During a material experiment, Dutch designer Bertjan Pot, along with his fellow designer Vladi Rapaport, discovered a technique for stitching together lengths of brightly colored rope to create interesting face masks. Though reminiscent of tribal masks and seemingly full of meaning and individual narratives, Pot says that the faces came from a less-than-successful attempt at making rugs.
When trying to turn the rope into rugs, Pot found that the material would not stay flat. His assistant noticed the curvy samples and suggested that they be used to make faces instead. “In the end it turned out to be the most powerful application for the material,” he told Azure Magazine. The combination of colors and shapes give each mask a unique personality. Stitched elements resembling facial features cause the viewer to ascribe emotions to the characters, even if that was not the designer’s intention. As of the Azure interview in 2018, Pot had created around 250 masks, many of which have been shown along with the designer’s other work in exhibitions around the world.
To see more of the vibrant and expressive face masks, follow the designer on Instagram.
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London-based artist Daisy Collingridge layers amorphous blobs of fabric and textiles to form wearable pastel-colored body suits. With names like Burt, Clive, and Lippy, each member of Collingridge’s family has a personality that matches his/her form. Inspired by human anatomy and infused with elements of fantasy and impulse, the artist says that the costumes are an exercise in “pushing quilting to the absolute extreme.”
Each new character begins with the construction of the head. Hand-dyed jersey and other fabric patterns are filled with plastic pellets (beans) and sewn together to form blobs in various shapes and sizes. After the underlying body structure has been formed, Collingridge begins the process of hand-stitching the blobs to the wadding. She tells Colossal that she has never clocked the process but would estimate that it takes around two months on average. The “Dave” suit is named for and modeled by her father who requested it. The others are named “like children,” and are worn and photographed by the artist herself using a remote.
After graduating with a degree in fashion design from Central Saint Martins, Collingridge created her first costume in 2016 for the New Zealand-based design competition, World of Wearable Art. “The squishy idea definitely came from my graduate collection, which was all free machine quilted, but all done with really fat wadding,” she told Dazed Digital. “It wasn’t really your traditional patchwork quilt.”
Some have read Collingridge’s costumes as a commentary on body image and body ideals. “It’s really fascinating because as much as I can tell people what they mean or why I make these costumes, everyone comes at it with such a different view,” she told Dazed. “They are reflective of the human form with elements of fantasy. They neither promote or demote one body type. The idea there is an ‘ideal body’ is ridiculous. We are all so different, my work is more about the ‘ideal’ way to inhabit a body. To be joyous. They bring me joy to create and I hope that is reflected.”
Collingridge tells Colossal that her “Clive” costume is currently on tour as a part of 62 Group’s Ctrl/Shift exhibition, while the rest are at her human family’s home. “My dad unpacked Dave, who has been sitting in the living room over the festive period. He was even treated some Christmas lights.” To see the artist create and model the squishy bodies, follow her on Instagram.
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Spanish artist Judit Just of jujujust (previously) crafts vibrant wall tapestries in improvised compositions using traditional and updated weaving techniques. Satin ribbons, viscose fringe tassels, silk threads, cord, and soft wool form unique color, texture, and shape combinations. While each piece is modeled after an original stored in the artist’s studio, the handmade nature of the process ensures that no two tapestries are the same.
These vertical works are hung from wooden dowels that are hand-painted to complement the neon colored textiles. Sizes vary, with some pieces measuring 25 x 25 inches and others stretching more than 3 feet. To witness Just’s weaving and cutting processes, follow her on Instagram. You can also add one of the wall tapestries to your personal collection by placing an order via the artist’s Etsy shop.
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North Carolina-based artist Yumi Okita (previously) layers hand-painted fabric, embroidery thread, feathers, and faux fur to create large sculptures of insects. Each handmade moth and butterfly is one-of-a-kind, with coloration and patterning often inspired by existing species.
Okita’s fiber sculptures are designed to be hung from wires or displayed as free-standing works. The fabric wings on the insects measure up to 9.5 inches wide, while the furry creatures stand an impressive 3.5 to 4.5 inches tall. From a distance, they could be mistaken for the real thing, but a closer look reveals an intricate weave of materials and a vibrant array of colors.
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It Was Better Tomorrow: Fashion Designer Benjamin Benmoyal Creates Powerful Silhouettes Using Recycled Materials
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)
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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.
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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.
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Editor's Picks: Architecture
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.