textiles

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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.

 

 

 

 



Art

Translucent Textile Sculptures by Do Ho Suh Explore the Familiarity of Quotidian Objects

September 15, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022). Photo by Jeon Taeg Su. All images © Do Ho Suh, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Rather than portray the everyday objects that make up the routine of our lives as immovable or simply structural, Do Ho Suh (previously) captures their sentience. This is not to say that the objects around us are alive but that perhaps our familiarity with them holds a kind of energy to reflect on. In “Jet Lag,” for example, a light switch or a door is made of potently colored translucent fabrics. This invites the viewer to consider the feeling of and the attachment to these small, insignificant companions.

In “Inverted Monument,” Suh similarly captures the energy beneath the eye’s limits of a common object through the structure. What would typically be formed from concrete or some stubborn, weather-proof metal is comprised of adventurous red lines that better capture the materials’ complexity, and in this case, also its context. Again, Suh constructs a radical shift of perspective. An object characteristic of place, history, and the communities it’s formed around is constructed according to the messiness of memory and is turned upside down. The pedestal reaches for the ceiling, and the head sweeps the floor. This subtlety introduces enormous questions about not only the significance of the object and how we interact with it but why it got there in the first place.

See more of Suh’s time and geography-bending sculptures through October 29 at Lehmann Maupin in New York.

 

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022)

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022)

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022)

“Inverted Monument” (2022)

Detail of “Inverted Monument” (2022)

“Jet Lag” (2022)

 

 



Craft

‘Wild Textiles’ Is a Practical Guide for Turning Foraged Materials into Fiber-Based Works

August 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Michael Wicks, courtesy of Batsford

From gathering and retting stinging nettle to stitching leaves into delicately layered quilts, Wild Textiles: Grown, Foraged, Found is a trove of tips and projects involving organic fibers. The forthcoming book by artist Alice Fox is a practical guide to working with nature’s materials at all steps of the process: she offers advice on growing plants and harvesting others, how to transform the raw matter into cord or thread, and examples of artworks that incorporate the repurposed textiles. Published by Batsford, the volume covers both rural and urban findings, in addition to pieces by artists like Hillary Waters Fayle and Penny Maltby. Wild Textiles is available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

Work by Hillary Waters Fayle

 

 



Art Craft

Beguiling Sculptures by Lana Crooks Fabricate Anatomical Parts from Wool and Silk

July 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Lana Crooks, shared with permission

Portland, Oregon-based artist Lana Crooks (previously) juxtaposes the softness of wool and silk with the solid, unyielding surfaces of bones. She stitches hand-dyed textiles into anatomical sculptures adorned with colorful florals or feathers that are both elegant and eerie. Often encased in glass domes, Crooks’s recent skeletal works include a hand wrapped in a loose bouquet, an ouroboros entwined with a blossoming vine, and a human ribcage suspended in an ornately carved wooden box.

Crooks has a few pieces available in her shop, in addition to Stranger Factory, where her work will be included in a few upcoming group shows. Explore a larger archive of her spectral sculptures on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vintage Textiles and Boxing Gloves Redefine Strength and Vulnerability in Sculptures by Zoë Buckman

July 6, 2022

Kate Mothes

“According to Grandma” (2019), boxing gloves, vintage linen, chain, and ribbon. All images © Zoë Buckman, shared with permission courtesy of the artist, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, and MOTHER Gallery

Boxing gloves typically evoke associations with masculinity, competition, and aggression, but Zoë Buckman punches back with her series of mixed-media sculptures and embroidered textile pieces. Sometimes draped like bunches of dried flowers and other times balanced delicately on top of one another, they “question whether they are holding each other up or tearing each other down,” says a statement. Taking a feminist and activist approach to challenging preconceptions about gender, trauma, and safety, she became interested in the symbolic dualities of the gloves, both in the way they are made and used.

For the last few years, the glove sculptures have formed a focal point for a number of bodies of work that explore the relationship between strength and vulnerability. Buckman encases each form in fabrics like tablecloths, dish rags, or dresses, then suspends them in groups from ribbons affixed to metal chains. Installed at the height of a punching bag, they provoke tension between feelings of hostility and support, highlighting connections and contrasts between places where people exert intense energy and force, such as gyms, and places associated with calm and security, like home.

 

“the flowers that write me back” (2021), boxing gloves, vintage linen, and chain

Constructed of cotton batting or polyurethane foam and covered in leather, traditional boxing gloves are malleable, yet the finished form is a solid instrument for force and protection. By wrapping each piece in fabric associated with womenswear or domestic settings, the artist challenges the notion of gendered spaces, such as the home being feminine or the boxing ring masculine. Through her use of materials, she also dissects gendered associations of fabric and textile.

Buckman has strongly advocated for women’s rights to abortion and bodily autonomy. In her most recent series Bloodwork, vintage handkerchiefs, doilies, and upholstery remnants provide the canvas for embroidered statements conveying responses to experiences of domestic abuse, illness, and hardship. As a revolt against negativity or oppression, figures of women—many of whom she knows personally—are portrayed in scenes of celebration or repose. The text and figures sewn into the fabric also appear unfinished with dangling threads and raw, asymmetrical edges in an ongoing state of transformation and becoming.

Buckman is exhibiting in We Flew Over the Wild Winds of Wild Fires at MOTHER Gallery in Beacon, New York, until September 18. She will also be presenting a solo show at London’s Pippy Houldsworth Gallery opening on September 2. You can find more information on the artist’s website and on Instagram.

 

Left: “raining from the first” (2022), boxing gloves, vintage textiles, and chain. Right: “un-mesh the mistake that you left” (2021), boxing gloves, vintage textiles, and chain

“Running my gums” (2021), boxing gloves, vintage textiles, and chain

“maybe I won’t be so silent” (2021), embroidery on vintage textile

“for tonight” (2021), embroidery on vintage textile

“the dye is cast” (2022), embroidery on vintage textile

 

 



Art Design

Clusters of Diaphanous Textile Sculptures by Mariko Kusumoto Evoke the Ocean Floor

July 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mariko Kusumoto, shared with permission

Japanese artist and designer Mariko Kusumoto (previously) shapes gossamer coral and sea creatures from soft fibers like polyester, nylon, and cotton. Embedded with tiny ripples or airy pockets, the standalone sculptures and wearables are translucent renditions of lifeforms, and their delicate compositions correspond with the fragility of the subject matter. The Boston-based artist tends to cluster the individual pieces into larger works, creating sprawling reefs and diverse ecosystems brimming with color and texture.

Kusumoto is currently preparing for a solo exhibition next November at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, and until then, you can find more of her ethereal works on Instagram.