Archives for posts with tag: design

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!)

Our shoemaking class starts today and I couldn’t be more excited for being part of it. During 4 weeks we’ll be learning how to design and construct our own leather moccasins with Mark Schuyer.

While I was dreaming about the shoes I’ll make, I came across with this ones, via unconsumption:
They are made by unu-life, a London-based design company that “hopes to inspire a greater appreciation of our physical surroundings” and “raise awareness of environmental and social issues and to create things that enrich our material lives”.

These slippers are made from a single sheet of recycled leather, using neither glue or stitching. They come to you flat-packed and ready to be assembled by simply folding the leather according to the instructions:

“The design stems from deconstructing the physical concept of footwear into its component parts, taking one of those elements – pattern making – and rebuilding it in its purest form. The result is a simple, understandable product that engages consumers in the act of assembly and enhances their sense of ownership.” (in unu-life)

unu-footwear also aims to call the consumers attention and appreciation of the physical quality in the products that surround us.

Living in a society that generally promotes fast, blind and massive consumption, it’s really wonderful to see more and more design companies working towards creating products that force you to stop and think about them, their materials, and their impact the environment and in our lives.And that maybe will inspire us to go to our homes, studios or classes and create/re-create something way more meaningful and conscientious than what you’d normally get by impulse in store.

We at TAC, and I personally, don’t totally agree with New York Times’ Worn Out Fashion Terms List– DIY is not dead(!) and the question if either it’s worthy to make your own instead of spending a couple of dollars buying it from a chain store, it’s not even a real question if you think about the pleasure of making time for design and constructing exactly what you dreamed of.




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.




Kids Company and The Bryan Adams Foundation are delighted to host “Shoebox Art“, a unique auction and exhibition of work by leading artists this past March.  Each shoebox was a recreated room from each of the artist’s childhood to relate to the work of the Kids Company.

Damien Hurst — “When we are no longer children, we are already dead.”

David Bailey — “My childhood was spent mostly in a shelter, because of the Blitz in the East End.”

Dawn Howley — “Living with domestic violence isn’t a one-off experience, it’s a way of life, the fear is always present.  Growing up Dad would constantly attack Mum, and sometimes us kids if we got in the way.  We lived in constant fear.  At night we would lay in bed anticipating his arrival.  There was a certain way he slammed the door and we would al know what was in store.”

Jeremy Deller — “This is my bedroom from age seven or so  My two biggest obsessions at this time in my life were outer space and Glam Rock which were conveniently combined in the persona of David Bowie.  Now of course I am more grown up and have ditched the obsession with outer space…”

Don Brown — “Well, it’s not any specific room but it could represent a corner of a room from my childhood.  I was thinking about a place where I used to keep collections of things that I found, and where I used to make things.  As a child I was fascinated by the mystery of preserving and copying things, so my room was always full of feathers and stones and fur and materials for making things like plaster and clay and paint.  Thinking about how to give an impression of my childhood room and starting to gather things together, I was irresistibly drawn by the beauty of these eggs that were sitting in my studio — I held birds eggs in very high esteem as a child — also the different sizes and the way they fitted together brought back to me a sensation, an odd intimation of infinity that I believe most children feel and that I called ‘The Big Little Feeling’.”

Grayson Perry — “This is an approximation of my childhood bedroom in which I slept between the ages of eight and fifteen.  It was the scene of many dramas real and imagined.  In my mind it was a steep-sided valley where the rebels, lead by my teddy bear, Alan Measles, were based.  The candlewick bed-spread served as a fieldscape for guerrilla warfare against the invading Germans who were a thinly veiled metaphor for my stepfather.  Every available horizontal surface would have been crammed with model airplanes ready for dogfights and every square inch of the walls covered with pictures of planes and cars.  Alan was an invincible race car driver and fighter pilot and many of his greatest victories were played out on the windowsill, me kneeling on the bed, narrating and supplying the soundtrack.  This room was also where I discovered I was a transvestite, trying on my sister’s and my mother’s clothes.  Under the bed I kept the comic strips I drew in which a secret agent type called Rif Raff got involved in adventures that usually ended with him having to dress as a woman and be tied up.  In many ways this room was the workshop in which my artistic imagination was forged.”

Chapman Brothers — “We had a nightmare that everything was going to turn out alright.”

Ronnie Wood — “This is the room in my first council house when I was about eight years old — full of musical instruments, art materials, and art school students…friends of my two older brothers.”

Natasha Chambers — “I was running to get away.  The witch and the darkness on my heels.  They can’t have me or my box.”

Daisy de Villeneuve — “I wanted to recreate my teenage bedroom, growing up in the late 1980s-early ’90s.  I recreated almost exactly Laura Ashley wallpaper with yellow curtains and miniature posters of teen idols such as Michael J. Fox and Matt Dillon.  PLus, I added personal details, such as tiny copies of family photos, with me and friends.”

Mat Collishaw — “I grew up without a TV so I made a lot of collages when I was young of what I thought the world was like.  Naturally my views were somewhat distorted as my material was mainly derived from comics and magazines.  The world I imagined out there was on hallucinogens and steroids.  Not dissimilar to the classic Richard Hamilton collage.”

Tim Braden — “My bedroom was very small (I don’t think there would have been enough space for these playground toys), but I liked climbing up the ladder into my bed.  My Mum painted the walls with murals of Snoopy on his kennel and the Mr. Men — I was Mr. Greedy.”

We hope you got to check out the Cutting Edge: Celebrating Fiber show that recently came down.  It really was a stunning show, that drew in wanderers off the street with the massive and delicate textile installations visible from the street. Textile installation artists are vital to textile’s “Fine Art” status.  For the Textile Arts Center, we are dedicated to this stance on textile arts and it will open the doors for textile artists to become internationally recognized just like Picasso and Monet.

Rowland Ricketts is interested in the science of color and how it affects our sensations when we view art.  Contemporary science tells us that color is a sensation experienced because of the differing wavelengths of light waves. To Rowland this is only part of the story. As an artist, her sensation of color is also informed by that color’s material substance and the process that gives color form for her to reflect upon.

“This takes the form of both functional textiles and textiles intended solely as artwork. I see the two practices as symbiotic equals. My artwork challenges me to better define for myself the substantive meaning of the plants and processes I use. My functional work allows me to apply this vision of color in the context of a socially and environmentally responsible design practice. Still, in both my functional textiles and artwork, my intention is the same: Through simple forms and a straight-forward presentation I strive to present the viewer with a color so rich that they see beyond the dyed material to examine all that lies within a color’s substance.” — Rowland’s Statement

My other favorite textile installation artist is Eva Schjolberg.  She has a background in textile projects with regard to space, body and clothing. In recent years she has moved in the direction of textile sculptures and installations. In this exhibition, she shows three-dimensional columns of folded fabric. The starting point for geometry shapes are based on squares. Work The basic structure consists of strips of textile ribbons that are folded in a zigzag pattern. In the distance, the precise fold the edges smoothed out and seemingly melt together into a rhythmic spiral pattern around an axis. The installation items will be experienced as parts of circles.

You probably can tell by now that I favor minimalist installations.  If you have any other textile installations you favor please email me at  I want to encompass the entire range of textile arts.

If you’ve got installation art you want to share, consider submitting to our Call for Entries for our Jan/Feb Gallery show: Missing/Missed, curated by Scott Henstrand.

**Blog Plug: Don’t forget to submit your blog ideas to!  I am anxiously waiting for all of the brilliant ideas that are sure to come my way.

Anyhow, today I was sitting on the subway and like any other New Yorker I was trying to keep my eyes to myself…meaning that I was in la-la land, keeping to myself, and I didn’t want to be bothered. But a woman with bright pink curly hair caught my attention around Canal Street.  However, the first thing I noticed was that she was cross-stitching (something you don’t see everyday in New York) and then my eyes gazed upon her hot pink locks.  But I didn’t think, “Oh what an interesting / weird / loud hair color.”  I thought, “Wow that color would look beautiful as a cashmere sweater.”  That head of hair completely turned me on to the idea of looking at hairstyles as a point of creative stimulation. (I got tired of using the word inspiration.)

From This…

To This (sorry I was unable to find the designer)…

And This…

To Christian Dior…



And This…

To Tina Kalivas…

These pictures are exceptional and tend towards the side of extremely fashionable hair dyes but it just shows you that hair is a wonderful source of creative stimuli.  What you did to your head in high school and college can help you create your wardrobe, bathroom, wedding invitations, etc.

Though there is the possibility that my time at the Textile Arts Center has rekindled my insatiable creativity, my imagination is running WILD.

Have you seen the movie Coraline?  It is stop-motion film directed by Henry Selick, about an adventurous little girl who stumbles across the “Other World” in which her “other mother” tries to keep her.  It is a fascinating film that has the air of a Tim Burton film, of which I am obsessed.


One crew member was hired specifically to knit miniature sweaters and other clothing for the puppet characters, using knitting needles as thin as human hair.  This artist would be Althea Crome.  She finds “great joy and comfort in the process that knitting provides.” However, the added challenge of creating a physical object that is so small in measure has reignited her excitement about her already beloved art form.

Her fascination with small scale knitting emerged in 2000 and ever since Althea has pushed the envelope creating and perfecting new techniques and designs.  “The ‘bug-knit’ scale has allowed her the freedom to create and experiment with designs that would be a pain on a larger scale.

Althea’s needles are insanely tiny, and she must have the eyes of a hawk to see where her stitches are.  It takes great concentration for me to keep count of scarf stitches, let alone stitches of a sweater that will only fit around my finger.

With his signature sculpture dress in white Johan Ku is a force to be reckoned with.  Born in Taipei, Taiwan Ku began as a graphic designer when he was only 17 years old.  Since then he has gone on to get a masters in fashion and textile design, move to London where his studio is based, and win a series of awards for his designs and style.

In an interview conducted by extracted these great insights into Ku’s philosophy on fashion and life:

NOTHING INSPIRES KU LIKE… Interesting textiles or yarns. He often get inspired by new materials. It’s not only an important element of his design process, but also a starting point for Ku’s collection.

KU HOPEs… He can live on an isolated island with only someone whom he loves.

CULTURAL INFLUENCES… Can affect people’s minds imperceptibly. They also represent where and who we are in the world.

KU GOT WHERE HE IS… Thanks to Ku’s commitment to hard work. Also, the support from friends and family can be the best encouragement in such a competitive industry.

FASHION CAN SOMETIMES… Can make Ku feel bored and superficial, on the other hand, it can sometimes impress him in a very positive way.

MONEY MAKES… Many things possible and often makes many things complicated. We cannot live without money, but it would be really sorrowful if we lived only for it.

CREATIVITY COMES FROM… Studying in a certain field for a very long time. It comes from rational development rather than a mythical emotion.

KU HAS NEVER… Taken any kind of drugs in his life, and Ku am not a smoker either. He doesn’t want to do anything that could damage his health, no matter how exciting it may seem.

His most recent collection Emotional Structure won the Avant-Garde Award of Gen Art Style  last year.  And with the chilly months swiftly approaching us I cannot help but imagine that I am lounging by my ridiculously large fireplace with a martini draped in one of these goddess gowns.

Reminder:  The Cutting Edge Artist Talk is this Friday (October 8th) at 7:30pm.  We have 8 artists lined up and the curator Joetta Maue will be present.  For more information please refer to our website.  We hope to see you there.