Archives for posts with tag: textile

Next Friday, March 11, marks the opening of Teem, a collaborative installation by Mary Babcock and Christopher Curtin. A first for Textile Arts Center!

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.

Epitaph – Created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. TheWedge Gallery, Asheville, NC, 2003

Dirty Laundry – Performance/installation created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. TheWedge Gallery, Asheville, NC, 2003

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?

Unnatural Acts – Prickly pear fiber, silver solder, wire. 2003 Addresses the unnaturalness of imposed boundaries and forced militarism.

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

I cannot wait to see Teem installed in our space. Other programming through March and April will be yoga and mediation, shibori, and Abigail Doan’s Earth Day workshop.

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’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!)

I am using part of my time while a resident artist at TAC this spring to explore the multitude of ways in which artists/designers/crafters use our processes of making textiles to engage in social change (part of my masters thesis at NYU). As I do so, I’ll also share some of what I am thinking about here on the TAC blog, discussing artists, events, projects, books, social movements, and resources.

Textiles and garments—through their production, circulation, consumption, and use— have played a central role in social change for centuries. I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you reading this that not unlike food, textiles are a consistent part of our lives: a fundamental human need and an important marker and driver of culture. The farms on which fibers are grown and the factories in which textiles and garments are produced have been sites of terrible abuses but also sites for important moments in the history of labor activism. This makes it a particularly rich place from which to ask questions about what is happening in the world today. If you have suggestions for anyone or anything you think I should look into, by all means send them my way! I value all of your comments and contributions.

Movie Nights:

While helping out at TAC’s mending circle this past Sunday, Owyn, Isa and I were contemplating organizing movie nights at TAC. So I thought for this first post I would share some of my favorite textile-related films that also offer a precursor to themes for future posts. Please do add your movie recommendations in the comments.

Daughters of the Dust, 1991

film still from Daughters of the Dust

A powerful film about the women of a family descended from slaves who worked on the plantations that grew indigo, cotton and rice. It takes place on the Sea Islands, where ships first dropped off slaves for quarantine before they were sold on the main land. In addition to a different view on an important part of textile history, the costumes themselves—the white dresses of the younger women and the deep indigo of the matriarch—are a striking part of the story telling.

Gabbeh, 1996

film still from "Gabbeh"

A Gabbeh is one kind of handwoven Persian rug, and in the film, Gabbeh is also the name of a young woman who mysteriously appears and becomes the protagonist in the film. The entire film is filled with images of the process of rug making, often used to tell part of the story of the human characters: collecting plants for dyeing, shearing goats, dyeing and spinning yarn, and weaving.

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, 2009

film still

A documentary on the history of the New York garment industry with a focus on its decline over the last 30 years in the context of global trade, the move of manufacturing overseas, and the continual search for cheaper labor.

Wool 100%, 1996

film still

A dream-like Japanese film of two junk-collecting women whose latest find are several balls of bright red wool. This acquisition also attracts a girl who spends the movie obsessively knitting a long sweater, then unraveling and re-knitting it again and again.

Gandhi, 1982

film still

Cloth played an integral role in India’s struggle for independence from Britain, something captured in great detail in this epic film, from the Indigo farmers who first tell Gandhi of their poverty to his promotion of Khadi cloth for both symbolic and economic reasons.

Norma Rae, 1979

film still

One of my favorite films about organizing, based on a true story, a single young mother and textile worker organizes a garment factory in Alabama.

Made in Dagenham. 2010

film still

I haven’t seen this yet but its getting great reviews and looks like an important comment on the classification of garment work as supposedly “unskilled.” Also based on a true story, this is about the 1968 strike of 187 sewing machinists that eventually led to the Equal Pay Act.

Craft in America, 2009

film still: Lucy Morgan at Penland School of Craft

Craft in America is a PBS series that covers much more than textile crafts and their first season is available to watch online. For those interested in fiber, I particularly love the first part of the third episode on quilting and community and about the creation of the Penland School in North Carolina.

* The title of this column is a play on “Bread and Roses,” a phrase taken from a poem and used to refer to the 1912 textile workers strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The call of women marchers, “We want bread, but we want roses too,” is said to be a call for dignity as well as fair wages, that life should be beautiful as well as just.

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!

I am so pleased to be working with the Textile Arts Center as part of our initiative at StyleSalt to support independent fashion artists and designers. Fiber art is the first step in wearable creations, and I couldn’t be happier with the shift from people looking for mass-produced pieces to wanting something special and unique–real statement-pieces that can be an extension of their personality and view of the world. It’s a push to individuality, and with the luxury market back in swing, customers don’t mind paying more to get it.
I have spent a large portion of my career working with designers, both emerging and established, as a fashion editor for magazines like ShapeNatural Health and Fit Pregnancy. Passion for creating something original is an attribute highly visible in this industry.
Now in my role for StyleSalt.com’s boutique , I am able to take on an even more hands-on role for artists, not just witnessing the journey, but also in helping. Our goal is to make apparel design a more accessible career for new talent, give designers a free place to sell their creations, free promotion, free blogging and an instant audience.
If you are interesting in becoming involved in StyleSalt’s boutique for emerging and independent designers, you can contact me at misty@stylesalt.com.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Misty Huber
CCO, StyleSalt.com

(from Eden Jewelry)

(from Kahri)

Join us and curator Scott Henstrand tonight for an Artist Talk on the current exhibition missing/Missed.

Textile Arts Center, 505 Carroll Street (btwn 3rd + 4th ave), January 24, 7PM

The following artists will be sharing about their work:

Regina Agu

Audrey Anastasi

Julia Elsas

Pat Hickman

Sara Jones

Mary Lippin

Jill Magi

John Paul Morabito

Maria Scarpini

Ed Schexnayder

Leonie Wunderlich.

Visit the missing/Missed website for more information on each artist!

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.

 

 

 

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 blog@textileartscenter.com.  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.