medium /// textiles/fiber arts




natalie baxter

What do you do when your artwork causes crazy people to come out of the woodwork? Turn their horrible online comments into soft sculptures, of course! Oh, how I love this new series, titled ALT CAPS, by New York based artist Natalie Baxter. I had her on the podcast last January to talk about her droopy Warm Guns and tassel-covered Bloated Flags, and she admitted both series get some pretty nasty comments from time to time. Well, instead of allowing those rude words to stop her, Natalie decided to spend a good part of 2017 turning those trolly words into a whole new series … brilliant and hilarious. Mic drop.

ps. Natalie is another of the contemporary artists featured in my upcoming book. Seriously, with work like this, how could she not be!?





sheila hicks

Oh my word. This stunning fiber based installation was one of my favorite things at the Venice Biennale this past summer, and yes, it probably has something to do with my current obsession with pom poms. Granted, these are not pom poms at all. They are “pigmented acrylic fibre” wrangled into large soft orbs with some kind of synthetic netting! This gorgeous piece {that you were NOT allowed to jump on even if you really wanted to} was part of the “Color Pavilion” at the Arsenale, and is the work of American-born, Paris based artist Sheila Hicks. Watch the video above to see Sheila talking about this piece… so beautiful on so many levels.

ps. a bit of proof, basically to remind myself that I really was there – because sometimes it feels more like a crazy dream.





janet echelman

Gasp! Imagine walking through London, turning a corner and seeing this?! This insane floating net, titled “1.8” is the work of American artist Janet Echelman. In 2016 this beauty was hung in the middle of Oxford Circus, the busiest pedestrian area in all of London. This was its world premiere, opening Lumiere London {light festival}, but now it will continue to travel the world being shown in other cities. Ok, back to that title. Why “1.8” …

“The work’s title is 1.8, referring to the length of time in microseconds that the earth’s day was shortened as a result of a single physical event, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that emanated from Japan. The sculpture’s form was inspired by data sets of the tsunami’s wave heights rippling across the entire Pacific Ocean. The artwork delves into content related to our complex interdependencies with larger cycles of time and our physical world. The sculpture’s net structure is a physical manifestation of interconnectedness – when any one element moves, every other element is affected.”

Chills.

ps. Janet is one of the artists featured in my upcoming book! Could I be more thrilled? NO.





yuni kim lang

“Comfort Hair”… Wow. This is the stunning work of Korean born, US based artist Yuni Kim Lang. This gorgeous series is referencing Korean gache, wigs that women of high society used to wear… and the bigger, heavier, and more adorned the better – obviously! Now, I’m sure you’re wondering if this is actual human hair :

[Lang] … creates sculptures, photographs and wearable art that explores themes of weight, mass, accumulation, hair and cultural identity. She creates sculptures out of rope and synthetic materials where it transcends its materiality and become bodily. She is fascinated by what people give power and meaning to, along with our obsession with adornment. 

Ah-ha! It is in fact synthetic rope that she buys from the hardware store and then manipulates until it becomes a braided, shiny, glorious – and unbelievably HEAVY – piece of art. LOVE!





threadstories

Terrifyingly beautiful! How have I just discovered the work of Ireland based, um, “ThreadStories”. Ok, so her real name is a bit of a mystery, which is probably the point. Anyone who specializes in making weird and wonderful knitted masks has to love a good secret. Now I just have to play matchmaker between her and Erik Mark Sandberg… THAT would be a gorgeous, creepy, mysterious, ah-mazing collaboration!

ps. all of her work is on her Instagram feed. Careful, you might lose track of time over there.





faig ahmed

Yes, those are carpets melting and pouring onto the floor. This is the mind-bending work of Azerbaijan born artist Faig Ahmed. I wrote about him five years ago, which was clearly way too long ago! He continues to beautifully blur the line between art and craft, which happens to be one of my favorite lines to blur. All of  the pieces shown here are part of his “Liquid” series… obviously.





nike schroeder


Whoa. This is “Cityfold”a new series by German (LA based) artist Nike Schroeder. I’ve had her on the podcast and she’s in my new book that focuses on female artists – past, present and future! Paint, thread, linen, and love. Sigh. I can’t wait to see what she does next … wait for it…

ps. Nike is currently working on a solo show, titled BACKSPACE/DELETE, opening in Los Angeles at Walter Maciel Gallery on November 4th. The show grew from the Cityfolds series and is a deeper exploration of materials and urban experience. It’s even more painterly with collage elements of concrete, different cloths and canvases, rope and of course thread. If you’re in LA, go!





lizzie pearce

A self-described “maker of unusual things” … um, yep! Cute meets creepy as little ceramic faces are housed inside felted creatures / mushrooms. This is the whimsical and weird work of UK based artist Lizzie Pearce. I’d love to pick a favorite, but that feels totally impossible. Clearly I need all of them. Happy September!

ps. Some of her work is available in her shop.





chris roberts-antieau

Do I desperately want to see all of the pieces in this crazy grouping of embroidered eyes? Yes, yes I do. Well, these were the only three I could find enlarged, so for now I’ll have to be satisfied with Prince, Lincoln, and Tom Waits. This embroidery in found frames series is titled “Genius Eyes”, and is the work of New Orleans based artist Chris Roberts-Antieau. Her portfolio is overflowing with work created using fabric, thread, and brilliance. Speaking of brilliance, I have to attach the letter she has posted to her ‘about’ page:

Amen  ♥





sissel blystad

Small textiles, big rugs, and elaborate pattern as far as the eye can see! How, I ask you, have I not learned about Norwegian artist Sissel Blystad until now? She was born in Oslo in 1944, and she’s been making work since 1972! I love this chunk of text from her site… it’s been translated from Norwegian so it might be a bit off, but her honesty and humor certainly isn’t:

“Here is my self-made website with works ranging from 1972 to 2015. It may look like I’ve taken everything I’ve done, but I have not deleted. I think it’s important and show also older stuff, which I do not necessarily are equally happy with today, but that is also part of my oeuvre.
I feel like I’ve gotten done very much when I look back, and that’s because I’ve had this as the first priority in all years. And I must, with hand on heart, say that I have never made anything just to sell, but only to meet and challenge myself. By type, I’m curious, and do not give up so easily. And why have I managed to claw me stuck in this job. Like many other artists also I had to take other jobs beside at times, but usually with great reluctance.”

The. Best.

ps. An installation view from a 2016 show at Hester NY, and a photo of Sissel in her studio from 2011: