Posts tagged Textile
Eccentric Drawings and Textiles by Hilary Hubanks
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Hilary Hubanks is an Illustrator and Textile Artist who creates bright, eccentric drawings and textiles. Originally from the Midwest, she takes much of her inspiration from her open-minded upbringing and her close relationship to nature. She now lives and works in New York City, holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. The work she is currently producing in her studio focuses on extraterrestrial life and the impact it may have on humanity.


Growing up in rural Southern Wisconsin without any formal organized religion, I became interested in nature, fantasy, magical creatures, and the supernatural as a means of explaining the world around me. I would invent stories about fairies, monsters, ghosts, and aliens to explain why the world was the way it was. These stories became my own personal religion. As I got older and learned more about science and the universe, I began to imagine how the Earth and its inhabitants came to be, and what kind of aliens may have influenced our beginnings. This blossomed into an obsession with extraterrestrial life, including how it would look, behave, and think.

 Visions of Indigo is a body of work that explores my infatuation with outer space, extraterrestrial life, and the influence that aliens may have had on ancient cultures and the cultivation of human society. After experiencing Machu Picchu in 2015 and seeing the ruins there I was convinced that ancient people had in fact interacted with these beings long ago, and felt it was my calling to create art based on what that alien culture might look like if we found remnants of it today. Created using collaged paper on wood panels, I arranged the pieces in Visions of Indigo to look like a shrine, acting as devotional art to this fabricated alien culture.  

Aesthetically, Visions of Indigo has a maximalist look, combining many different colors, textures, and patterns into each piece. This reflects my background in print design and my love of mixing different patterns in my apparel work and my own wardrobe. The mixed media aesthetic also reflects my cultural inspirations. I have studied ancient tribal art to help gain an understanding of how these societies that could have interacted with a possible alien race. I have implemented a combination of visual aspects from these cultures including color palettes, figure shapes, ornamentation, and symbols to create a culture that is all my own.

 Bringing my fascination with aliens and outer space to life through Visions of Indigo has been a difficult but rewarding process, and acts as a finale to the fantastical stories that I began creating more than a decade ago. It has given me a stronger idea of who I am, what I value, and has opened a portal to the kind of art that I want to create well into the future.

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Work Exploring the Function of Painting by William Cares

In my recent work, I am exploring new methods, new materials, and new aims. Many of these pieces have been made from textiles purchased at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. The fabrics have been altered by draping, cutting, and painting and have been stapled directly to the studio wall.

These pieces echo the uses of fabric in our everyday lives, such as clothing, bedspreads, and sheets, window curtains and towels, to evoke the missing human body.

Some are about absence and loss, and deal, obliquely, with the death of my father in 2015. Others are a kind of a play on the art historical split between “high” art and popular culture, including fashion. Still, others are more focused on the idea of painting vs. sculpture, and with upending expectations of what a painting is and how it functions.

All of these works explore new ways to use the traditional materials of painting - woven fibers and paint, to speak of issues ranging from race relations and homelessness to our notions of time, death, dreams and aspirations, and our responsibilities to one another in this life. 

Studio Sunday: Lizz Berry

Create! Magazine is pleased to present a new Studio Sunday feature with Portland-based artist Lizz Berry. Learn more about what inspired her interest in fiber and textile art, the multiple reasons that she keeps a small forest of plants in her home studio, and what will be keeping her busy for the rest of the summer!


Lizz Berry is the founder, maker, and innovator behind The Wild Textile. All of the products she creates are hand crafted in her home studio in Portland, Maine.  She is a hand-weaver, natural dyer, quilter, and all around fiber enthusiast. 

Her love for cloth began at an early age, when she was exposed to family heirlooms from India - some over a century old. Colorful antique silk saris and other complex weavings were a part of her childhood - whether it be forts, canopies, or costumes. These fueled her love not only for textiles, but also for the color and textures that enliven them. Today you can still find her home adorned with some of the very same pieces that inspired her as a child. 

Lizz received her B.F.A. from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where she concentrated in Textiles. She spent her undergraduate years studying hand weaving, color application, and surface design via dyeing techniques.

More recently, she has integrated her fibers studio with her other life-long passion, the outdoors. She loves the simplicity of color in nature, and it never ceases to inspire her. Environmental conservation is also important to her, and she represents this value in her practices as often as possible. Color, the natural world, and fibers are the core elements of her creativity, and the unified embodiment of The Wild Textile.

When did you first become interested in art?

My interest in textile design has evolved from a variety of influences with one commonality: three dimensional, visual design. In grade school I wanted to be an architect, which later shifted to interior design and decorating. I experimented with every artistic medium that was available, both inside and outside the classroom. Throughout high school I took every single art class that was offered, except for Weaving. Ironically, I thought it sounded boring!  However, as a crafts major in college, my attitude quickly changed. I developed a passion for textiles after taking my first class. My focus began to gravitate towards functional pieces - scarves, blankets, linens, tableware and various items of home decor.  Throughout and following my college years, I worked in a sewing studio and fabrics store. This experience supplemented my passion for textiles with exciting new disciplines - sewing and quilting! On weekends and after work I also taught myself to forage for natural dyes and use my kitchen scraps for free sustainable colors that told a story. All of these practices have become key elements of The Wild Textile, and I suspect that my artistic interests will only grow more diverse in the years to come.  

Tell us about what inspires you creatively.

Plant life, abundant light, and nature in every form. Whether it’s the ever-expanding urban jungle in my home studio,  the rocky coasts and sandy beaches of Maine, or the alpine zones of my favorite mountains - I constantly integrate the textures and colors of my natural surroundings with my work. Exploring the outdoors inspires me to build lively color palettes that facilitate unique combinations of surface designs. It is always an extra special day when I come across natural dyes to be foraged in my travels! Another key source of my textiles inspiration emanates from my family heirlooms. My grandmother was a missionary surgeon in Assam, India, and she bestowed to my family a variety of handwoven Indian saris, tapestries and fabrics. The standards of craftsmanship upheld by prior generations never ceases to astound me. I find myself connecting with these textiles more than ever, as I approach reading the end of her diary entries on life in India during the 1950’s. 


What is your process like? 

I often find my process fluctuates between meticulously planning and complete improvisation. In some instances, I plan each weaving in precise detail to make sure they will work logistically. In these cases, I create multiple scales of drawings with different colorways, pattern options, and sizes. On other projects, I allow my process to depend solely on my instincts. This approach involves designing my pieces while simultaneously crafting them, and has created some of my most interesting weavings to date. I love making up patterns on the loom that have never existed, and perhaps never will again. I often find myself in a meditative state where my feet move across the foot pedals while barely looking down at what I am creating. Some weavers may find this odd, but I think this technique can create truly authentic combinations of texture and color. I am always anticipating the next weave structure to be accidentally discovered!

Describe your current studio space. What is most important about it or one thing that you can’t live without in your work area?

I work out of my home studio in Portland, Maine. I have A LOT of house plants (over 70) scattered throughout my small apartment, which has abundant natural light. The plants are therapeutic to me, and also very functional in the photography process. I use them as backdrops in an effort to help the viewer visualize my products in a livable space. As an added bonus, it allows me to hide the nicks and bumps in my not-so-perfect wall from the early 1900’s.

What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you or a quote that you think is especially meaningful?

If you want to keep it, so will someone else! That’s how the majority of my products have developed. Create something for yourself - something that embodies the colors, textures, and emotions that inspire you - and before long you will have orders for more. 

Are there any exciting exhibitions, projects, or collaborations going on this year that you’re currently working on or will be soon?

I have recently signed on as Show Coordinator for the Maine Crafts Guild, which puts me in charge of organizing four large fine craft shows throughout the summer. This will keep me pretty busy over the next few months, but in my spare time I have been experimenting with a slew of great new materials for product prototypes. I am currently working on a brand new Fall line for the The Wild Textile, including more home decor items than ever, zipper pouches, sling bags, backpacks and more. Keep an eye out for this exciting release!

Check out The Wild Textile online or follow along on Instagram!

Studio Sunday: María Guzmán of Austère & Crudo Atelier

I recently had the chance to speak with Costa Rican fashion & textile designer María Guzmán in her studio, which is housed in a beautifully quaint Victorian-style residence in San Jose that she inherited from her grandmother. She is the brains behind Austère, a women-run and eco-conscious brand of swimwear and elevated basics. Built from her background working in the fashion industry in both Argentina and Europe, María’s company will be celebrating its fifth year in business come October. Having lived abroad for a number of years, she returned to Costa Rica around nine years ago. Not exactly sure of what she would do next, but certain that she was tired of working for companies that didn’t meet her standards for sustainability, she first lived at the beach and dove into painting. María’s creativity eventually led her to design dresses. Then, after a friend helped her connect the idea of incorporating her paintings into her work, she started making colorfully printed swimsuits as well.

It is clear early on in our conversation that art is an integral part of her business. The prints used in María’s bikinis and one-piece bathing suits come from her own sketches and gouache paintings that she then finalizes on the computer. Looking closely at the fabrics, you notice the deliberate choices of her various color palettes. Bright and fun without being too flashy, she explains the inspiration behind each pattern, calling one ‘feminist camouflage’ and saying that others were inspired by contemporary art or the environment. Like mini abstract paintings, each piece that María makes is unique as much as it is comfortable, functional, and sustainable.

Apart from her fashion design work, however, María also runs a second business called Crudo Atelier. From her same spacious studio, she holds weekend workshops in Costa Rica where small groups take classes such as hand lettering, embroidery, or how to make natural dyes. Now three years old, Crudo Atelier was initially a way for María to share her creative skills with others. It has grown since then, with her moving away from teaching and instead inviting new specialists to diversify the offering of classes. One of the aspects of these workshops that she loves most is the idea of creating community. Like-minded creatives meet each other through her platform and have gone on to continue working together afterwards. She also mentions that students have started projects based on the work they first produced at Crudo Atelier.

As focused as she is on her own businesses, she has an equal interest in paving the way for the next generation. Besides Crudo Atelier, María also serves on a council with the local chamber of commerce and the contemporary art and design museum along with ten other representatives. With this group, she seeks to build out more resources for designers of all types in Costa Rica and additional opportunities to show and sell their work. With stores in the area taking high commissions on locally produced items, especially those created by women, she hopes that this task force can put together more fairs or similar events and spaces that allow makers to have direct access to new customers.


With so many things going on already, it’s hard to imagine María having time to do much else! However, she’s also currently working on an an ecommerce website to make her collections available beyond the few local and international stores where her items are currently sold. In addition, she’s begun the process of designing low-impact handbags made from wood and wool fibers alongside her other pieces. If all goes well, her portfolios will be shown at Satisfactory, a local design popup in San Jose. While she loves her studio space, she’s also in the middle of renovating it to make it more practical for her businesses. Once that is complete, one of her other goals is to eventually utilize it as a gallery for women artists. The space will then be even more of a hub for all of the things that she believes in: building community, creating quality and sustainable designs, and empowering other female artists.

Learn more about Austère by following the brand on Instagram at @austere_atelier or check out Crudo Atelier’s profile at @crudoatelier!

Erin Fitzpatrick

I am constantly inspired by patterns and prints, my travels, summertime, Instagram, interior spaces, my immediate surroundings, fashion magazines, textile design and meeting new people. I have an iPhone full of screenshots, and sketchbooks, notebooks and a studio wall covered in notes and clippings — my collections of visual stimulants. A seed from these images, a West African textile, a languid Miu Miu model, a Slim Aarons photo of poolside decadence, inspires the vibe for each painting. I plan each piece around this initial idea by creating a storyboard depicting wardrobe, model type/look, textiles, and setting. I source my models from my peers and social media, import textiles, shop for wardrobe, and build a set. I style my models and chat with them as I take hundreds of reference photos. The model becomes the focal point in my world of clashing patterns, textiles, and plants.

I’m a Baltimore native and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art.  I started painting portraits in 2008 and this body of work now contains hundreds of paintings and drawings of artists, musicians, business people, my peers, and commissioned subjects. I have collectors all across the US and around the world.

Marisa Veerman

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.


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.

Annette Hur

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.


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.

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:

Other Links:

Betty Tompkins

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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

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,, 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,


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: 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: