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Weekend Escape | Hotel Tivoli + Artifacts

Posted on: Friday, November 21, 2014

Lost in Fiber artifacts on the road in the Hudson Valley of New York State

Even though I have been back from Bulgaria for close to three months, I have not been able to set aside time to visit the Hudson Valley and the landscape that is such a part of my rural childhood and creative vision.

Upstairs nook bathed in Hudson Valley light at the Hotel Tivoli

Last weekend I was finally able to set off on a thirty-six hour retreat to stay at the Hotel Tivoli in Dutchess County, New York, while also exploring the local offerings of nearby Hudson.

A multi-hued organic breakfast spread at the Hotel Tivoli

It is so interesting to me how the quality of a region's light (and hues) say so much about a place and the memories that we have stored away as mini-films that we might replay when home again or in the zone. This small selection of photos is a preview of a special Lost in Fiber photoshoot that I did while upstate. 

There will be more of these site-specific, artifact/textile focused narratives as 2015 unfolds. For now, I am relieved to know that some things never change – even with the unsettling news stories that we are confronted with each day.

All photos by Abigail Doan

Ones To Watch | Exhibitions + Material Dialogues

Posted on: Thursday, November 06, 2014

'aspacetositwith' by Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda
(a slow textiles meditation installation featuring hand-stitched black beans)
on view with the Textile Arts Center's Artist in Residence | Cycle 5 (TAC | AIR5)
exhibition opening Thursday, November 6 at SHOW ROOM in Gowanus

Wabi Sabi textile artwork by TAC | AIR5 resident, Joey Korein at SHOW ROOM Gowanus

So many friends are doing and making amazing things currently that I can barely keep up. As an organizational tool or perhaps as a wish list for exhibitions that I hope to see in NYC, here is a small sampling of 'ones to watch' as they push the materials and methods dialogue forward in their own uniquely resourceful and thoughtful ways.

Brece Honeycutt's solo exhibition, 'underfoot' at Knox Gallery in Monterey, MA
(installation photo by Douglas Baz)

'Glitch Textiles' by Phillip Stearns
at Weaving Hand | 47 Hall Street in Brooklyn
(photo by Abigail Doan)

Marcella Echavarria artist | maker | instrumental contributor to 'New Territories' at MAD

Marcella will inspire you beyond belief with this video.

(All images courtesy of the artists and/or noted photographers)

Weekend Escape | Pure Thread Pop Up

Posted on: Friday, October 24, 2014

I honestly cannot believe that the last weekend of October has arrived. Autumn is my absolute favorite season, and I always want to hold on to its goodness and poignant nature for as long as possible. It is a time for being nostalgic and also for considering new options for layering and highlighting beautiful textiles and fiber-based pieces during the months to come.

This upcoming weekend (as the first in our new 'Weekend Escape' postings), I am excited to share that Jill Heller's Pure Thread Pop Up will be open to the ethical fashion and design community at the Bedford Historical Society in Bedford, New York. Everyone is invited, of course, and it will no doubt be an exquisite way to spend a weekend out of the city in order to soak up the beauty of Bedford's historic settlement as well as a stunningly hand-picked line up of ethical fashion designer collections, a selection of home design goods, as well as organic beauty offerings.

Quite often there is an un-natural division between designer stories, the retail experience, and also the myriad details involved in the creation of luxuriously handcrafted items. I think that Jill Heller was wise to locate this event in a setting that speaks to both the beauty and desire we have to simply just be with certain products in order to follow the 'pure threads' that lead us to intuitive and often wise(r) lifestyle choices.

Suzanne Rae, a featured designer at Pure Thread

The Pure Thread Pop-Up is open through this Sunday, 26 October. A full list of designer offerings, updates, as well as location information is featured here. Being a part of a true gathering is certainly a great way to be a part of something both experiential, as fashion these days is so much more than just a pile of fallen leaves to pick through in order to find one worth preserving.

The Material Realm for Spring | Summer 2015

Posted on: Monday, October 20, 2014

Detail of Titania Inglis ceramic petal collaboration with Studio Joo
All handmade elements made in Brooklyn. Photo by Elaine Tian of Studio Joo.

Even though I adopted a 'slow approach' to fashion week events this past September, I was definitely enthusiastically taking note of textile innovation as well as design collaborations that honored handwork, material resourcefulness, and even historic crafting techniques.

My recent article for HAND/EYE Magazine explores just a few of these ideas in the article, The Material Realm for Spring | Summer 2015. Many of my favorite artists, designers, and studio innovators have come together for these featured designs.

Shibori-died jacket as a collaboration between designer Alice Waese 
and in-house dyer and creative assistant, Cara Marie Piazza

Signature handwork – particularly the strategic partnering of visionary artists and designers was, for me, one of the most striking indicators that contemporary fashion can continue inspire us to journey deeper and farther afield when new ideas are reinforced by the experience of artisan hands and traditions that demonstrate the value of staying the course, both aesthetically and technically. The intrigue of handmade solutions and interwoven expressions continues to redefine the possibilities for ‘luxurious’ offerings that also ground us.

You can enjoy the entire article here. Images courtesy of the designers.

Lost in Fiber | Interview | Slow Creations

Posted on: Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Lost in Fiber work table with a 'slow creations print', dried vegetation from Bulgaria,
knotted wool from my own stash, and detail of a macramé net bag
from Ranran design in Spain | photo by Abigail Doan

This is the first of several autumn installments in an ongoing series of interviews with Lost in Fiber materials contributors. I am so excited to share the work of Petra of slow creations in Sweden, who I first met during a Stockholm meet up in June of 2013. We had been virtual friends for some time, but it was tremendously valuable to finally connect in person to share ideas about the nature of textiles, slow fashion methodology, and the curation of objects and personal artifacts. 

Here is my early October interview with Petra, whose exquisite images explore the blurred intersections of textured palettes, memories of place, the organic realm, and what might creatively sustain us.

AD: Might you share five objects or artifacts that you currently have in your studio or home – particularly as forms that you feel resonate with your studio work and current investigations?

SCFor the moment I do not have a separate studio per se, but I do have an overloaded table in my apartment kitchen with my textile stuff like my sewing machine and materials for natural dyeing. Because I tend to squeeze in creative work every now and then, it is easiest not to have to go away to a studio. I like the idea of trying to find something new in everyday life or things that are not considered to be especially beautiful (like electric cabinets with graffiti). So this (inspiration) might not be typical artifacts, but more like phenomena.

I observe my son´s creative process on a daily basis as he draws constantly. This personal act is as important as eating is for him (or more so, as he told me yesterday). I recognize in myself that inner urge.

I am also a stone collector, and although I seldom actually look at them, the very act of collecting them and having them is pure bliss for me. It makes me feel very connected to my roots, too, as most of them were found at the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, where my mother was born. I also think rather much about time and vanity. The fossilized stones are a perfect symbol of that.

I also love books ... especially those about textiles, fashion, and art ... the presence of books makes me feel quite comfortable. If I had to choose one, I would say Taschen's monumental volume about the collections of the Kyoto Costume Institute (a gift from Petra's husband, pictured above).

My tools are, of course, important too, i.e. the glass containers that I use for solar dyeing and the rusty objects (tin cans, nails, etc.) that always add ‘nerve’ to the natural dyeing.

This is very ephemeral, but I love to see the light and shadows playing at home and the wonderful view from the apartment (to the street and to the church outside, with big trees growing and changing in the seasons).

Summer to Autumn | Groundcover

Posted on: Thursday, September 25, 2014

Groundcover installation in progress | New Mexico | 2007 | photo by Abigail Doan

The transition from summer to autumn is always, for me, an opportunity to take stock in what has been shining brightly in my life but what also might need to gently fade away. I am typically far better at also updating my blog with news and imagery that inspires me, but these past few weeks have been more about making myself available for others as they go through seasonal adjustments and major life changes.

This does not mean that I have not been working hard behind the scenes or trying to be honest about what matters in my own life or the lives of people and projects I care about. I am currently trying to let go of the feeling that I just do not do enough, get back to people in a timely manner, or accomplish all that I envision happening.

As my community increasingly expands, my goals of remaining 'genuine' and also creating work that reflects the maturity and clarity that I feel as both an artist and analytical thinker, is a challenge to balance.

I guess that I just needed to openly state all of this, as my biggest fear is that I might let vital and perhaps under-recognized opportunities or quieter moments slip away. A new season is often quite poignant: there is the assessment of varied 'groundcover' underfoot and the identification of new threads that emerge amidst the daily routine. There is also a natural shedding that occurs and the possibility of seeing things in a new light. This might be the ultimate (creative) fuel source for the darker days ahead – both the unraveling as well as the protective inclination one feels towards what remains, what prevails, and what is precipitously dwindling.

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