Something I hear a lot is “oh my, that would be a beautiful (skirt, jacket, wrap, scarf)” about the pieces I make. And while I’m glad that people find the work pleasing and pretty, I do want to take a moment to discuss why I choose to make painted, stamped and embroidered pieces for the wall as opposed to the body.
First up, I love fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I literally love jackets and boots and have am one of the few people I know who really loves to go shopping and window shopping, just to see what the new designs are. But, I’m not a fashion designer. I also really love ice cream but I’m not going to try and make it. My whole creative life I have been a process-oriented person. Learning the love the details about finishing, hanging and presentation has been and is going to continue to be a life-long process for me. Fashion is all about the details. It’s all about the perfectly finished edge and the seamless pleat. I can do it, but I don’t derive a lot of joy from it, if I’m honest. Could I hire a seamstress? Partner with a tailor? Yes, absolutely. And I would LOVE to do that–I would love to forge a partnership with people who love to sew as much as I love to design fabrics and silks but I’m not going to force something that isn’t there.
Secondly, I think fiber has been too long of the world of “functional”. Something about the movement, feeling and vibrancy a silk wall-hanging or tapestry has just makes me excited to be around it. There’s something a little bit unruly but also really beautiful about a piece of fabric hung on a wall that flutters when you walk by. They also make really great additions to homes and walls that don’t have studs or lots of “good” hanging places because they don’t weigh anything. Silk wall hangings add an airy, light feel to any space they occupy and I think it’s lovely. I think other people will think it’s lovely too, they just have to be willing to give it a try.
Lastly (ok, not really but for now), I know that personally, we need something different in the art world. Our walls have been holding up heavy, glass covered paintings and portraits that you aren’t allowed to touch for a very long time and I believe it’s time for a bit of a revolution.
I read a beautiful article the other day that had a quote in it that said “art is just passion materialized…” and it really resonated with me. I am passionate about silks, color and texture. I’m also passionate about making the work that I feel compelled to make while still honoring and respecting the audience that I have and the audience I want to cultivate and grow. I want to reach people and move them but I also want to make art that feels right for me. Fiber is a medium that I can manipulate, pierce, sew and stitch on. I can attack it with restless abandon but I can very rarely go back–and that’s an awesome thing because it requires you to be creative but also to self-edit as you make your decisions.
Silk is a beautiful material that is capable of being a lot of things–it can be a wall hanging, a scarf, a blanket, a rescue material…you name it, it’s done it. I choose to play with the qualities of silk that make it unique to the world of wall art–the fact that it moves, reflects the care you give it and has certain characteristics that make it perfect for hanging and displaying. I love and respect fashion designers but for me, I want the material and the process behind the material, to take center stage.