Jay Mohler creates intricate, textile designs, weaving different colored yarns to create brilliant Mandalas. His geometric patterns create Ojos de Dios, Spanish for eyes of God, that are either eight sided of twelve sides, spanning up to over a foot. Mohler began hand-making his Ojos de Dios over 40 years ago, after he traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico in 1965. At a marketplace there is where he first saw these fantastic, small-scale weavings. He was extremely impressed by the complex patterns and how often they would be created from a single strand of yarn, crossing and looping over the wooden sticks that hold it all together. The beautiful Ojos de Dios can be found in many cultures, traditionally in Native American and Mexican as well as Tibetan, where they can hold spiritual elements. They are also a symbol of a physical eye, as the designs of the weavings revolve around the center “eye.”
Based out of North Caroline, Jay Mohler uses wool yarn in all types of colors, including metallics, to carefully weave his vibrant creations. You can buy an Ojos de Dios for your own on his Etsy page, where you can also order custom made patterns and even buy a DIY kit to make your own. Make sure to check out more of his weavings to see the scale and size of his many creations. (via The Jealous Curator)
Australian artist Meredith Woolnough uses embroidery to create her delicate and intricate depictions of different plants. With some thread and a sewing machine, she forms different complex patterns found in nature, such as the veins of a leaf, patterns found in coral, and even lines and shapes found in red cabbage. Each fragile piece displays the small beauty found in the fine details of nature. What would be small, fragile beauty that the average person may overlook, Woolnough finds inspiration. Patterns from shells, petals, and lily pads are given new life in each breathtaking piece. The artist treats her artwork like specimens, as she carefully pins them under glass in shadow boxes for display.
Using vibrant colored thread, she builds up a density of embroidered patterns that become almost three-dimensional. In some cases, like in her embroidered bowls, the work really does have volume as it holds the shape of a bowl. Because of the method in which the artist creates her work, it demands an intense patience that can be seen as meditative. The repetitive patterns and natural quality of Woolnough’s work is like that of a Mandala, holding sacred qualities.
The work maps the frameworks of the various veining systems found in nature to create work that explores the balance, harmony and connectivity of life on Earth. Inspired by the patterns, structures and shapes found in plants, coral, cells and shells Meredith’s embroideries represent both the robust beauty and elegant fragility of life.
Sparkling sequence and plush yarn are just some of the mixture of materials that artist Rachel Denny uses in her work to cover bodies, or sometimes just heads, of animals. This Portland based artist’s work lives in a world somewhere between taxidermy and your grandmother’s craft room. Her unique take on animal trophy heads uses cashmere knitting and twine to transform what looks like the shape of the head of a dead animal. Denny’s artwork includes a diverse variety of woodland fauna, including deer, horses, goats, lambs, and even bears. Sometimes her colorful, eclectic materials, including satin, matchsticks, and pennies cover an entire body of a creature, other times it is just the head unattached to its body.
The creative and interesting use of materials used transforms the animals into something different, something very inviting and attractive, but also unnatural. The seductive sparkles of the black sequence Denny uses pulls you in closer, all the while there is a “bear” underneath. There is a theme of masking over organic beauty with our own human inventions that is apparent in the artists work. Humans often take a natural object or creature that is already beautiful, and try to improve on it. We alter it so that it fits our own needs, or that we may see it as looking even better. Although Denny’s work is incredibly bright and fun with her pastel yarn and sparkling materials, there is a dark hint of the hand that humans have on the natural environment. (via The Jealous Curator)
In a digital age, some say traditional methods are dead. However, there has been an upsurge in popularity of using old-school techniques to create new things. Fashion designer Greg Climer combines two such mediums, knitting and film, to do just that. He has transformed knitting into a way of displays film stills. By using technology to transfer frames of a film onto knit fabric, he creates a knit scarf that is used the same as a film reel that you can actually watch as a short film. What is so amazing about this project is that Climer is taking film, shifting its properties to knit fabric, and then converting it into film once more. He is ingeniously using modern technology to manipulate different, traditional mediums to create an entirely unique and contemporary finished piece.
How this process works is each frame is reduced in size so that the amount of pixels matches with the amount of stitches. Then, the colors included in the film are decreased to four, since looms can only use up to four yarn colors. Then, the scarf is ready to be knitted! This method is very time consuming, as his test strip took a year and a half to make. However, after watching just a fragment of the resulted film, the outcome is undoubtedly worth it. Greg Climer’s ambitions do not stop at his unbelievably intricate knitted short film project, but extend to creating quilts from scraps of fabric. These quilts range in a wide variety of interesting subjects; one series depicting loved ones of Climer, and another displaying stills of pornography. (via Fastco Design)
The work of Los Angeles based artist Nike Schroeder is full of a complex hybrid of mediums, as she integrates textiles, painting, and installation into her art. Her installations are creates from fiber where the colors of the threads have a very intentional meaning, as they draw their palette from the hues of the horizon at dawn. In one installation, the thread cascades to the floor, dripping off the canvas. Schroeder includes this same aesthetic in many of her other works, including her embroidery. The artist creates portraits out of needle and thread, with certain colors of thread hanging loose so to draw your eye to certain areas. Often, these bright colors and hanging thread come from the subject’s eyes or lips. Other times, this thread is not hanging loose, but cutting across to the other side of the canvas, dissecting the composition with multi-colored fibers. The harsh line Schroeder imposes onto her portraits guides your eye to specific elements.
As if Schroeder’s fiber-based installations and intricate embroideries were not impressive enough, many of her textile pieces are extremely large. Her nude portraits of women, which examine the beauty ideals of the female body, are actually life-size! These, again, contain long, hanging thread pouring down from certain elements, jolting our eyes to an “unlikely” part of the women; their pubic hair. This series among others in Schroeder’s expansive body of work include not only thread but paint as well. The artist often applies paint like she does fiber, with flowing drips. Schroeder’s work can be seen on view at Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles from May 30th through July 11th.
Combining fiber art, sculpture, and fashion, artist Hsiao-Chi Tsai creates beautifully designed wearable art using a variety of different textiles. He uses brightly colored fabric to construct intricate pieces that can be worn on your head and around your neck. The materials used are cut into floral-like shapes that flow organically around the person who is wearing it. A designer by nature, the artist bases these creations off his own illustrations. Because Tsai constructs his designs with such soft material, they appear comfortable despite their non-functional shape and placement. Each piece is creatively designed, utilizing asymmetrical forms and a unique color palette. Although this series, titled Wonderland, is not likely to go with anything in your closet, wearing one of Tsai’s pieces would definitely be a statement!
Creating sculptural, wearable art, this textile designer also forms brilliant installations using the same technique and style as his fashionable art pieces. Using the same textile material, Tsai builds large installations that loops, swirls, and hangs; completely transforming the spaces they are in. These pieces are much like his wearable art, using some of the same elements and cut-out fabric. Each installation is an explosion in its space, with endless gushing patterns. The surge of color in Tsai’s installations can turn any sterile space into a wonderland of cascading fabric flora. Both his wearable textile art series and his installations are uniquely sculptural and are created cleverly with an unlikely material.
London-based artist Jessica Dance specializes in creating handcrafted models, props, and sets that have a wide-range of commercial appeal clients include Vogue, Vanity Fair, Google, and more). Her work features a lot of conventional, everyday objects reimagined in a delightful, unconventional way. Dance knits food, toothbrushes, and even calculators on her domestic knitting machine, and it’s a playful twist on the real thing.
The knitted pieces are made from wool, and they look like something you’d want to snuggle up with. It’s an odd feeling to want to hug a giant turkey, but that’s the power of fiber arts (or any art, really). We attach associations to materials and sometimes nostalgia prompts us to touch, pet, or squeeze brussel sprouts and meatballs.
Fiber Arts have a longstanding history rooted in craft and tradition. Woven objects have tended to be functional or decorative, and often viewed more as the works of artisans, as opposed to artists. In the twentieth century this has begun to shift more, and in the 21st century the practice of weaving and knitting has been reclaimed and turned on its head by a number of artists that are forward thinking and highly skilled in their “craft.” Artists included here are: Olga de Amaral, Erin Riley, Olek, Ann Tilley and Andrea Sherrill Evans. It is important to note that historically weaving has been viewed as women’s work. All of the artists included in this post are women, yet appear to have adopted the practice of weaving and redefined it on their own terms, while becoming masters in the process.
Olek‘s work is an absolutely fantastical explosion of bright-textural fun. Often taking her work outside the white walls of galleries and into the streets, Olek has taken fibers to a place most thought impossible. Some of the works she has made recently include huge feats such as completely encasing the Wall Street Bull in neon crocheted and knitted camouflage pattern and re-adorning a whole locomotive in rainbow patterned softness- completely handwoven. Her work tends to encase and cover objects and people- creating whole installations, performance art costumes and beautiful sculptural objects in a sort of renegade demonstration of liberated punk-rock-quirk.