medium /// textiles/fiber arts




mariko kusumoto

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Gasp! Sculpture? Fabric? Yes and yes… but also… jewelry! What!? This is the delicate, whimsical, gorgeous work of Japanese-born, US-based artist Mariko Kusumoto. Brooches, bracelets, and necklaces that look like they were found in a mermaid’s jewelry box… I already gasped, right?





“experiments, risks… and dryer lint”

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I’ve talked to artists who work with hand-made paint, fresh flowers, tiny glass tiles, and delicate paper… but today is a new one. Lint – aka dryer fluff. Yes, Canadian artist Tonya Corkey creates these gorgeous pieces using lint from the laundry room! I wrote about her years ago {the second I found her work obviously}, and now thanks to the wonders of podcasts, I was able to ask all of my lint-related questions. You can listen right up there, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Before we really get going, just so you believe me, look at this close-up of that first piece above:

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Lint!!! Mind. Blown. Ok, moving on. This next piece is the colorful portrait that Tonya was talking about:

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Just imagine collecting and organizing that much colorful lint? It makes me want to wash a bunch of red socks so I can send her a ball of pinky/red fluff! Now, not that I want Tonya to ever feel terrified, but I kinda love that this piece scared her so much. See, brilliant artists are humans too.

Ok, so here are some of her portraits. The first guy below, Freddie, was the first lint portrait she ever did, and is titled “Your Friend Freddie”. This piece is 5’x3.5′ and took months for Tonya to finish… which doesn’t surprise me at all:

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She quickly embraced negative space which saved a lot of time… and lint.

Oh, and these! These are the mirrored pieces we talked about. STUNNING:

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Right? Sigh. So gorgeous. Up next, the writing from the back of these nostalgic found photographs… some mirrored, some with a bit of a linty shadow:

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Again, gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous, here is a shot of Tonya in her studio. I love seeing where/how artists work, and this photo is particularly great because you can see the scale of a few of the pieces from earlier in this post. Also, I love that she’s surrounded by bags full of dryer fluff:

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Lovely. Thank you so much to Tonya for taking the time to tell her stories, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting episode 75; thanks to audible.com for making my new book into an audio book – it’s officially available now – and thank YOU so much for listening every week! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Queen’s University
  2. Alison Milne Gallery
  3. OCAD
  4. Ben Skinner
  5. California College of the Arts

 





per fhager

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Yeah. That’s right… CROSS-STITCHED VIDEO GAMES! This is the meticulous work of Swedish artist Per Fhager. I had to include that image of Per in action so you’d believe that these are embroidered pieces, not screen-grabs. Insane. Here’s a bit more about why he does what he does:

Per´s choice of material, technique and color gives us a perfect example of how traditional crafts can receive a new expression and context in the modern world. The embroideries differs largely in texture, technique and color density, these differences are important in the process of producing the needle point works. The handmade pictures arrives from video game stills where composition, narrative and memory plays its role.

It really is kind of crazy how close a pixel is to a cross-stitch. Hm. And with that bit of amazingness, I will wish you a happy Friday. Mic drop.





natalie baxter

nataliebaxter

YES. All of us should carry a gun at all times… as long as it’s the work of Brooklyn based artist Natalie Baxter! All of these beauties {and there are many more where these came from}, are part of Natalie’s series titled “Warm Gun”. Sigh. I would feel so much safer/cozier if I had this next to my bed… or in my bed. Beautiful. Smart. Poignant. Happy weekend.

{via Uprise Art … ps. some of her warm guns are available there.}





bunnie reiss

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First, “Cosmic Animal Gloves”. Second, her name is Bunnie. Seriously, I could not be happier right now. Here’s what LA based artist Bunnie Reiss has to say about this lovely, symmetrical, cosmic, hand-painted series:

“I’ve always been excited by how easy it is to take something old, transform it, and give it a new life. My Cosmic Animal Gloves are one of my favorite on-going projects where I get to play with the idea of old and new, symmetry and our strange connection to the cosmic world of spirit animals.” 

Love! She often has a set of these, framed, in her shop … and if she’s sold out, Bunnie will happily make you a set if you just reach out to her. By email. Not cosmically.

{via Melanie Biehle on Pinterest}





raquel rodrigo

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What!? Urban cross-stitching… oh my word. This is the work of Spanish artist/set designer Raquel Rodrigo. Wire mesh and some very colorful rope working together to create lovely gardens on the walls around Madrid. Sigh. Yeah, I need her roses all over the front of my house.

{via Colossal}





serena garcia dalla venezia

serena

Gasp! So many colors, and oh so many little balls of hand-sewn goodness hanging on the wall! This is the organic/organized work of Chilean artist Serena Garcia Dalla Venezi. I can’t decide if I want to lie down on them, hang them on my wall, or eat them! Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go chew several flavors of bubblegum for breakfast.

{via Lisa Congdon on Pinterest}





olek

olek

Yes, if I had orchestrated these projects I’d be dancing around in circles too! Yes, projects with an ‘S’. We’re looking at not one, but TWO houses completely covered in hot pink crochet. Um, when can I move in!? This is the absolutely beautiful work of Polish-born, New York based artist Olek. The first house is in Avesta, Sweden {first house in the post}, and there is another one in Kerava, Finland {second in the post}. These interventions aren’t just beautiful though, they’re incredibly important. Here are Olek’s words about this project, and the many people who helped make it happen:

“Our pink house is about the journey, not just about the artwork itself.  It’s about us coming together as a community.  It’s about helping each other … we proved that we are stronger together, that we can make anything happen together.  People from all walks of life came together to make this project possible.  Someone donated the house, another one fixed the electricity and @redheartyarns generously donated the materials.  And of course, most importantly, many women {including Syrian and Ukrainian refugees} joined us in the effort to make my dream a reality.

… Women have the ability to recreate themselves.  No matter how low life might bring us, we can get back on our feet and start anew… We can show everybody that women can build houses, women can make homes.  In 2015 over 21 million people lost their homes due to war and conflicts in their native countries. The pink house, our pink house, is a symbol of a bright future filled with hope.  Everybody should have a home.”

Yes, yes they should 

{via Colossal}





tasha lewis

tashalewis

Pearl encrusted, underwater beauties… so lovely in a strange, magical, ghostly mermaid kind of way. All of these haunting hand-sewn sculptures are from a series, titled “Full Fathom Five”, by New Jersey based artist Tasha Lewis. Here are her words about this project:

“With these works, I imagine the decay or “sea change” described by Ariel in Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

In these portraits, time on the ocean floor has replaced their eyes with pearls and thread and they are everywhere encrusted with beads.”

Sigh. Happy Monday.





“comfortable in my skin”

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It’s rare for fibre arts to make you feel slightly {or very} uncomfortable, but that’s exactly what these beautifully woven tapestries do. I wrote about her for the first time in 2011, and five years later I finally get to talk to Brooklyn based artist Erin M. Riley… I had A LOT of questions for this very thoughtful, smart, and ridiculously talented woman. The combination of her chosen medium, and her subject matter is truly brilliant! Now, before we get started, I thought this description from her site was an excellent way to explain her work:

Riley has referenced found images online as well as her own photographs that address sex, social media and feminism. Influenced by the Instagram generation, her subjects have varied from iPhone nude selfies, screenshots of sexual positions and objects of womanhood or sexuality.

Yep, that sets up our conversation perfectly. You can listen right up there under Erin at the loom, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorites from her found photo weavings:

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Oh girls… don’t do it! Risky behavior and bad decisions captured forever in woven fibre. Amazing. Next up, we touched on some of Erin’s earlier work that revolved around drunk driving:

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It’s heartbreaking to think about the stories behind these found images.

Next, all of these pieces are from her “Daddy Issues” series. They’re beautiful, but make you cringe for these girls at the same time:

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I love this series so much. I think it’s incredibly powerful and a really interesting way to slow down {literally in Erin’s case} and take a closer look at the fast-paced world of social media. Erin said she’d had some negative feedback on this work – granted, those were faceless comments from the internet – saying that she was “exploiting these women”. That was not her intention at all, so she switched from using found images, to self portraits. Talk about taking control … while being totally vulnerable at the same time. I think these pieces are absolutely stunning, and yes, these are her tattoos:

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Gorgeous – even the shaving and tweezing. I absolutely love that she captures those very real moments too, instead of only choosing to document her body when perfect/posed. Again, brilliant and, oh, so vulnerable. I certainly couldn’t take those photos of myself… and then WEAVE them for the next month or two! Yeah, no. Speaking of which, I found these photos of Erin and her loom in action on her Instagram feed:

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That final photo was captioned “nipple day” … and yes, it made me LOL as the kids say. And last, a close up of her truck tattoo that came up in the speed round:

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We didn’t talk about gum, but how could I not include this photo!? Apparently this was late at night in the studio, the coffee was gone and all she had left was bubble tape. You do what you have to do, am I right?

Thank you so much to Erin for answering all of my questions and for being so open {and for admitting that she too cries like a baby during Grey’s Anatomy}. As always, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and big high fives to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. MassArt {Boston}
  2. Tyler School of Art {Philadelphia}
  3. Grey’s Anatomy
  4. She didn’t mention this! Erin’s showing at Brilliant Champion Gallery in Brooklyn till July 26, 2016