Jess de Wahls Uses Recycled Fabric In Colorful Portraits Of Inspirational Women

Chimamanda Ngozy Adichi

Chimamanda Ngozy Adichi

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (detail)

Dr. Ronx

Dr. Ronx

Jess de Wahls is a London-based artist whose colorful multilayered and multifaceted textile works incorporate feminism, gender equality as well as recycling. Using a variety of fabrics, beads, and other materials, she creates 3D portraits that depict strong, inspirational women of all ages, shapes, and ethnicities. She sees her pieces as a way to raise awareness of gender inequality, explaining to TextileArtist.org, “…all the while celebrating great minds and artists of the past and present.

In her artist statement, de Wahls also goes on to say:

Their influence on myself as a modern woman, Feminist and Artist, on Feminism as a whole and on their position as Role models to young girls growing up in a society that has, no doubt, come a long way in liberating its women but has yet a great length ahead of it. Not to mention the work that needs to be done in other parts of our planet, where women are to date still oppressed, belittled and generally treated as second class humans.

So, by creating these pieces, she ensures that their legacy isn’t forgotten.

De Wahls unique style is the product of a self-made called Retex which is short for recycled textile sculpture. She explains:

For the medium of Retex Sculpting, old garments serve as fabric for the works and cushion filler  helps me to create a relief that raises the silhouette off the canvas creating greater depth.
The box-frame, in which the work is mounted, is integral to the piece and can be seen as a modern day relic box. (Via TextileArtist.org)

Dr. Ronx

Dr. Ronx (detail)

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Queen B

Queen B

'Channeling the Great'

‘Channeling the Great’

'Channeling the Great'

‘Channeling the Great’ (detail)

'Channeling the Great'

‘Channeling the Great’ (detail)

Gia Milinovich

Gia Milinovich (detail)

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