets for advertising campaigns, editorials, catwalk shows, and window displays. She uses traditional tailoring techniques but uses more conventional fabrics mixed in with luxury papers.
Primarily Zoe collaborates with luxury brands to create jaw-dropping installations to compliment the designer products and brand identity. Her highly crafted fashion sculptures have been used in advertising and editorial worldwide. Her signature material is Luxury paper, though she has been known to use fabric, wood, and recycled plastics.