Posts tagged Textile
Marisa Veerman
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Marisa Veerman is a photographic and textile fine artist based in Brisbane, Australia. Having forged her career as a textile visual merchandiser in fabric boutiques, Marisa sculpted endless fashion and theatrical pieces on mannequins with pins and fabric alone.

She is an emerging face in the art world and is currently broadening her artistic career through photographic art works that are embellished with fine embroidery and beading and strokes of wax varnish.

Raw honesty rests deeply in Marisa’s work. Peaceful melancholy pairs with a beauty that transcends time and place.

Harnessing delicate femininity, her works explore childhood innocence, fragility and emotion. This vulnerability is juxtaposed against an abundant strength.

Marisa has also worked on several other photographic projects and events creating commissioned fine art portraiture.

Statement

The ‘Florence’ series is an exploration of stillness, calmness and quiet in a person.

Florence also exudes an air of gloriousness and resplendence.

Time is taken to observe and listen. 

To see and to notice. 

To sympathise and empathise.

From a place of quiet, it is easy to see the rich inner worlds of others

Brushes of time, flowers and thread are used to tell these stories.

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Annette Hur
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Born in South Korea, Annette Hur lives and works in New York City. Hur has previously shown in solo / group exhibitions at Gavin Brown Enterprise, Times Square Space, Leroy Neiman Gallery, 33 Orchard gallery, Wallach Gallery in New York; Illinois State Museum, Heaven Gallery, Chicago Artists Coalition, Boundary, Sullivan Gallery, Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. Hur’s work was featured in New American Paintings issues 134 & 135, the online art publications: Bad at Sports and Third Coast Review. Hur was a resident of BOLT Residency at Chicago Artists Coalition in 2016-2017, and she holds a BA in Education from Ewha Womans University in South Korea and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a Masters of Fine Arts(2019) degree candidate at Columbia University.

Statement 

My artistic pursuits suppressed throughout my young adulthood were reignited as a recovery to domestic violence and depression — both related to the patriarchal environment I was raised in while growing up in Korea. By working with abstraction on large scale oil paintings and Korean silk textiles, I investigate the inherited traditional culture that subconsciously manipulates and subverts female sexuality. Heavily abstracted bodily forms and a palette that mimics the colors of viscera or surface wounds of the body create an atmosphere of tension between the physical body and everyday violence around it. As a result, although the entire image is abstract, hints of fingers, breasts, genitals, wounds, and acts of vomiting or penetration create narratives of unsafe bodily experiences. In my work, I am empowered to express my vulnerability with strength, rejection with acceptance, and to reveal what has been hidden.

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It Starts With The First Stitch: Podcast Interview with Olek

On this episode, Olek openly shares her story of growing up in Poland, moving to New York and establishing herself as a leading contemporary artist. She offers invaluable advice on maintaining a rigorous studio practice, trusting your intuition, showing up for yourself and much more. Warning: Olek’s passion for art and community is contagious. 

Olek's Website:

http://oleknyc.com/

Other Links:

Betty Tompkins

https://www.instagram.com/bettytompkinsart

Olek's Art:

Work by Bruce Brooks 

Studio Sundays: Minga Opazo

Minga Opazo currently resides in Ventura, emigrating from Chile a decade ago. Her mixed media work consists mostly of prints and textiles, as well as wood burning, paintings and drawings. Dominga’s greatest inspiration, and often the subject of her art, is the natural world seen through the lens of her childhood. Drawing inspiration from her native Chile and incorporating elements from her new serein coastal home, Dominga is a fine artist and innovator, graduating from UC Berkley in 2016 with a B.A. in Fine Art. 

Statement

Repetition,... of the same movements, and the same set steps..... Repetition is the core of my practice. It begins with an idea followed by experimentation which is then followed by research. From there, the process is narrowed down to a few single movements, repeated until I have created a final piece. The size of the work may vary, the colors and materials may vary, but this basic repetitive process is intrinsic to what I create. This practice reflects my experience growing up in the countryside of Colina, Chile where in local agriculture, I witnessed a poetic repetition of the same actions and interactions with the natural environment. As a child, I admired the meditative and repetitive work that the farmer did in tending to his farmland. I believe that this experience instilled in me the values of discipline and commitment which is such an integral part of my art. 

My work is also influenced by my heritage, my identity, and the natural world as I see it. One of the crucial evolutions of my identity was immigrating to the United States as a non english speaking fifteen year old, which wove together in me the cultures of Chile and the US. As a young adult I still feel very connected to my Chilean roots and as I continue to visit Chile I see more and more of the environmental and social issues affecting the country and how they connect to the rest of the United State and the rest of the world. Much of my work incorporates the intersection between my developed culture, the landscape of my childhood and often the environmental issues tying it all together. 

Most Recently I have been experimenting with outdoor installations and the different challenges and opportunities that come with it. I am inspired to share my work with those that would not normally see or interact with art and I’m interested to see how an audience experiences my art in a non-formal setting outside the white walls of a Gallery space. My latest outdoor installation is made of raw natural fibers from Chile which I’ve woven into found objects in my local environment such as weathered wooden fences. Working outdoors, especially by the seascape, means that these pieces will change, erode and decompose rather quickly, introducing the component of time into my work. Working with outdoor installations has been powerful and motivating and I'm excited to see where it leads. 

Erin M. Riley

Erin M. Riley is a tapestry weaver living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Riley received her BFA in 2007 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA and her MFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA, in 2009. Based on social media images as well as personal experiences, Riley’s work offers visual dialogue that aims to deconstruct the oppressive social spheres and stratification of women, as well as reconsider attitudes towards sex and sexuality through keyhole-like glimpses into their lives.

Riley’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at Freize London with P.P.O.W. Gallery, The Vancouver Art Gallery, The National Center for Craft & Design in Lincolnshire, U.K, and Town Hall Gallery in Victoria, Australia. She has been an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire.

Interview: Threadwinners

Threadwinners is the moniker for the crochet collaborative comprised of Liz Flynn and Alyssa Arney. They began working together in 2013 as interns at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) and started making art as Threadwinners in 2016. Flynn has an Art History BA from University of California, Riverside and works in LA. Arney has a Printmaking BFA from the John Herron School of Art and Design-IUPUI and works in Orange County.

Threadwinners, a play on the concept of the typically masculine term “breadwinner,” aim to subvert the patriarchy and status quo through the vehicle of crochet. They examine American and pop culture, the body, psychology, nature, gender roles, and femininity in their work.

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First, let’s get to know a bit about the two creative minds behind Threadwinners. Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds as artists? What common creative ground do you two share that brought you together for collaboration?

A: I graduated with a printmaking BFA and art history minor from the John Herron School of Art and Design - IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN. I’m originally from Terre Haute, where there’s not a whole lot of culture or entertainment for adolescents, so I always loved reading and art class in school. All of the other kids and teachers supported my work and it was one of the only things I felt confidence in. Additionally, my parents were over-protective, and I had go to a babysitter until the age of 12. Creating art was a great distraction from dealing with the kids who were younger than me.

When I graduated from college, I was working at a few restaurants in Indiana, not really exhibiting my work and just trying to make ends meet. I re-met my high school sweetheart, after seven years apart, at a house party and we instantly fell in love again. We moved out to California, where I began to make some big life changes.

L: I attended the University of California, Riverside, where I studied art history and education, with an emphasis on special education and reading remediation. I don’t have any formal artistic training, but I’ve been creating things by hand since I was a young child. I would constantly create collages, scrapbooks, and paintings that would crowd my room with color. Making things by hand has always been a release for me, a way to express myself visually rather than verbally. 

In terms of common creative ground, I think we share a love for outsider art, the bizarre, and the ridiculous. We met in 2013 when we were both interns at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA and almost immediately began bonding over those things. Through the course of the internship, we discovered that we worked really well together in a collaborative environment and from there eventually developed our artistic partnership.

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How did the crochet collaboration come about? What inspired you to start Threadwinners and create your own creative platform?

A: When I moved to California, I decided to try my hand at knitting for a side hobby. It had always intimidated me, and as a kid my mom tried teaching me crochet and other needlework forms, but I was never able to understand it. Finally, I just hopped onto YouTube and dove headfirst into it. After I picked up knitting, Liz and I were talking one day and she told me that she was learning how to crochet with her mother and suggested I try it too because it was easy. Again, I got onto YouTube and Ravelry, put my knitting needles in the closet, and became obsessed with crochet. 

At the end of the internship, Liz and I were part of a team to organize a student night at the OCMA, where we learned we were able to work really well together. After the internship ended, I was independently curating with our friend Natalie Mik, who then became a curator of my solo show Pleasure Objects. I asked Liz if she wanted to be my assistant for the project, but because she was putting so much time and effort into the pieces, her role grew to a partnership, and from that exhibition, we became a team!

L: After the joy of seeing Pleasure Objects manifested and experienced by others, we knew we had a unique and special opportunity to work on an extended body of work, so we began thinking long-term in regards to what our partnership could become. We adopted Threadwinners as our moniker in November 2016 while we were working on There Is A River Here, a yarn bomb project conceptualized by curator Carolyn Schutten and the Riverside Art Museum. Monikers are commonly adopted by artists in the yarn bombing and fiber arts community, so we wanted to follow that tradition. The creative platform that Threadwinners provides us has largely been inspired and supported by the online and local maker and fiber art community. We have received so much generous support from other creatives since the very beginning of this endeavor, and that support has been so humbling and has inspired us to further explore and develop the methods and themes employed in our work.

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How does Threadwinners aim to challenge and transform the traditionally feminine craft of crochet into a powerful fine art medium? What are some topics your work confronts?

A: Most needlework practices, until fairly recently within the art realm, have always been relegated to the “craft” world and not really recognized by the “fine art” crowd. And while Threadwinners would never look down on that label or would ever want to disassociate from that term, we also don’t want to be completely defined or limited to that. To say that something is a “craft” rather than “fine art” is a bifurcation arbitrarily created by and implemented by the patriarchal Western hegemony. It’s a term to subjugate and oppress women, and especially working women, from creating “serious art.” Just look at haute couture; men run that gamut, and while utilizing traditional embroidery, crochet, knitting, lacemaking, and sewing techniques, they are allowed the privilege to elevate themselves above fashion, into the high art world. We won’t recognize or abide by those terms, nor do we need their permission to be artists. As long as people are creating things and ideas and self-expressing in one way or another, it’s all art, and should be recognized as such. 

Threadwinners will continue pushing the boundaries of the crochet practice to create fiber sculptures and installations. We want to show the art world that recognizing the potential of a medium, instead of making a snap judgement about where its place lies in society, has the capability to reach across multiple spectrums and intersections of race, gender, and class. We also utilize the platform of crochet to talk about darker themes, but in a “soft, accessible, and approachable” way. The inherent soft and fuzzy quality that yarn possesses allows our audience to directly interact with the art objects. They act as psuedo-stuffed plushies, or nexuses, that can be easily handled while having a dialogue about the art, and not getting too depressed or grossed out by the themes.

Now that I’ve gone off on my tirade about sexism in the artworld, you can see that topics we like to address within our works include the inequities that women face within the art community, gender roles, the body, psychology, nature, classism, racism, and politics.

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Congratulations on your most recent exhibition Reveries at Branch Gallery in Inglewood, CA! Can you tell us a bit about the variety of work included in the show? Your intricate crochet pieces often include installation work, which can be found at Reveries. Can you tell us about these pieces as well as other site-specific installations you’ve done? What happens to the material after an installation is finished?

A: Thank you! It’s been half a year in the making and it feels so good to finally see our work installed in the gallery. Sometimes we don’t get to see the scope of our work until it’s all hung in the space, and it’s really monumental to see how much we’re able to create in such a short time span. 

L: Thank you! Like Alyssa said, it’s been such a rewarding experience to see our mental images and ideas manifested on the walls of Branch Gallery. With this body of work, Alyssa and I wanted to explore the world of landscapes and our bodily relationships with such sensory environments. Whether it’s a mental landscape, a dreamscape, a natural environment, or a constructed space, each environment that we experience and interact with as humans elicits a mixture of feelings unique to each individual. As defined by Merriam-Webster, a reverie is a daydream or a state of being lost in one’s thoughts. Along with externally occurring landscapes, we wanted to explore internal dreamscapes, spaces where one can get lost and explore the inner workings of their mind and consciousness. Our seven wall tapestries and installation pieces included in this show explore the synthesis of, and tension between, manmade and natural environments, and how human emotions relate to and form them. 

A: With these installations, as well as other ones we’ve done in the past, we tried to reuse and recycle where we could. We stuffed a lot of the pieces with plastic bags, made armatures out of reused chicken wire and cardboard boxes, and sourced some of the yarn from local yarn stores that were willing to donate to our exhibitions, as well as fiber and acetate from Trash for Teaching (T4T) in Gardena, CA. 

Personally, for me, this was a cathartic endeavor, to heal from the past 8 months in politics and to create something beautiful in the ugliness of it all. Although it’s hard for us little people to do anything about what’s happening in Washington, we have taken a gentle stance of resistance by donating a portion of art sales to the Sierra Club - Angeles Chapter, which serves Los Angeles and Orange Counties here in California.

L: Along with smaller scale yarn bombs that we attach to publicly available “canvases,” like chain-link fences, we have done large-scale site-specific installations as well. One of our most recent installations was There Is A River Here, an environmental installation curated by Carolyn Schutten and the Riverside Art Museum, in which we covered about ten boulders with handmade needlework pieces sourced from the local community through workshops and donations. After an installation is finished, we try our best to reuse the materials in other pieces and installations. The waterfall in Chromatic Cascade, for example, is made from yarn used in our There Is A River Here project. Other pieces from that project were restitched into blankets and scarves and donated to a local Riverside charity. We’ve also unwound other pieces to reuse the yarn, or cut up elements to use as stuffing for our sculptures. Other than that, we have most of our pieces and installation elements in storage for now! We’re always looking for other galleries or nontraditional spaces to show our past installations.

A: Succulent and Florid Flora were sort of vanity pieces. We both simply wanted to create large scale flower and succulent beds because we both have never seen anything like that in the crochet or fiber world before. I am a dog walker on the side, so for me personally, I walk through these wealthy neighborhoods where people have the privilege to hire landscapers to come and create these beautiful succulent and cacti compositions. I think I wanted to capture the beauty that these blue-collar workers create juxtaposed with the dichotomy of the trends that the rich are able to afford, and how both parties are able to realize this garden vision together. 

A: In referring to Chromatic Cascade, I like to think about the waterfall creating its own music as it splashes into the pool below. We had musician Eric Flynn create a soundscape for this exhibition, so it adds another immersive element by bringing in the auditory aspect.

A: Coral Confection obviously talks about coral bleaching, and we again utilized recycled materials to create this installation. We also used traditional clothing materials like buttons and pins to decorate the piece that relate back to the last definition in the description above.

A: Earth Tome references back to being able to explore sort of ickier themes without really having to get your hands dirty. 

A: We outlined Liz’s body to create the piece Verdant Quietus, and we’ve nicknamed her Ms. Skully Moss. We try to infuse a lot of humor into our work, even when we are talking about very serious themes. Laughter is a coping mechanism after all!

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What is it about crochet that has captured your heart—enough to create a body of work exclusively based on this technique?

L: For me, the tactility of crochet is really appealing. There are so many different types of yarn you can use to explore texture and color. I’m a workaholic, so being able to keep my hands employed while talking, listening to podcasts, or watching TV makes me feel more productive. The repetitive nature of crochet is also very calming and therapeutic, which is what drew me into this practice to begin with.

A: It’s fun, easy, and you create so much work in so little time. I remember when I was knitting that it would take forever to finish a project, but you can easily make a hat or a scarf with crochet in an hour or two. Also, changing colors and creating three-dimensional shapes are a lot easier for me to conceptualize in crochet versus knitting.

Do either of you create artwork in any other mediums?

L: I personally do not. As of right now, I am juggling artistic production while working full-time, so I’ve found the most creative success channeling my extra energy into working with yarn.

A: My primary focus is the output from Threadwinners, but I do have an Etsy shop that I run that makes more affordable jewelry, prints, and functional art for the public.
 
What is something you’ve learned about yourself as an artist by working as a collaboration? 

L: I’m very introverted, and throughout my school career I always preferred working in solitude. Group projects were the worst. I never thought I’d flourish in a collaborative work environment. However, working with Alyssa has shown me that I do, in fact, work better on a team. My ideas and methods are better defined when I’m able to bounce them off of Alyssa, and she will improve my concepts and take them to the next level. I hope I do the same for her! I still need time and space to go off and think by myself or create small independent projects, but overall my work is stronger and my mindset is healthier because we work as a team. Being one half of Threadwinners has shown me that I can be open to improvisation, collaboration, and letting go of some control (because I can be a neurotic control-freak at times).

A: I’ve learned that I have to be friends with the people I work with in order to create. If I’m not enjoying your company, then I won’t be in a good mindset to make the work too. I try to infuse a lot of humor into our interactions, and I don’t want what we do to feel like work. I want it to feel like we are hanging out, venting about politics, sharing, etc. AND that we are making something cool at the same time. I’ve also learned to listen better and compromise, because it’s not just my vision, it’s our vision as a team. People have said before that our work looks like it was made by one person, and that’s because Liz and I are constantly talking about how we each want the artwork to manifest itself, and we both get to arrange and make alterations to the work. Crochet and sculpture are forgiving in that sense.

What would you like to see for Threadwinners in the future?

L: We have so many ideas! We would like to create another Pleasure Objects show that explores sexuality and gender in the near future. Personally, I would love to create works that explore and discuss themes concerning space, time, and infinity. We would also love to contribute to and grow the local fiber art communities in the areas we live through collaborative projects, crochet circles, and educational workshops. On a more holistic scale, we want Threadwinners to subvert and change perceptions of crochet as simply novel crafts that belong in the home. People have been creating highly-skilled works of fiber art for centuries and were never given proper recognition, simply because the majority of them were women or female-identifying individuals. Through our work, we hope to pay homage to these unnamed and unrecorded fiber artist that have been lost to history.

A: Exactly what Liz said. She’s so smart, I just love her!

Interview: Teresa Lim

Teresa graduated from Lasalle College of the Arts with a First Class Ba Honours in Fashion Design and Textiles. Her personal design philosophy is to fuse three of her interests together: Illustrations, Embroidery and Surface pattern design. Her designs seek to blur the lines and boundaries between being an illustrator and a textile designer. She gets inspired by themes revolving around gender and womanhood.

She has showcased her works in exhibitions in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Japan.To date she has also worked with international clients such as H&M, Swarovski, Gucci, Coach and Olympus to name a few. She absolutely loves reading and catching up on tv shows on netflix. 

www.teeteeheehee.com

You have such a distinctive style working with embroidery. What inspired you to begin using embroidery in your artistic practice?

I majored in textile design when I was in university. We had to go through a short course in basic embroidery, and that was the start of my embroidery journey. I started by working on samplers that were part of the course work, but I got so addicted to the process that I found myself hoping the course would never end!

How does your background in textile and fashion design influence your current creative process?

Because of my background and training in textile and fashion design, I am always thinking of application onto women’s (I majored in womenswear) bodies. Being exposed to this made me think more frequently about the female body and how we view it in society. This, in turn, also led me to ponder a lot more on gender issues, body issues, stereotypes and archetypes of women. At the end of my degree, I found myself being not so interested in the superficiality of design but in using it as a medium to highlight issues and tell stories.

In your series The Twelve Rooms, young girls appear unsure as they go through the pains of growing up. What struggles are these subjects, along with the girls in Sad Girls Club, going through?

I started The Twelve Rooms series after listening to a conversation amongst some young girls (about 10-14 years old). They were battering themselves for being too fat, when they were far from it. I wondered where they were getting their ideas for the perfect body image… and the ideas mostly came from social media and magazines. 

I remember from my own experience growing up, I accepted whatever society and the media threw at me, and I was mostly unhappy. I grew up thinking that I was the only one with these feelings, and I wished for someone real to tell me that I wasn't alone. The Twelve Rooms is my response to that. It is grown-up me telling the young me in the past that I'm not alone. It is the me now, using illustration and art as a form to tell any young person who might be feeling the same way, that they're not alone. Some struggles these subjects depict are bullying, problems with body image, feeling like they don't fit in, and conforming to gender expectations and stereotypes.

Can you talk a little about your choice on using such a traditional and historically feminine medium to create works that defy the rules of femininity?

I honestly feel that things shouldn't have gender. In fact, all of these "gender tags" we give to activities, colors and things, are all imagined and shaped by years and years of history and people in the past. So, imagine my curiosity when one of the most common comments people gave when I started embroidering was "Oh, you'd make a good housewife!" My choice of this medium is mainly a tool of rebellion against the common view of what femininity is or what it shouldn't be.

Your series Pistil Thoughts exudes an honest sense of vulnerability, as each embroidery piece is accompanied by a thought that challenges feminine ideals and expectations. Do these thoughts come from your own personal experience?

Yes. A lot of my work comes from personal experiences, also sometimes from people I personally know who are going through certain challenges and phases in life.

When did your series Sew Wanderlust begin? How many different places in the world have you created through embroidery in this series?

Sew Wanderlust began because I was unhappy with the way I was traveling. I noticed that my travel experiences mostly consisted of taking lots of photos, eating lots of food and then moving on to the next place, repeatedly. At the end of the day, there wasn’t much element of traveling there to me. It felt very superficial and meaningless. I started Sew Wanderlust as a different way to experience my travels. When I sit at a place and stitch it, embroidery is my form of photograph. My eyes pick up so much more detail. My ears listen to people talking in their languages... it’s so much more meaningful to me than just a photograph that people snap and walk away. I think at this point I have more than 30 different places. :D

Interview: Kay Healy

Through her drawn, screen printed, and stuffed fabric installations, Kay Healy investigates themes of home, displacement, and loss. Healy is an artist and educator originally from Staten Island, NY and received a BA from Oberlin College, and a MFA from the University of the Arts in Book Arts and Printmaking. Her 350 square foot screen printed installation Coming Home, was purchased by the Pennsylvania Convention Center in 2016. She completed Lost and Found, a 1,000 square foot digital and screen printed fiber installation for the Central Library of Philadelphia. This project was supported by the Independence Foundation’s Fellowship in the Arts, and was based on stories of lost objects from interviews of over forty people from Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

Healy has had solo exhibitions at the Gallery Septima in Tokyo, Japan, the University of Alabama Huntsville, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, the Philadelphia International Airport, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and a number of other national galleries.

She was named as a West Collects winner, and a Fellow in the Center for Emerging Visual Artists’ (CFEVA) Career Development Program. She was previously the recipient of the Leeway Art and Social Change grant, which funded a yearlong body of work based on interviews of refugees from Southeast Asia, and the NewCourtland Fellowship, which supported a teaching-artist project with senior citizens in Germantown. She lives and works in Philadelphia.

Tell us a little bit about your story as an artist.

As an undergraduate student I was interested in architecture and art history, but never considered becoming an artist until I took a required studio class my junior year at Oberlin College in Ohio. I was very inspired by visiting artists that gave lectures at the school including Pepon Osorio, Andrea Zittel, and Allen McCollum. Pepon Osorio, who teaches at Tyler, was especially influential because I loved the way his artwork connected to communities and social practice. After graduating, I took courses at Hunter College, where I learned more about ceramics and installation with Sana Musasama and went on to receive my MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. 

I have lived and worked in Philadelphia since 2006, and after graduate school, I worked in a number of nonprofit organizations while continuing my studio practice. I was Associate Director of the Cultural Arts Center, a center for adults with intellectual disabilities and the Education Manager for Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, a visionary art environment of mosaics and found objects created by Isaiah Zagar. Both of these positions increased my interest in folk and outsider art, as well as immersive, community-based artwork with strong narrative elements.

When did you get interested in sewing? Were you always drawn to textiles or did you explore various mediums in the beginning?

I am trained as a printmaker, but I like to work with a broad range of media. I rarely create printed editions, and prefer to use my screen prints to experiment with the multiple. I began creating life-sized prints in 2008, and started printing pieces on fabric in 2010. 

My mom grew up sewing her own clothing, and taught me the trapunto method, where you quilt two pieces of fabric and stuff the piece from the back, creating a bas-relief effect. I enjoy the flexibility and texture of working with fabric, and in addition to the screen printed fabrics, have been drawing, painting, and sewing one-of-a-kind fiber pieces. 

I have also been experimenting with vintage clothing and found objects, and have been making more three-dimensional suspended work using armature wire and monofilament (aka fishing line). In the last few months I have started working with clay again, and am combining ceramic and fabric in some of the new works. Like working with fabric, I love the initial malleability of clay, and while it is very fragile once fired, the details and evocative texture you can achieve with clay are extremely appealing to me.

What do you hope the viewers take away from your art?

I hope that viewers are aesthetically drawn into the work and then investigate it further. Many of my projects involve interviewing other people and recreating objects and imagery from their stories. Lost and Found was a 1,000 square foot installation that I created for the Philadelphia Central Library. This life-sized installation showcased quintessential Philadelphia row homes inhabited with over 90 three-dimensional screen printed, stuffed, and sewn objects. From armchairs to frying pans, side tables to Teletubbies, each piece was based on a person’s story of an object that they have lost and wish they could still have. In conjunction with the installation, WHYY’s Peter Crimmins recorded and created audio for viewers to hear sixteen of the interviews firsthand. While I know that not everyone has the time to delve deeper into the work, I hope that those that do find the stories behind the pieces compelling and can personally connect their own experiences with the themes of home and memory within the work.

What goes into creating each piece? Tell us about your inspiration and process.

Many of my projects begin with interviewing people about their experiences of their childhood homes or cherished objects. I have interviewed many different people including senior citizens, Southeast Asian refugees living in Philadelphia, people who were formerly homeless, and Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII, children, teens, and the general public. 

After the interview, I make smaller sketches that I translate into life-sized drawings on paper. Sometimes I transfer the drawings onto screens using photosensitive emulsion and screen print them onto fabric. More recently, if I am only making a one-of-a-kind piece, I use a light table to trace and paint the image onto fabric. I then sew the piece to a backing fabric and stuff it with Polyfil. For my stuffed animation pieces, I put in armature wire in order to be able to manipulate the object. 

Your work has been exhibited in impressive public places such as airports. What advice would you give other artist looking to expand their practice?

My main advice, especially to recent graduates, is to apply for exhibitions. While in school you are given deadlines for projects for exhibitions and critiques, and that is often the motivation you need to complete a piece for public viewing. Once out of school, while it can be liberating to have the time to play and experiment, it can also be easy to lose momentum without an external deadline. Exhibitions have always given me the motivation to buckle down and complete projects. I have found a number of exhibition opportunities without fees through nyfa.org, inliquid.org, and CFEVA's newsletter, and many schools have opportunities for alumni to showcase their work as well. 

What's next for you and what do you hope to accomplish within the next year? 

I have a few group exhibitions this summer in Montreal at Galerie C.O.A. and Abrams Claghorn Gallery in California. I am also very excited about a three-woman show at Moore College of Art with Erin Riley and Sophia Narrett. The exhibition is part of Philadelphia's CraftNow consortium, and I am looking forward to seeing our work together. 

I am completing a second NewCourtland Fellowship with CFEVA this summer and will be doing a ceramic and fiber project with the seniors and college students at Germantown Home. I have also been experimenting with stop animations of my pieces, and I'd like to expand upon that part of my practice over the next year. 

Share your favorite quote or piece of advice. 

I saw Ann Hamilton speak at UArts in Fall 2016 and she described being a student at Yale when Laurie Simmons visited. In her lecture she told them to never to wait for the right space, or the perfect equipment, or the grant, or the whatever, and to just make the work. 

Jan Brandt

Jan Brandt is the artist/owner of Jan Brandt Gallery in Bloomington, IL. Brandt curates rotating artist exhibits in a historic former Coca-Cola Bottling Plant. Her recent solo exhibits include Bio Lab by Jan Brandt, opening March 2017 at Heartland College in Normal, IL, Visiting Artist exhibit Foray at The Sheared Edge in Peoria, IL, Happy Contagion at Swellgallery in West Dundee, IL, Hybridity:New Assemblages by Jan Brandt, Water Street Studios Chronicle Gallery in Batavia, IL. Selected group exhibits include Freak Out at Zhou B in Chicago, Sexism; a Touchy Subject at Arc Gallery in San Francisco, CA, The Confluence of Art and Science, Pence Gallery, University of California at Davis, and The F Word, Feminism Now at ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL Ms Brandt holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, both from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. She was awarded High Merit in Field of Study by the Fine Arts faculty. Brandt's work has been included in multiple print and on-line publications, including American Art Collector, Studio Visit Magazine, ArtSlant, Creative Quarterly, IArtistas, StudioSpoken, The Dialogist, and The Buzz. Her work will be featured on the National Women’s Caucus for Art website in May of 2017.She is the author of Jan Brandt Gallery 2012-2015. Brandt has been interviewed for the podcast StudioBreak and NPR affiliate station WGLT for Sound Ideas. Selected awards include Four time ARTSLANT Showcase Winner, Director's Choice at the Viridian Artists 26th International Juried Exhibition, and Artist of the Month, groundarts.org.

Statement

Disparate textiles such as donated clothing, pompoms, and muslin are hand stitched by artist Jan Brandt into three-dimensional hybrid assemblages. An organic, obsessive process drives this intricate work evoking growth and accumulation. The assemblages are displayed as mutating within and edging out from wooden hoop “Petri dishes”, biological experiments attempting to escape glass specimen jars, and free form encroachments on the walls of the exhibition space.

Brandt’s work represents a confluence of art and science through the process of feminist artistic tradition. Her assemblages and installations question the definitions, contradictions, and classification of art and craft while suggesting the interpretation of biological concepts.
The physicality of these capsular works offers a macroscopic, larger than life expression of cellular growth, whimsical and disconcerting at the same time.

Interview: Kelly Kozma

Exhibition POINT 5: Works by Kelly Kozma is currently on view at Paradigm Gallery

"Consider each piece as a cross section from life. Like a droplet of blood, these works are sandwiched between two slides, preserving memories, experiences and ephemera, which may otherwise be forgotten. 

Similarly to one’s memories, these works begin with a collection of information. In a few cases, the materials utilized were brand new to this world. Their first and last purpose was to be a part of this piece. In other cases, they were gathered over time. “CMYK” for example, took months of cutting up boxes to amass enough color test-strips, to create the work. “Confetti 2.0” is made up of leftover (you guessed it) confetti, from an installation of a previous exhibition. And then there’s “Philly, Then” which is compiled of photographs taken almost 15 years ago. Regardless of how long the materials took to collect or put to use, the outcome is a frozen period of time on which one can reflect.

The collection process is followed by deconstruction. Over time, the memories one accumulates break down in the mind. What was once clear as day becomes fuzzy and pieces go missing. “What year was that? Who was there? Was that before or after we met?” One may cling to the bigger more important chunks, or remember the slightest detail of an event. Either way, information fades and the experience changes more and more with the passing of time. I mimic this process by punching my materials into half-inch circles, which get mixed up randomly, like memories swimming in a sea of thoughts. 

Lastly, these materials are sewn together, hence preserving them before being able to breakdown to an undecipherable state. I use the technique of hand stitching to physically mark the passing of time. The needle goes through the next hole and the clock ticks one more notch. The thread gets pulled tight and that second has secured itself in history. It cannot be erased or forgotten. 

Aside from the conceptuality of memories, I was also driven by the aesthetics achieved through the reorganization of information. A beer box becomes a menagerie of bold, shimmering sequins in “California Style” and a coloring book transforms into a sophisticated abstract design in “F**cked”. I also considered how the piece changes, as it is viewed from different distances. From far away, colors group together and create a pixelated, Tetris-like effect. As one approaches the piece however, it breaks down into individual images . . . a barcode, the word pizza, a smiley face, etc. Again this relates to the human experience and how we group similar time periods and events together, but upon closer examination we are able to remember the most specific and intricate of details.

Although this collection of memories began as my own, they will be transferred onto each individual viewer, who, in turn, will create their own associations, all to be preserved in time."

Congratulations on your new exhibition at Paradigm Gallery! We love seeing your art evolve over the years. How would you say the new pieces are similar/different from the work in your last show?

Thanks so much! This is my fourth solo exhibition at Paradigm, and I’m incredibly happy to be working with them again. I would say that the biggest similarity between my new and past work is the process of deconstructing materials and then stitching them back together. Attention to detail and good craftsmanship have always been important to me, so you will see those elements continue to shine through in my new series as well. I would say the biggest difference is that, in the past I have shown a plethora of processes. My last show with Paradigm was actually titled Confetti, Crackle Pop, which was somewhat indicative of there being an explosion of work, colors, etc. In my show POINT 5, which just opened, I really hone in on my punched-paper pieces, and feel that in doing so, I was able to push the work further and bring a new level of sophistication to it. 

 

Tell us a little bit about the Security Blanket. What were some things that inspired you to make the work? Describe some of the things you were thinking about when making the piece. 

A couple of years ago, I began to notice that security envelopes had really upped their game. There were so many interesting patterns and colors being introduced and I became somewhat obsessed with collecting them.  After hoarding them for awhile (most artists hoard materials at some time or another, right??) I settled on transforming them into a hand-stitched security blanket. When I began this project it was about aesthetics. I really dug these envelopes and wanted to give them a second life in my art. But as the project grew so did political tension, strife, defeat, anger, sadness, and hopelessness. Think early November, 2016. I wanted to create something that would make people feel good and give them emotional comfort, much like that of an actual security blanket. I actually created a limited edition 13-page zine, which tells the story of Security Blanket in its entirety, and can be purchased through Paradigm Gallery: 

https://www.paradigmarts.org/collections/kelly-kozma/products/securityblanketthestory. I felt like it was too meaningful of a piece not to have its story told.  

What would you say your art is about?

In my most recent exhibition, POINT 5, the work is about preserving memories, experiences and ephemera, which may otherwise be forgotten. Over time, the memories one accumulates break down in the mind.  What was once clear as day becomes fuzzy and pieces go missing. One may cling to the bigger more important chunks, or remember the slightest detail of an event.  Either way, information fades and the experience changes more and more with the passing of time.  I mimic this process by punching my materials into half-inch circles, which get mixed up randomly, like memories swimming in a sea of thoughts. Then, I hand-stitch my materials back together, preserving them before they are able to breakdown to an undecipherable state. The way I framed them is meant to read as a slide, similar to that which would contain a blood droplet, ensuring that this memory cannot be erased or forgotten.

Your process is beautifully meditative. Can you tell us about the creative stages of your work from planning to creation?

Materials play into my work a great deal, so I usually begin my process by searching and collecting things that interest me. In this series I use everything from a beer box, to CMYK test strips, to a roll of film I took in 2003. Once I’ve amassed enough materials I begin the meticulous task of punching and hand-stitching. You definitely hit the nail on the head when you said meditative. This is an excerpt from my zine…

“…people usually say one of two things when they see my work in person. 1. ‘You’re crazy! How do you have the patience to do this? You’re CRAZY!’ They normally say it multiple times. Or 2. ‘I get it!’ These are the people that like myself find solace in repetitive tasks, meticulous work and time consuming endeavors. I’ve always understood both responses. I know I’m crazy but I also get that I need to make this work to keep me sane.”

What do you hope the viewers take away from your new series?

Although these works originally stem from my memories, I’m hoping that each viewer creates their own unique story and associations that will transfer onto each piece and be preserved in time.  I also used the theme of community throughout the show, so I’m hoping people will walk away, feeling like they are part of something bigger than themselves. The show is about rebuilding and strengthening.

Please share a few tips with our readers for creating a new body of work and staying inspired and motivated in their art career.

Write down your craziest ideas because a day will come when they seem less crazy and more doable!

Healthily hoard. DON’T create an unlivable space, but DO save things that truly inspire you and are meaningful. Make a memory box and look through it every year or so. This is a surefire way to get the ideas flowing.

Be part of a community that you contribute to and are inspired by. Remember it’s a two way street! And make sure to tell your support system how appreciative you are. On that note, thanks Create! Magazine and everyone reading this!!!

You can view and purchase Kelly's entire collection here: https://www.paradigmarts.org/collections/kelly-kozma 

Savonna Nicole Atkins

Savonna Nicole Atkins is an Atlanta-based painter and mixed-media artist. Through abstract paintings, embroidered textile work, and installation, Atkins explores self-concept, competition for social validation, the necessity for connection, and the absurdity of ideals. Atkins cuts and arranges fabric like smears and strokes of paint, relishing in the vast variety of textile textures. Stitches are sculptural lines that integrate and create strong securing connections. Her forceful marks, clunky knits, sheer silks, and delicate embellishments intertwine and collect with persistent intensity. Competitive struggles and absurdities of society fuel her obsessively layered process and complex forms.

Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Atkins grew up attending Young People’s Studio classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. Atkins later moved to North Carolina to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where in 2011 she received a B.A. in Recreation Therapy with minors in Studio Art and Psychology. Atkins continued her art education in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received an MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta in 2015. Her work is in the SCAD Savannah and SCAD Hong Kong permanent collections as well as in other private collections throughout the Southeast. Atkins is represented by gallery43 in Roswell, Georgia and Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Claudia Sbrissa

Claudia Sbrissa has exhibited nationally and internationally including shows at Denise Bibro Fine Arts, NY, NY; ArtVenice Biennale, Venice, Italy; Birmingham Museum, Birmingham, UK; AC Institute, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Museo Guillermo Perez Chiriboga, Quito, Ecuador; Herzen Galley, St. Petersburg, Russia; Islip Art Museum, Islip, NY; Kentler Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY; Kuppelhalle der Dresdner Bank, Leipzig, Germany; Mabel Smith Douglass Library Galleries, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; MA; Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI; Proyecto ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI. 

She has participated in prestigious residencies including Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venice, Italy; Salem Art Works, Salem, NY; Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Ithaca, NY; Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY; I-Park, East Haddam, CT; Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME; and Malaspina Studio, Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada. 

Sbrissa lectures regularly on her work and on issues on contemporary art. She is a professor of fine art at St John’s University and lives in New York City.

Statement

Habitat: the Fabric Works is a series of fabric drawings and paper weavings created from found fabric remnants collected during my travels. Each piece is inspired by the place where the fabric was found and my association with that place. Vestiges of their former existence, these “scampoli”, or textile scraps, are first collaged onto a paper substrates, then reworked through a variety of hand processes including drawing, stitching, and weaving. The formal logic of each work is derived from the cloth’s pattern and its design of alternating vertical and horizontal lines.  I employ corresponding hatched line work using colored ink to emphasize both the formal and notional allusions that inform each piece. 

www.claudiasbrissa.com

Kristy Bishop

Kristy Bishop is an artist living and working in Charleston, SC. She primarily works in textiles and creates relief sculpture by handweaving, sewing, and dyeing fiber. The types of dyes that she prefers to use are gathered locally or while traveling. Her primary sources include roadside growth, gardens, and grocery stores. This supplies Bishop with onion and avocado skins, eucalyptus, coreopsis, wild fennel, walnut hulls, marigold, annatto seeds and more. Bishop also finds it hard to resist using unusual yarn such as metallic and paper yarns.  She mixes these with natural dyed fibers to contrast the synthetic with the organic. Combining these materials, she weaves intuitively on a floor loom.  

In the fall of 2015, Bishop participated in a three-month residency at 701 Center for Contemporary Art. During her time there she created work to be shown the following year in a solo exhibiton.  She was the 2012-2013 North Charleston Artist in Resident, a recipient of the Dr. Judith Temple Scholarship at Arrowmont School of Crafts, co-recipient of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant, and received the Best in Show at the 2015 Piccolo Spoleto Juried exhibition at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park.  Bishop teaches multiple textile techniques in partnership with the Charleston Museum, The Gibbes

Museum of Art, Engaging Creative Minds, 701 CCA and Enough Pie. Currently she is partnering with Enough Pie, a nonprofit organization in Charleston’s neck area, and teaching workshops at the Vat Shack, an indigo dye studio.  Most recently, she is a recipient of the SC Artists Ventures Grant from the SC Arts Commission, Exhibited work at The Southern, in Charleston, and continues to teach as an artist in residence in Charleston and Berkeley County schools through Engaging Creative Minds.  

www.kristybishop.com

Mary Tooley Parker

I am a textile maker using textiles as paint and was honored to be awarded a 2015 Fellowship by the New York Foundation for the Arts. Incorporated in my work are new and recycled wool, cotton, and silk fabric, fleece, my own handspun yarn, mill spun yarn, silk fiber, and metallic fibers. I use natural and synthetic dyes to create colors I want. I only design and work on things that are especially meaningful to me. I have studied with others a bit but am mostly self-taught because I continue to experiment and try to capture new things in new ways. I love my work and do it nearly every day.

I believe that textiles are received by the viewer in a different way than fine art, and there is science showing that a different part of the brain is stimulated when viewing a textile. It appeals to the senses, especially touch, and gives a feeling of warmth before the brain even registers the visual image. You will see people's reactions.

www.marytooleyparker.com

Jan Brandt
Jan Brandt is an artist working in mixed-media, textiles, printmaking, and painting. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, both from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. She is the owner of Jan Brandt Gallery in Bloomington, IL, located in a former Coca-Cola Bottling plant. Brandt’s work has been shown in San Francisco, Davis, CA, Chicago, IL, New York City, Oberlin Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, Evansville, Indiana, and Peoria, IL as well as in her local community of Bloomington-Normal, IL. She has been published in three Studio Visit journals, American Art Collector, and will be included in Creative Quarterly, the Journal of Art and Design, Issue 46, Spring 2017. Next year she will have solo shows in Chicago, IL, and at Heartland College, Normal, IL.

Statement

Inspired by the rich history of quilt-making and fiber art, Jan Brandt hand-stitches disparate textiles such as donated clothing, pompoms, and muslin into three-dimensional hybrid assemblages. An organic, obsessive process drives this intricate work evoking growth and accumulation. The assemblages are displayed as mutating within and edging out from wooden hoop “Petri dishes”, biological experiments attempting to escape glass specimen jars, and free form encroachments on the walls of the exhibition space.

Brandt’s work represents a confluence of art and science through the process of feminist artistic tradition. Her assemblages and installations question the definitions, contradictions and classification of art and craft while suggesting the interpretation of biological concepts.The physicality of these capsular works offers a macroscopic, larger than life expression of cellular growth, whimsical and creepy at the same time.

www.janbrandtartist.com