fabric

Posts tagged
with fabric



Art

Embodying Vibrance and Joy, Gio Swaby’s Patterned Portraits Celebrate Blackness and Womanhood

December 28, 2022

Kate Mothes

A silhouette made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“New Growth Second Chapter 11” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. All images © Gio Swaby, shared with permission courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery

In Bahamian artist Gio Swaby’s colorful sewn portraits, an invisible yet integral thread comes in the form of an invitation to celebrate Blackness and womanhood. Through the language of textiles and pattern, her practice centers on accessibility and facilitating connection with the viewer. “I think about people like me and how I didn’t get into art or museums or anything until I was 19,” she tells Colossal, sharing that the historical exclusion of Blackness in art motivates her to make pieces that reflect individuality and joy in a mirror-like way.

The Toronto-based artist began working with sewing and textiles around ten years ago, and her use of the medium acknowledges the intersection of traditional craft and fine art, viewed through the lens of personal relationships. “My mother was a seamstress,” she says. “I grew up in that world, but I didn’t come back to it as an art medium until around 2013. I associated it with a special love between us, and I wanted to share that with the viewer, too.”

 

A portrait made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“Seated Figure” (2022), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 55 x 66 x 1 inches

Sharing in connection and conversation is central to Swaby’s process, which involves sitting down with her subjects prior to beginning each piece. Most of the portraits represent women in her immediate circle of family and friends. “I already have a sense of who they are, but I learn more about them, and they learn more about me,” she says. The conversations lead to the selection of fabrics, which the artist chooses based on the individuals’ stories and personalities, with an emphasis on exuberant hues and bold designs. In self-portraits, she considers family histories and memories. She says, “I picked out a hummingbird print for my dad because I heard a story that when he was a kid, he was the only one in the neighborhood who could run fast enough to catch a hummingbird.”

In her larger portraits, Swaby incorporates sewing directly onto canvas as a drawing tool, outlining the contours of faces, hands, and hair. Loose threads dangle from the surfaces, suggesting the reverse—typically unseen—side of embroidery and the individuals’ sense of self being perpetually in progress. The titles of her concurrent, ongoing series imply dualities and connections. In New Growth, vibrant silhouettes celebrate Black hair while also alluding to a person who is thriving; Love Letter references a sentiment passed from one person to another—or perhaps even to oneself; and Another Side To Me recognizes the innumerable, intersecting facets of every identity.

Recently exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, Swaby’s solo exhibition Fresh Up travels to the Art Institute of Chicago and will open on April 8. Find more of her work at Claire Oliver Gallery, on her website, and follow updates on Instagram.

 

A silhouette made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“New Growth Second Chapter 8” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

A portrait made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“Another Side To Me Second Chapter 3” (2021), cotton fabric and thread sewn on muslin, 28 x 36 inches

Two silhouettes made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

Left: “New Growth Second Chapter 10” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. Right: “New Growth Second Chapter 9” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

A silhouette made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“New Growth Second Chapter 7” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

Two portraits made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral patterned background.

Left: “Love Letter 10” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 38 x 84 inches. Right: “Love Letter 5” (2021), thread and fabric sewn on canvas, 38 x 84 inches

A portrait made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“Seeing You Through Her and Me: Carissa” (2022), cotton fabric and thread sewn onto canvas, 62 x 78 x 2 inches

A portrait made from colorful, patterned fabric sewn on to a neutral canvas background.

“Another Side To Me Second Chapter 5” (2021), cotton fabric and thread sewn on muslin, 28 x 36 inches

 

 

 

advertisement



Art

Textile Sculptures by Lauren Pruen Preserve Elegant Botanical Specimens Under Glass

December 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

All images © Lauren Pruen

Protected under tall glass cloches, Lauren Pruen’s botanical specimens sprout from root to bloom. The artist shapes thin strips of wire into tubers and stems that hold fabric florals, which she sometimes paints for variation in leaf color and added detail. Each delicate sculpture is an ode to natural life forms and the biological studies of centuries past, recreated as precious three-dimensional specimens worth preserving. Find more of Pruen’s ferns, lilies, and other works on her site and Instagram.

 

A detail photo of a botanical sculpture with roots connecting to an embroidery hoop

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a floral botanical sculpture

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a botanical fern sculpture

A photo of a clover sculpture

A photo of a botanical sculpture with lilies

 

 



Art Craft Design

Color-Blocked Wall Hangings Stitch Graphic Design Principles into Quilts by Emily Van Hoff

November 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of multiple colorful quilted wall hangings

All images © Emily Van Hoff, shared with permission

Emily Van Hoff merges her background in graphic design with the practical crafting skills she picked up as a child in her vibrant wall hangings. From her home studio in Chicago, Van Hoff pays homage to women crafters of generations past as she stitches geometric quilts in bold color palettes of bubblegum pink, lavender, and cobalt. Thick stripes, bisected circles, and clean rows of stitches comprise many of the curved pieces, which the artist describes as a translation of “my digital design into a beautiful tactile object.”

Van Hoff’s vivid works sell out quickly, so keep an eye on her site and Instagram for future shop updates.

 

A photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A detail photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A detail photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A detail photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

A photo of a colorful quilted wall hanging

 

 



Craft

Dreamlike Plush Characters by Marina Glebova Inhabit a Safe Haven After an Imagined Apocalypse

October 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Marina Glebova, shared with permission

Istanbul-based artist Marina Glebova envisions a post-apocalyptic dream world inhabited by enchanting plush characters. Hybrid creatures with both animal and human features are members of the artist’s Northern Forest community, a warm and welcoming refuge amid the chaotic catastrophe of the imagined outside universe. Dressed in layers and whimsical headdresses, the characters are often overly expressive with large, surprised eyes, wide smiles, or sly grins.

Glebova shares with Colossal that she often begins by creating the face or head, which helps to determine the figure’s body and garments. “The narrative, the story, always appears at the end of the interaction with the doll,” she says. “When the doll or series of works are ready, I can look at them in a detached way and translate the feelings that have arisen into a story, thereby connecting them to the rest of the characters already living in this universe.”

Take a peek at Glebova’s Behance for more of the enchanting characters, and see which are available for adoption on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Deadly Plants Squashed Under Plastic by Artist Ant Hamlyn Question the Paradox of Preservation

September 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Daffs,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters. All images courtesy of Moosey Art Norwich, shared with permission

The botanical works of West London-based artist Ant Hamlyn are studies of dichotomies and paradoxes. Polarities of the organic and synthetic, comfort and danger, and preservation and destruction emerge from his sculptures, which are comprised of playful, stylized interpretations of natural life pressed under sheets of acrylic.

On view as part of his solo show Tread Softly, Hamlyn’s most recent pieces include yellow daffodils, nightshades, and a pink flowering cactus that, although alluring for their blossoms, are extremely harmful if touched or ingested in real life. This sinister undertone pervades the body of work, which broadly addresses the precarious boundary between life and death. All of Hamlyn’s squished fabric specimens, for example, are depicted at their prime while being suffocated under a polyurethane coating and plastic panel. The artist shares:

When I think about the past time of ‘pressing flowers,’ I think about how when we crush a flower to preserve its beauty, we essentially destroy it to preserve it. These works are at once a celebration and a critique. The human relationship to flowers is a complex one in the way they symbolise love and loss simultaneously. For example, we give dying flowers to each other both in celebration and in grief.

If you’re in Norwich, you can see Tread Softly through October 8 at Moosey Art. Otherwise, head to the artist’s site and Instagram for more of his squished botanicals. (via It’s Nice That)

 

“Fly Agaric,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

“Deadly Nightshade,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

“Pink Flowering Cactus,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

Left: “Thistle,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters. Right: “Red Dragon Fly Trap,” 60 x 50 x 8 centimeters

“Lily of the Valley,” 60 x 50 x 8 centimeters

 

 



Art Craft

A Menagerie of Contemplative Animals by Mila Zemliakova Weave Textile Traditions and Nature

September 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mila Zemliakova, shared with permission

Using vintage textiles from both her personal and her family’s collection of bedspreads and home decor, artist Mila Zemliakova sews plush animal sculptures that connect various traditions of her Belarusian heritage. She draws correlations between her chosen creature and each pattern, color, and type of fabric, capturing the essence of a deer in floral brocade or that of a bison with tufted gray wool.

Largely oversized and perched in chairs, the anthropomorphic characters are expressive and often photographed outdoors in states of contemplation and solitude. In a note to Colossal, the artist shares that she sees the growing menagerie as embodying “the connection of Belarusians with their nature, as well as with their traditions, which are now in a dangerous position and under repression.”

Some of Zemliakova’s sculptures are available for purchase from Art Center or on Instagram, where you can also watch her at work.