medium /// textiles/fiber arts




“castle in the car”

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What!? Rachel Castle? Yep! I managed to get Sydney based artist, designer, entrepreneur, lover of wiener dogs… Rachel Castle to come on the podcast. I was so excited about this because Rachel has always been a bit of a creative enigma to me. She does so much, her work is so popular, and honestly I’m kind of intimidated by her success… success that has always seemed effortless from where I’m standing. I wanted to look behind the curtain, and I did! Turns out, she’s just a normal person. Who knew?! We cover everything from our favorite TV shows to her career in PR, over to dirty words in Australia that mean something completely different in Canada… and we did all of this from her car. For real. You can listen on the player right up there, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First up, a few of her paintings {clearly you can see I like her floral pieces}:

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Ahhh! So gorgeous! These beauties sell so fast… in fact I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them without a SOLD sign underneath. Next up, you can’t talk to Rachel Castle without asking her about her felt text pieces:

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Yes! From KISS to Wham to a whole bunch of bananas in between … and yes, during the speed round I asked her preference between marmite and vegemite. Vegemite, obvi. Ok, and then of course there’s everything else she does outside of the paintings and felt pieces. Bedding, pillows, towels, sculptures, tea towels, bags, sweatshirts and more. Here’s just a teeny peek:

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Great, right? And yes, she clearly has a background in branding and marketing because, whoa, everything on her site looks FABULOUS!

Speaking of fabulous, here’s a look into her beautiful, messy, colorful studio {most of these photos came from her lovely instagram feed}:

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Yep. Love it. And thanks to her new-ish studio out of her house, her family won’t get stuck with pins that got left behind in the couch… hopefully.

So, sweet song lyrics and romantic sayings are great… but I have to admit, I kind of like the slightly ruder ones, as does Rachel:

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Turns out, not everyone agrees… not one “DOUCHE” print sold. Shame, I think it’s hilarious! And then in the speed round I just had to ask… did she have a wiener dog that looks just like mine? Yep! Granted, she calls hers a “sausage dog”, because, Australia:

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So cute! Oh, and that DAMN sweatshirt… yeah, we didn’t actually talk about that, I just really want it. That’s all.

Ok, and that’s that! Thanks so much to Rachel for talking to me for an hour in a very hot car, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and thanks to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend! xo

Other Links:

  1. Lucas Grogan
  2. Wayne White
  3. Roots

 





“nothing is a mistake”

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Time-consuming, candy-hued, magical. That’s what comes to mind when I think of the work of this artist. Today I’m talking to LA based German artist Nike (pronounced Nee-ka) Schroeder… I have to add that because for years I thought her name was Nike… like, you know, Nike. It’s not. It’s Nike (Nee-ka). Ok, now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about her absolutely stunning work. Miles and miles of thread, porcelain, sometimes a bit of paint, and more thread. You can listen right up there, or subscribe on iTunes

First things first… one of my faves… this installation, titled 34°North 118°West :

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Ah-mazing… and the photos don’t even close to do her work justice. I’ve seen them in person and they’re so so so beautiful. The way they move in the slightest of breezes… magical. Next, these pieces are from an older series, titled Fundamental Reports. This is what she was making when I first wrote about her work in 2012:

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You can tell she reallllly wanted to start playing with that dangly thread! Speaking of which, this is the custom piece she made for interior designer/stylist Emily Henderson… here’s the installation of this colorful, ten foot beauty:

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Ah! And there it is featured in Domino Magazine… not too shabby! I want to take full credit for this piece, because I introduced Emily to Nike’s work. Yep, this love affair started at The Fig House – a gorgeous event space in LA that Emily designed. She asked me to curate the art, and Nike was one of the ten artists I chose. Match. Maker. Just sayin’.

Next up, Nike’s latest show where she went back to some of her figurative work… this time with paint… porcelain, and of course, THREAD. This was shown with her primary gallery in LA, Walter Maciel Gallery:

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So. Good. And now, brace yourself… Nike’s amazing, light-filled, downtown LA studio:

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So. Much. Thread! And those windows {and of course, those great shoes}. Oh. Such beautiful work, and another episode that I loved. It never fails… in every single episode there is a moment when I get chills, and when Nike said “nothing is a mistake”  – that those layers and layers gives your work depth and wisdom because they have learned – yep I had a little shudder of excitement. Sigh. And with that, I will thanks to Nike for doing this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and as always thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next week.

Other links: Jack Fischer Gallery





spencer merolla

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If you’re thinking to yourself, “Cool… wait… is that… hair?”, you’d be exactly right. Crazy and amazing. This is the work of Brooklyn based artist Spencer Merolla. I’m going to let her explain what this is about and where it came from:

“This series takes the Victorian women’s practice of sentimental hairwork as its jumping-off point. For the Victorians, mourning was a very public act. Rather than a private emotion or an embarrassment, grief was a popular motif for the arts and fashion. What strikes modern sensibilities as mawkish and overly sentimental behavior was, at the time, considered proof of a person’s sincerity and morality. Ornamental hairwork, painstakingly crafted from the hair of loved ones, was a fashion that insisted the wearer embodied these virtues. This work plays with the tension between sincerity and emotional performance, imagining a contemporary practice in which moderns might socially engage with death’s physicality. The dissonance of the craft (when transposed onto the emotional and aesthetic landscape of our times) draws attention to the ever-shifting boundaries of permitted public display.

That the hair must be severed from the body to be worked in this fashion is a compelling aspect of the practice for me. With few exceptions, the provenance of antique hairwork is now unknown. As a result, it loses its essential quality of referring to a specific person, while still being a distinctively “personal” object. In a sense, the story of hairwork is a testament not of our capacity to remember our lost loved ones, but of our ultimate inability to hold onto them.”

Yep. Crazy and amazing.





lisa smirnova

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Seriously. How beautiful is this? Wearable art, indeed. This is a beautiful combination … fashion and the embroidery work of Moscow based artist Lisa Smirnova. Here’s the full story:

“Artist At Home” –  A new collection from Olya Glagoleva’s eco-friendly brand GO in collaboration with Lisa Smirnova. Artist At Home is a story about the creative process of an artist which has been told through the language of textile. Fabrics used in the collection are cashmere, organic Indian hemp & cotton, 80’s denim jeans and vintage towels sourced from London’s famous Portobello Road; as well as plaid blankets from Flea markets in Wales. The collection tells the story of a painter whose studio and her home is a single space, where both home and work clothing mix together. The story of the creative process will captivate you and transport you to the artist’s parallel reality. Every garment is made only once, each decorated with hand embroidery in the unique style of Lisa Smirnova. The clothes themselves are pieces of art, lovingly created in a process that spans up to 100 hours each. In keeping with the GO tradition, every piece will be packed in a separate box made from recycled wood with detailed information about the item and a small book included with the full story of the creation.

Love.





maya slininger

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Holy macrame! Ok, my love for macrame might be dating me, but these gorgeous modernized wall hangings {does that make me sound younger?} are the beautiful, handcrafted work of California based artist Maya Slininger. My favorite piece is that final one… which happens to be in my online gallery {and there’s only one!} All of the other pieces are available in her shop.





textiles, treasures, and a new tribe

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Yes! I’m back after two very relaxing weeks by the fire, with snow falling outside. But, I didn’t sit around doing nothing, oh no… instead of eating chocolate in my jammies, I hopped on Skype and called Maryanne Moodie  – an Australian artist, who now lives in Brooklyn. Ok, I may have been wearing jammies and eating chocolate when I called her. I have been obsessed with her weaving work for ages, and now I’m even more impressed after hearing her totally inspiring self-taught story. And ps., now I want to be a weaver. You can listen to our conversation right up there, under Maryanne in her studio, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a whole bunch of her stunning, vintage-inspired, colorful weavings:

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Gasp! So gorgeous. Doesn’t that last shot (from her amazing instagram feed) make you want to try weaving immediately? Yeah, me too. Luckily for us she sells starter kits, and teaches workshops all over the world! (ps. you can get the kits and buy spots in the classes via her Etsy shop. You can sign up for her enewsletter if you want to find out when/where the workshops are happening. Scroll down to the bottom of her home page and sign up there). I love that she does these classes! So fantastic, and yet another part of her amazing story (you have to listen if you’re not listening already… go right now!). Here are some of her kits and workshops in action:

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So fun! That last shot is in her Brooklyn studio where she works and teaches. Those windows are killing me. Speaking of which, this is the feather piece I mentioned:

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Beautiful! So, after procrastinating for almost a year, I finally warped up the loom (fancy expert weaver talk… I think) that Maryanne sent me last spring. I bought some yarn at my local thrift shop, and threw in some hot pink embroidery thread. Here’s where I am so far:

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A grey rectangle! Oh yes, it’s getting serious in here. So, what do you think? Are you ready to join the tribe…

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Me too! I’m so happy that I got a chance to talk to Maryanne. She is beyond lovely, so generous with her insider weaver information, and clearly very talented. Thank you for saying yes, Maryanne! Thanks also to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode and, of course, to you for stopping by to look/listen. There will be more art for your ear next weekend!





kate jenkins

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Well, it is almost holiday season… crocheted canapés, anyone? This is the weird, wonderful, and ridiculously detailed crochet work of UK based artist Kate Jenkins. Sushi with “sew sauce”, and sequin covered shrimp… yep, this might be the perfect, light-hearted way to end the week. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!





christina t. carrozza

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The softness of fabric and thread, face to face with the harsh devastation of natural disasters. This is the work of American artist Christina T. Carrozza, and these are her words about this series:

“The disaster quilt series … was born from my experience of living through hurricane Sandy, in my new home in Staten Island … I began exploring the theme of natural disasters, using aerial photography as my primary resource. I am currently working on several pieces in this series depicting the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in Haiti, as well as hurricane Katrina. On the surface the quilts appeal to the senses with abstract beauty but when examined more closely, the viewer is made to recognize these devastating events as well as question the way in which they have been represented. I hope the viewer will experience a quiet realization as they peel back layers of signification and process.”

So good. And because I have always had a soft spot for artists who use traditional “craft” techniques to create fine art, I also have to include this bit from her artist statement: “I intend to break boundaries between fine art and craft by using embroidery, quilting and painting as an expression of the contemporary experience of women. I am exploring my relationship to craft, gender, style and authenticity.” Love.





“you can’t make art in the cracks”

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Oh. Jessica Bell. She is one of the most lovely people you’ll ever meet, and someone that changed my outlook on my own artwork in one magical, caffeine/chocolate filled afternoon. She’s smart. And determined. And a self-taught artist who just finished her MFA. Yep, she has an undergrad in Art History, started making art on her own, got a teeny tiny studio space with a tarp instead of a roof {for real}, worked for years, applied for her MFA and then rocked it out. I was so excited to talk to her that, well, we just kept on talking! After we “hung up” I kept recording, so if you want to listen past the BEEP, please do. You can listen right underneath Jessica installing her thesis show, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, some of her mixed media work from a few years ago:

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Ah. Paint, paper, tape, fabric, thread. And color. I absolutely love her sense of color. Now, as if finishing her MFA wasn’t momentous enough, she’s also just been nominated, for the second time, for the RBC Canadian Painting Prize {the winner gets $25,000 and their work in the RBC Collection… so yes, it’s a pretty big deal!} In 2013, as she was driving from Vancouver to Ottawa to start her MFA she had just been nominated, and two years later as she packed the moving truck to leave Ottawa and head back to Vancouver… you guessed it, she was nominated again! The two pieces are very different, yet you can absolutely see Jessica in both of them:

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The winner {there are only 15 finalists} will be announced at the Contemporary Art Gallery of Vancouver on November 18, 2015. Good luck, Jessica… we’re cheering for you!

We talked a lot about her MFA experience. Turns out, quite a few of her final paintings were inflatable. Yes, I said inflatable:

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I want to hug a painting! So, jumping back to the speed round, I purposely asked a question that would lead to this answer because I really wanted to show you the knitted wall hanging she made for me. I thought she was sending one of these smaller pieces {which would have been wonderful too}, but no, she sent me a huge, heavy, beautiful piece that gave her carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s hanging in my living room right now:

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Love. So much. And with that, we finished things off. Jessica is exhausted after her MFA, so I suggested she take a nap for the winter. Look, she can do it on one of her inflatable paintings…

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Shhhhhh. Thanks Jessica. And thanks to you… see you next week for another episode. xo

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Other links mentioned: Sarah Gee Miller, Ben Skinner, Being Boss podcast, Heather Craig {Heather was the artist who told Jessica, “You can’t make art in the cracks.” That might be my new most favorite saying}, and Initial Gallery in Vancouver. ps. Conan… Jessica is waiting for your call.





jessica dance

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London based Jessica Dance describes herself as an art director, model maker and prop stylist… but I’m going to throw artist in there too because, damn, I wish I thought of this. Comfort food. Yum! Knit by Jessica and photographed by David Sykes. Now, if these plates full of delicious stuff are too comforting, ie., you’re trying to watch the waistline, may I interest you in this much lighter menu from Jessica’s portfolio:

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“Paper plates” … get it? Ahh, so good. Happy Monday.

{via Booooooom}