Archives for posts with tag: fiber art

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:


Gallery Exhibition and May Day Celebration
Title: Good Work
Curated by Tali Weinberg
Textile Arts Center and Oak Knit Studio Gallery
May Day is a celebration of spring, rejuvenation, fertility and life—a day to dance and weave the Maypole. And it is a day to honor laborers, to mark the social and economic achievements of the labor movement in the US, and for workers around the world to celebrate their ties to an international community.
This May Day the Textile Arts Center and Oak Knit Studio are celebrating the textile workers, artists, designers, and activists who make our world more beautiful and just—all makers tied together by the products of our labor—all makers whose work tries to do good in a multitude of ways. Artists and designers are invited to submit works for the exhibit Good Work in the Oak Knit Studio Gallery for the months of May and June that address related themes, including but not limited to labor, justice, gender, care, fair trade, the hand, immigration, skill and craftsmanship. Feel free to interpret the theme of “Good Work” broadly.
Artists, designers, and activists are invited to submit proposals for interactive workshops and presentations on related themes to take place at the Textile Arts Center. We strongly encourage submissions that engage the community, that present creative possibilities for the future, or that draw attention to local and contemporary textile labor, be it craft or industry. For workshops and presentations, we encourage proposals that include hands-on activities and take advantage of TAC facilities such as the screen-printing and sewing equipment.

Exhibition Dates: April 29th – June 12th 2011
Opening Night: Friday, April 29th
Artist Talks: TBD
Interactive Workshops: Sunday, May 1st

About the curator:
Tali Weinberg is a Brooklyn-based activist, textile artist, teacher and scholar. She is currently an artist in residence at the Textile Arts Center.

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.

Be sure to check out Elana Herzog’s show, Into the Fray, at LMAKprojects February 19.
It will be up February 19 – March  27 with an artist talk March 6.

Herzog alters and manipulates found textiles, including bedspreads and rugs, by stapling, tearing and draping.  These fabrics are transformed into new surfaces, often resembling organic decay or growth on the gallery walls they inhabit.

(Photos courtesy of

What a busy week! We’ll leave you with a nice, relaxing film put together by Etsy about a 91-year old Alaskan moccasin-maker named Mabel. We want our own Mabel moccasins to kick around this weekend…

Students will be finishing up the last class of Shoe-Making 101: North American Footwear, where they got to choose from 17 different designs for their leather shoes.

If you missed this round of Shoe Making, you can join in April! Check it out.


(courtesy Craft Zine)

Textile arts are rarely associated with the stillness, quietude, and self-conscious theatricality of minimalism and post-modernism. Often the phrase “textile arts” erroneously encourages on to conjure visions of patchwork , crazy quilts, and large swaths of bright weavings. One of the great successes of the Textile Art Center is its persistent expansion of our understanding of textile art’s limitations and vulnerabilities through its diverse exhibitions program.

MoMA PS1, too, is currently contributing to the reframing of textile arts in a contemporary context with its current exhibition of the paintings of Berlin-based artist Sergej Jensen. The term “paintings” here is used loosely and echoes the words of artist Ghada Amer (in a presentation recently featured on the TAC blog). Created from a diverse selection of found textiles, Jensen’s works on view include both pieces produced over the past eight years, as well as a number of new works created on site in a studio in PS1. His large canvasses echo the staunch minimalism of Callum Innes and Barnett Newman, and Jensen is remarkable in his ability to replicate the themes of classic abstraction in traditionally maximalist materials like silks, cashmere, diamond dust, and wool.

Jensen’s “paintings” invite the viewer to evaluate the traces of the artist’s mark on the fabric. Silks are pulled and stretched, wools are painted in oils, silk is powdered with diamond dust. Bleach, dye, and stitching are as important as color, shape, and balance. The intentional is lost in the accidental, a natural by-product of working with soft materials which are pulled, stressed, prodded, and manipulated. Jensen is able to physically shape images with the unique attributes found only in textiles and textile arts, balancing the forms of fabric with the classic shapes of modern art.

This exhibition is deceptively pictorial, the works challenging both as paintings and as pieces of textile art. Can painting and textile be so seamlessly combined? Is it possible to display both artistic expressions without one medium being lost or overtaken by the other? Jensen is masterful in the way he elegantly blurs these boundaries with a weighed consideration for his materials and their relationships.

A perfect example of Jensen’s talent for the balance between textile and painting is Blessed, a succinct and surprisingly poetic meditation on fabric and art history. The “painting” is simple in its composition: two pieces of sheer grey cashmere wool (one in a lighter shade, one in a darker shade) are sewn together, cutting the canvas in half horizontally. The resulting artwork looks like a horizon line—the endless expanse conjures references to traditional seascapes, Mark Rothko, and the Western landscape canon.

Sergej Jensen, Blessed, 2008, Sewn cashmere and thread
Collection of Charlotte and Bill Ford

United Nations is another work which sums up the possibilities for merging the two-dimensionality of painting with the multi-dimensionality of textiles and crafts. The piece features a rainbow-striped, machine-knit afghan stretched and sewn on a linen ground. By framing a piece of machine-made textile as a work of art, Jensen encourages the viewer to consider the divide between high and low art and the gulf between textiles and “fine arts.”

Sergej JensenUnited Nations, 2005Hand knitted wool on linen220 x 230 cm
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by
the Acquisition and Collection Committee

Jensen is consistent in his experimentation and thoughtful pursuit of found textile as a meaningful medium. His works are challenging, intelligent, and humorous statements about the imposed and negligible chasms between art media. Highly recommended.

Sergej Jensen is organized by the Aspen Art Museum. The exhibition is curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson and organized at MoMA PS1 by Peter Eleey, Curator of MoMA PS1.

Lauren Palmor’s experience in the art world has included positions at museums, art magazines, non-profits, and artist foundations. Read more at her blog

Thanks to Tali Weinberg, one of our talented Resident Artists, for compiling a list of “must see” shows in and around the NYC area (plus a few more we want to see):

Master of the Blue Jeans, Didier Aaron Gallery, through February 4

Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork, Whitney Museum, through February 13

Convergence, Lumenhouse, through February 15

Balenciaga: Spanish Master, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, through February 19

Kashmir Shawls at the Bruce Museum, through Feb 27th (Greenwich, CT)

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, Textile Museum, Washington DC, through March 13th (quick road trip anyone?)

AKWAABA: Weaving Unity Between Bonwire and Staten Island, Sung Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, through April 3rd

Art/Memory/Place: Commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Grey Gallery at New York University, through July 9 (closed March 27-April 11)

Knoll Textiles 1945-2010, Bard Graduate Center, May 18-July 31

Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformations on the Late 19th Century Northwest Coast, Bard Graduate Center, through April 17

Sergej Jensen, PS1, through May 2

The Global Africa Project, Museum of Art and Design, through May 15

Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, March 18-June 5

Rugs and Ritual in Tibetan Buddhism, Metropolitan Museum of Art, through June 26

A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles, Hebrew Union College Galleries, through June 30th

Have other recommendations? Let us know!

… because IT’S FRIDAY!

And although that doesn’t necessarily mean that the brake is near for us at TAC, since weekend equals classes happening, I always feel more relaxed (and lazier) when Friday comes.

For that reason, today’s post is nothing but eye candy and eye candy only. This week,  I walked by Nespresso store in Soho and was psyched with their window display.

Sequins + more sequins + bright and wonderland-ish colors + quilting? Got me!

The window displays are part of a collaboration that brought together Indian avant-gard designer Manish Arora and Nespresso. The store’s windows in Soho are covered with sequined and appliqué quilts, and animated little figures (that used coffee capsules in their construction), representing several of New York most emblematic buildings.

It’s been interesting to see so many brands (even not fashion related) having textile-y windows and marketing campaigns lately. Is it fiber art finally getting a well-deserved “sunny place” in the more mainstream world? Let’s hope that it will be more than a seasonal fashion.

Arora also created, inspired by Nespresso 16 different kinds of coffee, a fantastical fashion line, based on a fairy tale (that includes 16 princesses, daughters of Queen Nespresso). The clothes were made of uber-jeweled and sequined fabrics, but also included coffee capsules.

Manish Arora’s Nespresso Princesses

(photos courtesy of

Arora’s creations can be seen also in Nespresso stores in Paris, Sydney, Munich, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, Beijing, as well as Morocco, Greece, the Middle East, Japan and  South Africa till January 2011.



Some days ago, after attending the opening party for the Missing/Missed show, curated by Scott Henstrand my friend and art blogger Lauren Palmor told me about Ghada Amer work. Sara Jone’s work, on view in the exhibition, was the reason that made Lauren think about Amer. And you’ll understand why.

Sara Jones, You Are Now a Strange Here, acrylic and thread on canvas, 2010

(photo courtesty of Sara Jones)

Lauren told me that I really needed to check her work and the video of the talk she gave at ArtTalks, organized by the American Federation of Arts. “You have to see it”, and when Lauren says this she means. And now I want all you to see it too.

Ghada Amer is an american contemporary artist,  born in Egypt,  educated in France and now lives and works in New York City. Her most recognized and characteristic work are her abstract painted and embroidered canvases, often with erotic motifs. However, Ghada Amer is a very versatile multimedia artist and has worked also with sculpture, photography, video, installation and performance.

Ghada Amer (American, born Egypt, 1963). Red Diagonales, 2000. Acrylic, embroidery, and gel medium on canvas. © Ghada Amer, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Private collection

Ghada Amer, The Woman who failed to be Shehrazade, 2008. Acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas.

(photo courtesy of Cheim & Read Gallery)

She has been specially interested in exploring and addressing themes like the “submission of women to the tyranny of domestic life, the celebration of female sexuality and pleasure, the incomprehensibility of love, the foolishness of war and violence, and an overall quest for formal beauty”. (in Brooklyn Museum website) Other themes included the ” Western (mis)perceptions of Middle Eastern culture”, world politics and, recently, she has been working on antiwar pieces. (ArtTalks PR and Brooklyn Museum)

Ghada Amer,  Barbie Loves Ken, Ken Loves Barbie, 1995/2002. Embroidery on cotton. Collection of the artist, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

In 1991, Amer decided to replace the pencil/brush by the embroidery needle, so she could talk about women and women contemporary issues and problems, through a medium that have always been associated with women’s craft.

“I was always attracted to deal with the subject but I never dared, really, to do it (..) Then I had to, in a way, because I was looking for a way to paint with embroidery. I was depicting women doing domestic activities and the embroidery itself was a domestic activity. I needed to find imagery that would really challenge the embroidery as a medium and contradict it.”

(in TheDailyBeast)

On her talk at ArtTalks, Ghada Amer talks more about her choice for embroidery and her work (start at minute 13, to jump to the embroidery section).

Ghada Amer’s  work has been shown in the USA and internationally in several museums and galleries, including the Whitney Biennal, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Tel-Aviv Art Museum. She is currently represented by the Cheim & Read Gallery in New York.

Aude-Marie Franjou is a fiber artist based in Château Landon, a small town nearby Paris. Aude studied Art History and Tapestry in Paris, before starting exploring the sculptural possibilities of linen threads and ropes.

Artist in her studio

Aude Franjou creates organic tri-dimensional forms, made of hemp fiber wrapped with linen threads, which are often a part of a open dialogue with Nature. Her works can normally be found in parks and gardens, wrapping trees and houses.


” I start with a clear idea and then I just follow and react to what the material wants, to its reactions and movements. Sometimes I constrain this. Other times I just let myself go.”

(translated from artist statement in

And sometimes, as super organic forms indoors..

You can see more of the beautiful work of Aude-Marie Franjou in her website.





As most of you, I stayed snowed in yesterday, after an epic failed attempt to get to work. Biggest snowstorm since 1996, that’s what they say. It was a little bit of a frustrating day since I couldn’t get any work done – no internet, no right knitting needles, … However, each time that I’d look through my window, I couldn’t help to smile. Snow crystals, snow flakes, snow, snow mountains, snowed streets and cars.. Snow is so pretty!

And it made me remind of one of the first Abigail Doan‘s works I came across and that I truly loved, the Snowed Crocheted series.

Abigail Doan, Crocheted Snow 01, 2005

Abigail Doan, Crocheted Snow 03, 2005

Abigail Doan, Crocheted Snow 08, 2005

(photos courtesy of Abigail Doan)

I really love how the fine crochet work complements the delicate balance of the snow flakes on the branches. And just how simple and really beautiful it is.

And then, with my mind set on snow-y textiles, I started remembering the lovely white felted yurt, by Janice Arnold, at the Fashioning Felt exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt on Spring/Summer 2009. I went to see the exhibition on the opening night and it was crowded, but I remember coming back several times to this room and just stare at the walls and ceiling. The felt work is really complex and intricate, but expelling such a peaceful aura. Just like snow.

Janice Arnold, Palace Yurt, Site specific installation at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design, 2009

(photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy)

Janice Arnold, Palace Yurt, site specific installation at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design, 2009

(photo courtesy of Janice Arnold)

And finally, ended my snowy textiles dream with the installation piece World Wide Web, by Shane Waltener, commissioned for the exhibition Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, at the Museum of Art and Design, New York, in 2007. I moved to New York 2 years too late, but I’d love love love to have seen this one live.

Shane Waltener, A World Wide Web, 2007

(photos courtesy of Shane Waltener)


Hope you had a nice and cozy snowed in day!