PLEASE NOTE: This workshop is registration-only. Click here to save your spot.
Tees & Tabs Workshop
Saturday, March 16
Workshop Hours: 1-5 pm
Fee: $40 registration
In conjunction with the exhibition Spirits in the Material World, featuring a series of seven garment-like works made from recycled t-shirt fabric and aluminum can pull-tabs, Nika Feldman offers this special workshop. Participants will learn how to let these idiosyncratic materials direct their creative process. Feldman will teach basic embroidery techniques. All supplies included.
This class is limited to 20 participants, so make sure to register early! The $40 registration fee reserves your spot.
Rena Detrixhe’s artwork in our Shifting Landscapes show has been a source of wonder and puzzlement since the exhibition opened in late February. Visitors have posited that the rug pattern filling a large swath of the floor in our upper galleries is made from ceramic, leather, silk and even cocoa powder. It’s actually loose dirt from Detrixhe’s current home state of Oklahoma, stamped with old shoe soles to form a trompe l’oeil tapestry. The piece, titled Red Dirt Rug, took the top jury prize in the show. Detrixhe’s work is also receiving accolades across the digital landscape. The popular art blog Colossal just posted about her work:
“This rich red earth is the land of the dust bowl, the end of the Trail of Tears, land runs and pipelines, deep fault-lines and hydraulic fracturing,” said Detrixhe in her artist statement. “There is immense beauty and pride in this place and also profound sorrow. The refining and sifting of the soil and the imprinting of the pattern is a meditation on this past, a gesture of sensitivity, and the desire for understanding. It is a meticulous and solitary act.” By using this fleeting form Detrixhe questions the permanent decisions that have been made to the region’s environment.
Alice Zrebiec, a curatorial consultant based in Santa Fe, also wrote favorably about Detrixhe’s work in a review for the Textile Society of America:
Its rich color has a visceral appeal while the delicate designs evoke textile traditions and traces of human passage. Installed without barriers, as Detrixhe prefers, the mutability and transitory nature inherent to Red Dirt Rug was readily evident.
Detrixhe discusses her work in the video above, and you can see images and read a full interview with the artist below. Shifting Landscapes is a juried show featuring members of the Surface Design Association, and its closing date has been extended to June 10. Make sure to come see Red Dirt Rug and other incredible fiber and fiber-inspired artworks in person!
Tell us about your work in Shifting Landscapes.
I’m here showing a recent work called Red Dirt Rug, which is an intersection of landscape, textiles, and research into the history of Oklahoma, where I’ve been in residence for the past year.
You’re exploring so many different layers of that history. What has this rich, red dirt come to represent to you and other Oklahomans?
I think that the dirt means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s definitely symbolic of the region, and is related to a lot of these histories. I’m still finding out things all the time that I can bring into my work and talk about.
I’m still really not sure if it represents all of the many things that I want it to. But it’s a very new body of work for me. I’m interested in furthering my research and continuing my work to see how it grows.
You’ve created several dirt rugs previously. How was the experience of making the rug for Shifting Landscapes new or different?
It was interesting for me to be able to show this work in a different state. When I’ve shown it before, it was in Oklahoma. And in a lot of ways, the work is about Oklahoma, although I think a lot of the things I’m talking about are universal, or deal with the United States and colonialism and a lot of these histories that are very universal for us.
I think it has an interesting connection to New Mexico as well. This is a place that’s known for its landscapes, and its landscapes in art. And it’s also known for textiles and objects like rugs, and the sale of these objects. So I’m really interested in what it means for a piece like this to be shown here.
Your work is so ephemeral, as we learned last night at the reception when someone accidentally swept away the corner out of it [to see the smudge, view the video above]. What’s your reaction to moments like that?
I actually really love that smudge. I’m always aware that things are going to happen throughout the course of the show, because it’s going to be up for months and things will change over time. I love that there’s a little smudge in the corner, because it gives one more visual hint of how fragile and ephemeral the material is.
In a show called Shifting Landscapes, your work is truly the most shiftable.
It’s pretty literal, yeah.
Did that really resonate with you initially when you first read the title?
It really did. And not just the title, but the description of what the show was trying to be. It’s about different depictions of landscape, and all the different things that can mean. It’s open to literal representations and more conceptual depictions of landscape, and puts that into a contemporary context. It’s so important to talk about these issues and how they relate to the earth.
Could you describe your process, from shoveling the dirt all the way to creating the pattern?
I start by gathering buckets of dirt with a shovel, quite literally. Then I bring it back to my studio and process it, which means breaking it down to be fine, soft dust. I do it mortar and pestle style, breaking it down with a hammer and getting out the rocks. And then I sift it through various levels of screen, and then finally sift it through silk.
Once I have the very fine soil, I spread that out on a fine, flat sheet. The pattern is made by imprinting the pattern with little stamps that are made from isolating the patterns on shoe soles. I work from the center outwards.
I liken the process to the Tibetan sand mandalas. I think that’s the closest thing I can relate it to, both on a conceptual level of doing this meditative act, and also the time consuming quality of the work.
When you de-install one of these pieces, do you find that difficult?
Like mentally hard? No.
You’ve learned to let go.
Yeah, it’s kind of fun. This time I won’t be doing it myself, so that will be fun too. But I don’t know, maybe we can record it.
We did a time lapse when you installed it, and now we’ll do a time lapse of its destruction!
Yeah, and I’m still thinking about what ultimately will happen to the material. At this point, I’m saving the soil because I want to have the opportunity to show this work in different places.
I’m interested in how the monks, when they’re finished with a mandala, they deconstruct it and take the sand to a river and release it. It’s the end of the cycle. I’d like to do something like that, but I’m still thinking about what that might mean.
Click here to see other posts about Shifting Landscapes on our blog, and browse the whole show here. Come see the exhibition during the opening reception for our new show, Deliberate Acts: SITE Scholar Exhibition 2016/17, on Friday, April 28, 5-7 pm.
Unboxing the artwork for our Shifting Landscapes exhibition was a delightfully surprising process. Jurors Frank Rose and Erika Lynne Hanson digitally sorted through hundreds of submissions from Surface Design Association members who are scattered across the world. Seeing a small image of an artwork on a glowing screen is very different from lifting it out of a crate.
Case in point: Regina Benson‘s artwork for the show, V Restored Legacy, is an art quilt with a sculptural twist. There’s a shadow visible in the image that Regina sent us, but only when the work was on the wall did we fully understand the mesmerizing power of its dimensional qualities. The piece is designed to project from the wall and into the gallery, encouraging visitors to view it at multiple angles.
To create her artwork, the Golden, Colorado artist utilizes her knowledge of painting, drawing, textile surface design, engineering and architecture. Regina was in Santa Fe for the opening reception of Shifting Landscapes in February, and we interviewed her about her work. Scroll down to read our conversation, and click here to view more artwork from Shifting Landscapes.
Tell us about your medium. How did you get into quilting?
I’m working with the concept of layering cloths, canvases, or papers. I can’t say it was a conscious decision. It’s just an outgrowth of the process of working with textiles. Some of my work qualifies as art quilting because of the layering techniques. It’s not always art quilting, because I do a lot of single layering, or different kinds of manipulations of textiles.
When did you first start working with textiles?
A very long time ago. I worked for a while at the Kansas City Art Institute in the days when Fiber 101 was the only elective. It has gotten very popular now, so it has its own department. I was dissatisfied with the lack of dimension in painting. When artists in the 70’s started ripping the canvases off the frames and draping them, I was elated. And then the thought came, why use canvas in the first place? Why not silk, why not cotton, or linen?
I also did some weaving. I would decorate, I would surface design, on my own woven cloth. Weaving your own cloth is extremely time consuming and tends to limit you. So I started making larger scale works. That forced me to try and find materials that I would purchase by the bulk and then manipulate.
Could you talk a little bit about the piece that’s in this show? I know that you’re often exploring both image making and turning these works into sculptures in their own right. Tell us about this piece and how that fits into this larger exploration.
I was dealing with the concept of the remains of things, shards and remnants that are found and reassembled. I wanted the process of the making to reflect some of that itself, so the work required that I employ rust and oxide and burns. I tortured the textile.
It’s not just about objects, but the landscapes around us. You don’t see landscape as a single dimension, you see it in layers. In a small way, I was trying to convey the layering of the shards that might be discovered.
The reason I like to use Egyptian cotton for this process is that it’s a long staple cotton and it is very finely woven. Really expensive bedding is a thousand counts per inch instead of the two or four hundred thread count. That means it’s very tightly woven and it will be good for deposition of oxides and paint.
And then you actually paint on top of it?
I do. I’m using substances just like a painter would, to make the marks and contain them. I’ll also burn it, and then treat it so that it becomes permanent on the cloth. Otherwise, it would flake away.
Why remains? Where did that line of thought come from?
I’m Lithuanian, and our language is related to Sanskrit. I have been exploring what is left of our culture. I’m looking at the things I have to gather and assemble to keep and pass on. I try to do that as much as I can, visually. Sometimes it speaks to other people the way I envision it, and sometimes not. But it’s always interesting for me to hear.
It was a nice surprise for us at the gallery, because we had only seen images of it. We didn’t fully understand how big it was, and that it was going to extend from the wall.
It’s actually one of my smaller pieces, so thank you for saying it’s large scale. The shadowing is sometimes critical to the work, because it encourages people to go up and look underneath and look around.
It definitely does encourage exploration. If you’re really close to it, there’s a topographical quality to it. And then from the side or farther back there’s a different effect.
It’s a conversation that I hope we get involved with. And obviously, many of the artists in the show are as well. It’s a beautiful show, I’m glad to be part of it.
Click here to see more artwork from Shifting Landscapes, and see the show at form & concept through May 20.
The Surface Design Association (SDA) has members all across the world. It’s no surprise that the featured artists in Shifting Landscapes, SDA’s third international juried exhibition, are a diverse and dynamic crew. The show will present fiber (and fiber-inspired) artworks that are traditional, non traditional and contemporary interpretations of place.
SDA Executive Director Danielle Kelly was particularly interested to see how artists of different nationalities responded to the theme. “With everything that’s happening environmentally and politically around the world right now, I can only imagine what many artists are thinking about as they make work for the exhibition,” Danielle told us a few months ago. “We can communicate things through art when words fail us. Sometimes the best place to talk about your world is through what you make.”
Watch the video above for sneak peeks at work by each of the artists, and read on for a small sampling of their remarkable stories. Shifting Landscapes opens at form & concept on Friday, February 24 from 5-7 pm.
Wendy Weiss is an independent artist and weaver. Textiles, pattern, and power relationships drive Wendy and her studio work. Primarily a weaver and natural dyer, she works with other materials, most recently, digitally cut vinyl to create multi-color wall installations. She is professor emerita of textile design in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was awarded a 2014-15 Fulbright Nehru Senior Scholar Award, to follow-up on a previous Fulbright Award in 2009 to document ikat textiles from an artist’s perspective in India, and is a past recipient of two Nebraska Arts Council Artist Fellowships, as well as a Winterthur Residential Fellowship. She serves on the board of the Textile Society of America as External Relations Director and Newsletter Editor. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in North America, Europe and Asia. She uses natural dyes that she cultivates and collects locally.
Faith Kane is a design researcher and educator working in the area of textiles and materials. Her research interests include: design for sustainability; design/science collaborations; the role and value of craft knowledge within these contexts; and drawing for textiles. She is a Senior Lecturer and the Programme Coordinator for Textiles at the School of Design, College of Creative Arts at Massey University In Wellington New Zealand. She is also Editor of the Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice.
Jodi Colella works with a broad range of materials to create provocative, tactile works that often include public participation. She has exhibited at Danforth Art Museum; Fruitlands Museum; Wheaton College; Helen Day Art Center; World of Threads Toronto and Textile Museum Washington D.C., among others. She has received numerous awards including the 2016 Fay Chandler Emerging Artist, 2016 Fellowship ComPeung Thailand, Pollack-Krasner Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, and Somerville Arts Council Fellowships 2015, 2012. Jodi has taught nationally at Society for Craft in Pittsburgh, SDA’s Confluence in Minneapolis plus many local venues. She lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts and most days can be found lost in her studio.
Yuni Kim Lang
Yuni Kim Lang is a Detroit-based visual artist who creates sculpture, installation, photography and performances that explore ideas of beauty, adornment and cultural identity. She investigates themes of weight, mass, accumulation and hair in order to understand her personal and cultural identity. Lang was born in Seoul, Korea. All her life, she has been living as a TCK (Third Cultural Kid). Raised overseas, formal training in New York City, Lang holds a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Metalsmithing (2013) and earned a BFA from Parsons The New School for Design (2009). Lang was awarded a merit-based grant at the Vermont Studio Center Residency (2014), a Red Gate Residency (2013) in China. Her work has been favorably reviewed in several publications including the American Craft Council, Groove Korea and Huffington Post. Lang’s work has been shown at venues such as the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan, WI), Frost Museum (Miami, FL), Collective Design Fair (New York City, NY), Galerie Marzee (Nijmegen, The Netherlands) and a solo exhibition at Sienna Patti Gallery (Lenox, MA).
Click here to read the full list of Shifting Landscapes artists, and make sure to RSVPfor the opening reception on Facebook. Shifting Landscapes debuts on Friday, February 24 from 5-7 pm, and runs through May 20.
Can you embroider a border, knit a bridge, or spin a sanctuary from silk? The Surface Design Association challenged artists from across the world to explore the concept of “place” using a wide array of fibrous materials. form & concept will debut the organization’s third international juried exhibition, Shifting Landscapes, on Friday, February 24 from 5-7 pm.
Our director Frank Rose is a Shifting Landscapes juror, along with Arizona artist Erika Lynne Hanson. As Frank reviewed hundreds of submissions, he embarked on visual journeys through landscapes that are representational and abstract, literal and metaphorical. The final array of artworks unites a vast web of fiber (and fiber-inspired) artists from around the world, and proves that even in a time of stark geopolitical divisions, a single thread can tell a story of unity.
The Surface Design Association produces its own quarterly journal, and they recently recounted form & concept’s history on their blog. Here’s an excerpt:
form & concept is an art gallery founded to expand and explore the boundaries of perceived distinctions between art, craft, and design. Their programming acts as a conversation between these three, supporting contemporary creative practice through exhibitions of regional and international artists. Here are three recent exhibitions that highlight the breadth of concepts, styles, and materiality that form & concept showcases…
Click here to read more, and make sure to join us at the opening reception for Shifting Landscapes on Friday, February 24. On Saturday, February 25 at 2:00 pm, we’ll hold a gallery talk featuring Surface Design Association Executive Director Danielle Kelly, along with Shifting Landscapes artists and jurors. A solo exhibition by fiber artist Mark Newport, Mending, opens on the same day.
This February, Mark Newport will return to form & concept for a solo exhibition that cuts to the heart of the Michigan textile artist’s practice. His new body of work, Mending, features torn muslin cloths with meticulously embroidered patches, a symbol of the scars that life etches on the body and psyche. Mark will be in Santa Fe for the Mendingopening reception on Friday, February 24 from 5-7 pm, and will speak at our gallery talk the following day.
The artwork in Mending stands in stark contrast to the artist’s first exhibition at form & concept. In ourReFashion group show, Mark presented hand-knit superhero suits. We spoke with the artist by phone about the new series, and how it evolved from his earlier work.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Mending.
I’m exploring the idea of repair and scarring, to make a connection between textile and the body in that way. I’ve been researching and using traditional textile mending techniques that I examined on trips to New York, Boston, London and Amsterdam.
What’s the history of these techniques?
I first learned about mending samplers when I was in college. People, mostly women, were taught these things to learn a trade, so that they could take care of themselves. Frugality and economy were part of the culture then, which we don’t have as much now. I’m using the same process to repair tears in off-white cloth, and examining the relationship between stitches on a cloth and stitches on a body.
How did you make that connection?
I’m interested in this idea of reconstructing something better than it was. Maybe there’s a lie in the textile; it’s not what it originally was. If you have a stain on your favorite shirt, or you patch up your favorite jeans, they’re not the same anymore. But maybe they’re even better now because they lived through that.
It’s the same thing with the body. When it’s scarred, it might not be such a negative thing.
Do you have a lot of scars?
I was a very accident-prone child. I have some scars. I have always thought of scars as this record of where you’ve been. ‘That was the time I fell on my bike, or that’s when I had appendix surgery.’
The work in Mending is very different from the superhero suits you exhibited in our ReFashion show. How did that transition happen?
It took a while for me to get to this point. I had worked on the costumes and other pop culture-related work since around 1995. When I had been working on the costumes for 8 or 9 years, I got to the point where I had explored that line of thinking and that way of working to its fullest. I gave myself time to think about new ways of working, and wrestled with that for a couple of years.
Underneath the pop culture trappings of the earlier work, the body was always part of it. The costume suggests the body, masculinity, armor. With Mending, it’s more about vulnerability and exposing flaws. I’m flipping that coin on its head.
Has this project lead you to confront your own vulnerability?
I’m at a time when I’m a little bit older, so my body isn’t as certain as it used to be. As I age, I think about how things have changed and what that means.
I love being an artist, because you have this ability to explore things in a way that you don’t always have the opportunity to do. The work slows me down, and gives me a chance to think.