weaving

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Art Science

Nathalie Miebach Weaves Data and Anecdotes into Expansive Sculptures to Raise Awareness of the Climate Crisis

November 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Harvey’s Twitter SOS” (2019), paper, wood, vinyl, and data, 84 x 108 x 12 inches. All images © Nathalie Miebach, shared with permission

For Boston-based artist Nathalie Miebach, art is a way to translate scientific data into a visual language of patterns and relationships. In 2007, when she first began to make works that explored weather and climate change, she wanted to better understand the science. “Each piece began with a specific question I had and then the sculpture would attempt to answer it. Over time, I began to be more interested not in how weather instruments record weather, but how we as a species respond to it,” she tells Colossal. “That’s when I began to look at extreme weather events such as floods, storms, and fires.”

Basketweaving plays a central role in Miebach’s practice as it both physically and metaphorically weaves together materials and information. The type of data she collects is both statistical and anecdotal, combining scientific inquiry with personal experiences. “Harvey’s Twitter SOS,” for example, translates 2017 data maps about Hurricane Harvey published by The New York Times. “The inner quilt is made up of shapes that map out income distribution in Houston and uses the city’s highway system as a visual anchor. Various types of information related to Harvey are stitched onto the quilt, including Twitter messages that were sent out during the storm,” she says. Each piece contains numerous pathways, repetitions, and connections, redolent of Rube Goldberg machines in which cause and effect play a central role.

During the past three years, the artist’s work also collates Covid-19 data alongside climate information. “Spinning Towards a New Normal,” on view currently at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, translates Covid-19 infection, death, and vaccination rates for Germany, Italy, and Spain into the form of a spinning top with a plumb bob, representing the struggle of communities and economies to find stability. “We are not invincible, and neither is this planet,” she warns. “For the first time in human history, we have all experienced how vulnerable we can be as a species. The recent work I have been doing is trying to look at these broader environmental changes we are now seeing through this lens of vulnerability.”

You can see Miebach’s work in All Hands On: Basketry at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin through May 25, 2023, and Climate Action, Inspiring Change at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, through June 25, 2023. Explore more of her work on her website and follow updates on Instagram.

 

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Spinning Towards a New Normal” (2022), reed, wood, and data, 20 x 20 x 25 inches

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Detail of “Harvey’s Twitter SOS”

Two details of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Details of “Spinning Towards a New Normal”

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Changing Lines” (2022), paper, wood, and data, 120 x 96 x 10 inches

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“She Cast Her Circles Wide” (2016), rope, paper, wood, and data, 25 x 25 x 27 inches

A detail of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Detail of “Harvey’s Twitter SOS”

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“The Blindness of Seeing Patterns” (2021), paper, wood, and weather and Covid-19 data, 84 x 60 x 6 inches

Details of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Details of “The Blindness of Seeing Patterns”

 

 

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Art Craft Design

Deceptively Flat Weavings by Artist Susie Taylor Interlace Threads into Playful and Nostalgic Patterns

October 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Susie Taylor, courtesy of Johansson Projects, shared with permission

Patterns we might typically associate with childhood—the plaid vinyl lawn chairs of family barbecues, thick pink, brown, and white stripes of Neapolitan ice cream, and the simple ruled markings on notebook paper—become vibrant woven tapestries in the hands of artist Susie Taylor. Nostalgic in aesthetic and vivid in color palette, the Bay Area artist and textile designer interlaces cotton and linen threads to create flat weaves that appear almost three-dimensional in complexity, with the mathematically-inclined motifs and subtle shifts in color embedded within the pieces themselves.

The fiber compositions draw on the traditions of Bauhaus and Black Mountain College through a boldly playful lens and “include basic shapes like blocks and stripes to address pattern, symmetry and color interaction and the notion that ordered systems can still flirt with chance, interruption, and improvisation,” the artist says.

Taylor’s works are on view through October 27 as part of Origin Stories at Johansson Projects in Oakland. Explore more of her intricate designs on her site.

 

 

 



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

 

 



Craft Design

An Elaborately Designed Book on Weaving Opens to Reveal a Fully Functional Loom

July 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Cai Wei Qun, shared with permission

The swish of a shuttle moving from left to right as it carries threads through the warp might be described as a “xui” sound. A Taiwanese onomatopoeia, the auditory word is also the title of Cai Wei Qun’s elaborately constructed book on the craft, which opens to reveal a trove of history, techniques and tricks, and an entire loom tucked between its covers.

The clever design is fully functional and able to produce tiny tapestries based on the patterns and practices described, making the book an immersive and accessible manual. “Traditional weaving tools are large and have complicated processes,” Wei Qun tells Colossal. “It is commonly difficult to experience. So we hope, by experiencing simple weaving processes, one can initiate ‘interest’ during the process (and) thoroughly understand the culture of weaving.”

Wei Qun was recently awarded a Red Dot Design Award for the conceptual project, and you can find much more on the designer’s website and Instagram. (via Yanko Design)

 

 

 



Art

Thread Grids by Laura Fischer Encase Stones in Exquisitely Knotted Webs

July 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Laura Fischer, shared with permission

Precision is at the core of Laura Fischer’s practice. Using cotton and linen threads in neutral tones, the Bellingham, Washington-based artist sheaths smooth stones in impeccably exacting grids. She forms the tiny squares and rectangles with a series of knots, mimicking the loom weaving process but working directly on the natural material. Paired together, the sculptures are finished with a twisting rope wrapped around the circumferences and suspended in staggered positions.

A few of Fischer’s pieces are available on her site. Keep an eye on Instagram for shop updates. (via swissmiss)

 

 

 



Craft

Ceramic Vessels Wrapped with Scored Ropes Evoke Traditional Basketry

December 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Kate Malone, courtesy of Adrian Sassoon, shared with permission

Kent-based ceramicist Kate Malone mimics the plaited texture of a basket with her series of woven vessels. The wide-mouthed vases and small, covered boxes are wrapped in rolled strips of clay that the artist threads through small gashes in the surface of the pot. Long, vertical bars structure the braided effect, which wraps horizontally around each form. “Initially inspired by passementerie, baskets, and all things woven, for this series, I intended to imitate a woven surface on my ceramics. My practice is to create a core shape, then decorate the surface,” she says.

Malone tells Colossal that she gravitates toward crystalline glazes in greens, blues, and a warm honey tone, although she’s started to incorporate bright base materials in her most recent pieces. “These glazes tend to run down the surface and combine, which prevents the creation of neat horizontal lines, so the pre-colored clays are an attempt to keep surface color in place,” she says.

In addition to the twisted pieces shown here, Malone’s body of work comprises ceramic pieces in a variety of textures and shapes, which you can see at Adrian Sasson where she is represented. Head to Instagram for a look at her studio and a deeper dive into her practice.