textiles

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Craft Design

It Was Better Tomorrow: Fashion Designer Benjamin Benmoyal Creates Powerful Silhouettes Using Recycled Materials

November 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Hulking silhouettes are enlivened with vibrant multi-colored stripes in futuristic garments by fashion student Benjamin Benmoyal. The fabric for the collection, titled “It Was Better Tomorrow”, was woven on a loom using discarded video and cassette tapes intermingled with recycled yarns and Tencel (a wood pulp-derived fiber).

In an interview with Dezeen, the French-Israeli designer explained that he was feeling pessimistic about the world after his compulsory service as an 18 year old in the Israeli army. “After high school I was completely lost in my life, I failed many things and needed to prove to myself I could do something that would push me, physically and mentally, to the limits,” Benmoyal said.

In enrolling at the renowned art school Central Saint Martins and creating this collection, Benmoyal sought to channel optimistic energy and harken back to the utopian outlook of the 1960’s. He also drew color inspiration from international travels and artists he admires, such as James Turrell. The collection was included in the multi-art show Designing in Turbulent Times this autumn. See more from Benmoyal on Instagram. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Art

African Fabrics Connect to Form Quilted Portraits of Black Figures by Bisa Butler

September 28, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Broom Jumpers. Credits: Ian Rubinstein / Claire Oliver Gallery

Brooklyn-based artist Bisa Butler (previously) uses brightly colored cotton, wool, and chiffon fabrics with bold patterns to piece together quilts featuring detailed portraits of Black people. The materials and themes connect American subjects with their African roots and tell visual stories of history and culture.

Butler is a New Jersey-born African American artist with Ghanian heritage. A closer look at her portraits reveals intricate mosaics of shapes and patterns and complex multi-hued skin tones. For her James Baldwin-inspired piece “I Am Not Your Negro,” Butler created a portrait of a man seated in a pose similar to Rodin’s “Thinker” and a warm complexion inspired by The Fire Next Time, an important book written by Baldwin that was first published in 1963. “I used reds and oranges in his complexion to indicate this while this man sits calmly [there] is fire inside,” Butler said in a statement. “I use colorful imaginative colors in my figures because I am connecting color to emotion and I want their images to indicate a personality, mood, and temperament.”

The artist’s quilts also incorporate nods to Black wedding traditions, references to historically Black colleges and universities, and other elements that speak to the Black and African American experience. The Katonah Museum of Art is set to host the artist’s first solo museum exhibition with approximately 25 of her quilts on display from March 15 to June 14, 2020.

To learn more about the Bisa Butler’s work, head over to the Claire Oliver Gallery website and follow the artist on Instagram.

I Am Not Your Negro

Dear Mama

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (detail)

Kindred

To God and Truth (detail)

To God and Truth (detail)

Bisa at work

Bisa at work

 

 



Art

Enormous Panels of Patchworked Fabric Give Colorful Temporary Makeovers to Public Buildings

September 13, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Textile artist Amanda Browder collaborates with the communities she’s working in to built site-specific architectural interventions. Using hundreds of yards of donated fabric with bright colors and patterns, Browder and her volunteer teams stitch together enormous panels that resemble crazy quilts. The panels wrap around bell towers, sheath elevated walkways, and drape from gables and eaves to give passersby a new experience of familiar buildings. In a statement on her website, Browder describes her work:

A state of betweenness – ‘twixt soft sculpture /’tween orchestrated public object installation with a studio affinity for abstraction and minimalism”. I am in love with the transformative nature of materials, and how the combination of the familiar creates abstract relationships about place. This relational objectivity generates an open-ended narrative, ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials and work ethic. Central to the psychedelic experience, I am drawn to reinventing Pop-Art colors by exploring shifts in scale and sculptural perceptions.

The Montana-born artist received a B.A. in studio arts as well as two master’s degrees in sculpture and installation art. Browder is now based in Brooklyn and frequently travels to create new work. She was recently awarded an opportunity with the prestigious ArtPrize organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The multi-part work, titled Kaleidoscopic, is currently on view at locations around Grand Rapids. Keep up with Browder’s projects on Instagram, and watch the video below for a time-lapse of a previous installation in Las Vegas and an interview with the artist.

Photo: Bryan Esler

Photo: Bryan Esler

 

 



Art

Traditional Textiles are Unraveled and Re-Woven in Installations by Aiko Tezuka

September 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Berlin-based Japanese artist Aiko Tezuka carefully unravels and re-weaves elaborate textiles to form new shapes and patterns. In some works, the separated threads hang from the bottom edge of an intact textile in perfectly parallel lines; others feature threads course down in waterfall-like sheaths, reconnecting as they crash into the floor. In still others, the loose threads come together to form images and words hovering on sheer substrates. Tezuka closely studies the cultural and economic histories interwoven in different Eastern and Western textile traditions, examining the greater symbolism embedded in each decorative element.

“My essential interest has been what makes up the surface of the object; through which processes was the surface produced; how could I peel off the surface; what things could I see behind the surface; and how could I embody these things behind the surface into my work,” Tezuka shares in an artist statement. “Although we are completely surrounded by surfaces, we cannot physically enter things in even one millimeter under the surface. Every time we peel a surface, a new surface will appear immediately, like an infinite loop. How does one perceive these infinite surfaces, or loosen the surfaces that seem to be firmly interwoven?”

She has exhibited widely and her solo show “Dear Oblivion” at Michael Janssen gallery, runs from September 14 to November 16, 2019 in Berlin. Tezuka’s work is also on view September 7 – 28, 2019 at MA2 gallery in Tokyo. See more from the artist on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

 



Design

A Dyed Wool Cloak Made From Scratch in the Chinese Countryside by Li Ziqi

August 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Li Ziqi (previously) presents pastoral glimpses into daily life on her farm in the countryside of China through her Youtube channel. She records common projects and necessities with precision and care, often focusing on the tasks needed to created a multi-course traditional meal or demonstrating the ways she prepares for the region’s harsh winters. In a video from earlier this year, Li walks her audience through the steps of knitting and dying a floor-length purple cloak with wool sourced from a neighboring farm. The five-minute film follows her journey across the snow-strewn mountains, watches as she inspects and brushes out the gathered wool, and features cameos by a few puppies and a very tiny lamb. You can view more snippets from her life on Facebook and Youtube. (via swissmiss)

 

 



Art Design

Vintage Clothing and Found Objects Compose Decorative Masks Designed by Magnhild Kennedy

June 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Magnhild Kennedy, who makes work under the name Damselfrau, creates intricate headpieces and masks that are comprised of both high and lowbrow elements. The London and Oslo-based artist mixes together sequins, vintage clothing scraps, and random materials she finds on the street to compose works that expose minimal elements of the wearer’s face. The pieces are intended to operate as both art objects and wearable sculptures, and were initially inspired by the elegant clothing seen during her days working at a London vintage shop.

As a completely self-taught artist, Kennedy learns techniques as she forms new masks, trouble-shooting new methods alongside her more elaborate designs. You can see more of her wearable works on her website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Textiles and Board Games Inspire Large-Scale Murals that Span Sidewalks, Streets, and Staircases

June 7, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Baltimore-based artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, known as Jessie and Katey, started creating murals because of the sheer accessibility of public art. The pair have always created work with a big visual impact, but as their designs grew they began to consider the possibility of working on the ground in addition to large-scale walls. Their site-specific floor works combine inspirations from both textiles and board games to create interactive walkways that encourage play and exploration. Jessie and Katey explain to Colossal that “the compositions are inspired by the viewer and how they might travel through the work. It’s really fun watching little kids interact with the floor murals—they always know what to do.”

The math behind both textile design and quilting is an aspect that the pair must consider when painting their large-scale works, and have started to inform how the pair begins each piece’s early designs. “We approach our large-scale work a bit like screen printers, even though we don’t screen print,” the pair explains. “Our process of execution is very methodical and we tend to think in planes or layers. This is probably a result of having to develop concepts and adapt them to larger spaces in a short amount of time. It’s interesting that painting murals has informed how we paint murals.”

This summer Jessie and Katey are working with the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation in Baltimore to create a site-specific mural for the Foundation’s new community space. The artists will also be painting a piece in Sacramento in collaboration with Wide Open Walls and later this fall will be working on an immersive installation incorporating recycled materials at Baltimore’s Goucher College, a rare opportunity for the pair to work in three dimensions. You can view more of Jessie and Katey’s work on their website and Instagram.