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Craft

Interview: A Conversation with Social Justice Sewing Academy Explores Community Activism and the Power of Remembering Through Quilts

March 11, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

All images courtesy of SJSA, shared with permission

When witnessing inequity is like digging into an already numb wound and participating in surface-level social justice is as easy as recycling digital shares, the Social Justice Sewing Academy offers the power of touch. The organization works with kids and teens to make quilt blocks that express injustices in their lives, and Colossal contributor Gabrielle Lawrence recently sat down with program director Stephanie Valencia to discuss the project’s mission in a new interview supported by Colossal Members.

They speak about the work of honoring the victims of violence and their families through community art, supporting young entrepreneurs with creative or social justice-oriented businesses, and most importantly, giving people something to hold on to.

So often, when someone loses a loved one, you cherish their items for a while. And then eventually, their items end up in a box, in the back of a closet, or in an attic somewhere. This really does give the family something to hold on to and use every day. Beyond comfort, it’s reflection, as well as memory. Every time they see or touch that quilt, they can remember the good times.

Ultimately, SJSA empowers youth to use their voices and requires tactile processing of issues that often seem bigger than all of us. Every stitch is felt, and it is not a practice that participants must endure alone. From design to completion, each person is required to spend time sitting with these stories in a physical way, which creates room for grief, remembrance, education, and critique.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Loose Threads Dangle from Bizarrely Expressive Portraits Sewn by Yoon Ji Seon

November 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Rag face #21004” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 112 x 73 centimeters. All images © Yoon Ji Seon, courtesy of CRAIC AM, shared with permission

The cheeky, uncanny works that comprise Yoon Ji Seon’s ongoing Rag Face series bring the knotted, twisting, and generally convoluted entanglements of a subject’s psyche to the forefront. Her photographic portraits are printed on roughly cut pieces of canvases and then overlaid with rows of tight stitches and loose strings that drip from an eye or loop across a face. Adding color and depth, the threads “can be seen or felt like internal conflicts, external stimuli, umbilical cord, blood vessels, sagging skin, hair, or time as a point of each viewer,” the artist says.

Zany and outlandish in expression, the portraits are a playful mix of confusion and jest that Yoon derives from traditional Korean comedies, called madangnori. Those performances consider “the suffering and reality of the people through humor and satire while arousing the excitement of onlookers,” she says, explaining further:

I think what I’m doing these days is to make (an) ‘image’ of these comedies. What I want to pursue through my work is ‘humor’ in the end, but this humor does not bloom in happiness. During intense, painful, and chaotic lives, humor can be like a comma, to relax and recharge.

Because the sewn works are unique on either side, they produce mirrored images that are a distorted version of their counterpart, bolstering the strange, surreal affect of each piece.

The Rag Face series now spans decades of the Daejeon City, South Korea-based artist’s practice, and you can browse dozens of those pieces on her site. (via Lustik)

 

“Rag face #16020” (2016), sewing on fabric and photography, 141 x 97 centimeters

“Rag face #21003” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 94 x 68 centimeters

“Rag face #21004” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 112 x 73 centimeters

“Rag face #16015” (2016), sewing on fabric and photography, 47 x 26 centimeters

“Rag face #17010” (2017), sewing on fabric and photography, 128 x 97 centimeters

“Rag face #19003” (2019), sewing on fabric and photography, 146 x 119 centimeters

“Rag face #21002” (2021), sewing on fabric and photography, 170 x 118 centimeters

“Rag face #17010” (2017), sewing on fabric and photography, 128 x 97 centimeters

 

 



Craft Design

A Cleverly Designed Chameleon Conceals a Six-Foot Measuring Tape in Its Mouth

July 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Coppertist.Wu

Chameleons are known for their color-changing abilities, but this coiled lizard from Coppertist.Wu takes that gift for camouflage a step farther. Made from brass and manganese steel, the cleverly designed creature disguises its extraordinarily long tongue as a skinny measuring tape, which scales upward of six feet when fully extended. The playful gadget tends to sell out quickly, although there are a few currently available from Etsy and the Coppertist.Wu site.

 

 

 



Animation Documentary

Bloomers: An Animated Documentary Recounts the History Behind an Undergarment Business

March 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Consumers are paying closer attention to the ethics and business practices behind the products they buy, and animated documentarian Samantha Moore is shining a light on one company creating everyday essentials. Last year, the Shropshire-based creator released “Bloomers,” a short film that chronicles the history of the Manchester-based lingerie company Ella and Me, which began production in the United Kingdom before moving abroad and back again.

From flowing silk to lace-trimmed underwear strung up only to be snipped apart, the detailed project colors mostly the garments, swaths of fabric, and spindles of string. The workers and machines remain black-and-white line drawings throughout the film as it walks through the manufacturing cycle from design to consumer purchases.

Moore helps illuminate the impacts rising production costs had on Ella and Me since its beginning as a mom-and-pop business. She documents its inception and even the employees’s familial connections to the textile industry. The animation is set to a diverse soundtrack that includes interviews with the company’s team, in addition to noises commonly found on the production room floor, like scissors slicing through soft cotton and the repetitive tick of sewing machines.

Since its release, “Bloomers” was nominated for the Best Short Film at the British Animation Awards 2020, was the winner of the Best British Film at London International Animation Festival 2019, and took home the top prize as the Best Documentary at ReAnima International Film Festival 2019. Keep up with Moore’s animated documentaries on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Art Design

Mechanations: Historical Machines Exploded into Individual Components in Sculptures by John A. Peralta

October 10, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"Singer is Sewing Made Easy II" (2018), Singer Sewing Machine (c. 1910), wood, steel, latex, steel & fluorocarbon mono-filament, LED lighting, 42 x 30 x 18 in, all images © John Peralta

“Singer is Sewing Made Easy II” (2018), Singer Sewing Machine (c. 1910), wood, steel, latex, steel & fluorocarbon mono-filament, LED lighting, 42 x 30 x 18 in, all images © Dave DeGendt

Artist John Peralta creates sculptural odes to some of our most historic innovations by organizing and suspending components of sewing machines, typewriters, and old film projectors. In his “Mechanations,” Peralta hangs each screw, wheel, and lightbulb side-by-side in specially created lightboxes, creating three-dimensional diagrams which illuminate the inner workings of each machine.

The sculptures break down the mechanics of the 20th-century devices, presenting a unique peek into the simplicity of objects before the Digital Revolution. Peralta dissects iconic machines in areas such as design, communication, and entertainment. This technique, which he has used for over a decade, was inspired by seeing a similar sculptural diagram on the back of a Chinese magazine in 2005.  “I was inspired by its fragile beauty, and imagined a three-dimensional version with a real object,” Peralta outlines on his website. “Using only a ruler and simple tools, which I still use today, I developed techniques for suspension which expose the inner workings of these humble mechanical objects.”

The artist’s work will be included in a presentation by New York and Los Angeles-based gallery George Billis at the upcoming SOFA fair from November 1-4, 2018 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Peralta also has a solo show at Billis’ New York location, which runs from December 11, 2018 to January 12, 2019.  You can see more of Peralta’s work on his website and Instagram.

"Singer is Sewing Made Easy II" (detail) (2018)

“Singer is Sewing Made Easy II” (detail) (2018)

"Singer is Sewing Made Easy II" (detail) (2018)

“Singer is Sewing Made Easy II” (detail) (2018)

"Blickensderfer No. 8" (2018), Blickensderfer No. 8 Typewriter (c. 1908-1910), wood, steel, steel & fluorocarbon mono-filaments, 40 x 40 x 12 in

“Blickensderfer No. 8” (2018), Blickensderfer No. 8 Typewriter (c. 1908-1910), wood, steel, steel & fluorocarbon mono-filaments, 40 x 40 x 12 in

"Blickensderfer No. 8" (detail) (2018)

“Blickensderfer No. 8” (detail) (2018)

"The Big Day" (2017), Polaroid Land Camera Model 150 (c. 1957), aluminum, wood, acrylic, fluorocarbon mono-filament, 30 x 20.5 x 13 in

“The Big Day” (2017), Polaroid Land Camera Model 150 (c. 1957), aluminum, wood, acrylic, fluorocarbon mono-filament, 30 x 20.5 x 13 in

"The Big Day" (detail) (2017)

“The Big Day” (detail) (2017)

"Keystone K109" (2018), Keystone Regal 8mm Silent Film Projector Model K-109 (c. 1953), wood, latex, steel & fluorocarbon mono-filament, LED lighting, 42 x 30 x 18 in

“Keystone K109” (2018), Keystone Regal 8mm Silent Film Projector Model K-109 (c. 1953), wood, latex, steel & fluorocarbon mono-filament, LED lighting, 42 x 30 x 18 in

"The Big Day" (detail) (2017)

“Keystone K109” (detail) (2018)

"The Big Day" (detail) (2017)

“The Big Day” (detail) (2017)

 

 



Art Craft

Textile Sculptures Created From Dozens of Multicolored Orbs by Serena Garcia Dalla Venezia

September 8, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Chilean textile artist Serena Garcia Dalla Venezia creates thoughtfully composed arrangements of hand-sewn fabric balls, producing texture and depth by grouping together dozens of differently sized and shaped spheres. Appearing almost like organic growths, her works seem to be transforming before your eyes, which makes sense when you consider her fascination with accumulation and chaos. You can see more of Venezia’s smaller works and large-scale installations on her website. (via The Jealous Curator)

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