textiles

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Art Craft History

Textile Artists File Their Nails in Tiny Grooves for Traditional Japanese Weaving Technique

August 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of Kiyohara Seiji

Along with a comb and shuttle, textile artists crafting “tsumekaki hon tsuzure ori,” the intricate and durable brocades that are part of Japanese traditions, employ the jagged tips of their fingernails. Common in the Shiga prefecture, the ancient technique utilizes the weaver’s grooved nails to guide the threads down the loom, ensuring they’re placed tightly together. The “tsuzure ori,” or tapestry weave, has roots in the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573), while this specific method has been in Japan for at least 1,000 years, according to Kiyohara Seiji, a representative of Kiyohara Textile Co., Ltd.

To see how the comb-shaped nails work and the ornate textiles they’re used to produce, watch the video below. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

A Vibrant, Geometric Rug Cascades Down a Staircase in a New Mural by Jessie and Katey

August 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jessie and Katey, shared with permission. By Shauna Caldwell

To create the brightly colored textile that cloaks a three-level staircase on the Appalachian State University campus, artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn (previously) imagined the concrete steps as a massive loom. They drew grids on the outdoor structure to map out where each individual strip would start, end, and intersect with the larger geometric forms. “There was a lot of math involved, getting the angles and perspective right was a challenge but eventually everything locked into place,” the Baltimore-based duo, who are known as Jessie and Katey, shares with Colossal.

Evoking the quilts and other textiles that are traditional to Appalachia, the large-scale artwork is composed of vivid gradients layered into a complex web of stripes and woven patches. Neutral-toned tassels line the angled edge at the bottom of the staircase, giving the flat mural the appearance of a rug.

This public artwork is just one Jessie and Katey have undertaken in recent months. Many of their projects that were postponed due to COVID-19 are reconvening, bringing the pair to Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and a few spots in North Carolina. Although the actual painting process is solitary, Jessie and Katey say they’ve enjoyed seeing how people are experiencing outdoor art since the onset of the pandemic. “It’s really rewarding watching the work get embraced by the public. People get really creative with it, and murals end up becoming a part of the community,” they say.

To see where the duo is headed next, follow them on Instagram, and check out the prints available in their shop.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Hand-Tufted Patches of Color Form Lush Fiber Portraits by Artist Simone Saunders

June 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Black Lives Matter II,” 23 x 32 inches. All images © Simone Saunders, shared with permission

Alberta-based artist Simone Saunders hand-tufts bold, colorful portraits with themes of identity and Black history woven throughout. Crafting vibrant patches of fibers that form eyes, lips, and garments, Saunders casts her earnest subjects against austere backgrounds, which sometimes are marked with “Black Lives Matter.”

The textured artworks serve as a site for conversation, prompting questions about race relations and societal injustices. “Textiles engage upon a search for belonging: studying the Black female body, personal identities, and a connection to Black history,” the artist tells Colossal. “I create colorful portraits of Black people who are leaders within their respective disciplines: the arts, music, sports, advocacy. It’s important to carry forward their message and have their legacy move through different channels, like my textiles.”

To keep up with Saunders’s socially engaged projects, follow her on Instagram, and several of the artworks shown here are available for purchase on her site. (via Design Milk)

 

“G a i a,” 23 x 33 inches

“Little One”

“Justice for Ahmaud” (2020), 23 x 31 inches

“It Matters” (2020)

“It Matters” (2020)

 

 



Art Craft

Concentric Circles of Tufted Wool and Natural Fibers Shape Giant Wall Hangings by Artist Tammy Kanat

March 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Pines” (2019), wool, linen, silk, fibers, copper frame, 150 x 218 centimeters. All images © Tammy Kanat

Beginning with asymmetrical ovals and amorphous shapes, Australian textile artist Tammy Kanat (previously) loops, twists, and weaves her sizable wall hangings. Using a steel frame, Kanat hangs up the copper forms that provide the structure for her abstract tapestries. She then combines natural materials like wool, linen, and silk to create small tufts and organic rows of varying hues that add a range of densities and textures to each piece.

Kanat tells Colossal that in recent years, she’s begun to identify a greater symbiosis between her fibrous works. “My process has become more intricate with a connected sense of freedom and experimentation. I am working with 3D shapes and continually pushing the boundaries of colours, textures and the unexpected,” she says.

The artist often shares production videos on Instagram for those who want a deeper look into her creative process. Kanat also is featured in Woven Together: Weavers & Their Stories, a new release from Gingko Press.

“Web” (2019), wool, silk, and copper, 150 x 120 centimeters

“Pines” (2019), wool, linen, silk, fibers, copper frame, 150 x 218 centimeters

“Rainbow Peak” (2020), tapestry wool and copper frame, 2.3 meters diameter

“Nurture” (2019), wool, silk, metal, copper, 130 x 128 centimeters

 

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Art Craft

Extravagant Masks by threadstories Offer Cultural Commentary on Selfhood and Social Media

March 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © threadstories, shared with permission

Covered in full-face masks of fringe and knotted details, threadstories (previously) explores the tension between contemporary portrayals of public and private life. The Irish artist poses in front of gray backdrops for her self-portraits that obscure her face and only sometimes reveal a set of eyes or a mouth through the crocheted exterior.

threadstories tells Colossal that the process for creating each piece is similar. She begins by crocheting the balaclava—sometimes adding space for further detail like pointed ears or a hand-drawn face—before crafting various tufts and dense patches. “The yarns I use when tufting will create an endless array of outcomes from the same technique,” she writes. “The choice of yarn can mean the difference between a mask with a lot of movement or a mask with a strong form that can be brushed and manipulated to hold numerous forms.”

Once she’s photographed the finished project, threadstories deconstructs the pieces to transform them into a new extravagant work. “Generally speaking, I am working intuitively, no design or drawings in advance. I am thinking with my hands,” she says. “For me, it is the photograph or mask on film that is the artwork, not the physical mask. I don’t create pieces like a designer might. The masks are always in a state of flux.”

Each fiber-based creations serves as a visual representation of how people obscure their lives, both intentionally and not, for public consumption. “The masks are sometimes monstrous, other times farcical façades that poke at the performative nature social media cultivates and celebrates,” she writes. Each caption helps build a narrative.

threadstories is questioning how the erosion of personal privacy in the digital age shapes how we view and portray ourselves online. The masks deny the viewer the full story of who the sitter is, echoing the curated or false personas we view online daily. My masks are photographed against a sanitised white square. I know there is often chaos, mess and noise just beyond the margins of that photograph, but the messiness of life doesn’t make the edit for social media.

Find more of the artist’s work that intersects art and cultural commentary on Instagram.

 

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Craft

Brightly Colored Rope Masks Born from Happy Accidents by Bertjan Pot

February 9, 2020

Andrew LaSane

All images © Bertjan Pot

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.