medium /// textiles/fiber arts




ulla-stina wikander

Discarded household items covered lovingly in discarded cross-stitch embroideries. LOVE. This is the work of Swedish artist Ulla-Stina Wikander, and this is her story behind this body of work:

”For more then 10 years I have collected cross-stitch embroideries and today I have quite a big collection with over 100 different designs. These embroideries have mostly been made by women and is seen as kitsch and regarded pretty worthless. I think that sometimes they are really beautiful and I want to bring them back to life. In 2012 I started to cover ordinary household things from the 70s, like a sewing machine, vaccuum cleaner, electric mixer etc. I find it interesting to see how these objects transforms in a new context; the obsolete, the things we do not want any longer, the old and forgotten things. I give them a second life and although I cut the embroideries into pieces, I still think they look very beautiful, when the objects has been ”dressed up”. 

Perfect.

{found via Create Magazine’s Instagram feed}





“yak friends”

Pink cashmere, cable knit covered deer. Sigh. I have loved the artwork of American artist Rachel Denny since way back in 2009, but today is the first time we’ve ever spoken! I had A LOT of questions, and she had lots of answers. One thing that became very clear very quickly – she is one handy woman! She works with so many materials and does it with ease. Also, she owns four yaks. I realize I sounded like a bit of a Facebook stalker during this episode, but just wait until you scroll down to see not only her gorgeous work, but also photos of her yaks playing hide n seek and tag! Now I want yaks. Anyway, listen right up under those lovely pink bucks, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, of course, her knit-covered deer trophies:

Ah, and there’s my Rosie – so gorgeous!

Speaking of gorgeous, here’s a peek into Rachel’s studio:

Amazing, yes? There’s the chenille covered moose commission she mentioned, and I’ve also included the turquoise angora-covered rabbit we talked about. Seriously, it’s just all too good.

Also, still living in her studio, this big beautiful blue buck:

Isn’t that beautiful and heartbreaking all at once? Also beautiful – her most recent commission, made for Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler BC. The first shot is in her studio, the second photo shows the deer in their new home:

LOVE!!!

Ok, and the flattened penny horse that I brought up about 1000 times (?), along with proof of her handiness when using any and all material – from pennies to matches to resin to tiny bits of mirror:

Whoa. That snake. Gorgeous, but if I saw him in my yard I would lose my mind. Here are a few things Rachel sees in her yard every day… YAKS!

Stunning. And there’s the belt bull we were talking about. Isn’t he majestic? The amount of work she puts into each piece is just mind blowing.

Alright, now here’s the non-art related reason for following along so closely on Rachel’s Facebook page! Look at these hairy beauties:

Oh my word, Tsampa in full-on frolic mode! I could look at that photo all day… he’s so happy! And finally, like so many artists, Rachel takes photos of her work, but rarely herself. I did find one, and I have a feeling this is what she looks like most of the time anyway:

Yep, covered in animals! Thanks to Rachel for figuring out Skype so we could chat; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and thank YOU for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Vernissage Gallery, Portland {her show is up until Dec 30th}
  2. Alison Milne Gallery, Toronto
  3. Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek CA
  4. Nanaimo bar recipe! Mmmmm

 





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.