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.
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.
I don’t particularly consider myself an artist and certainly not a painter. But last week, I had the opportunity to be both when photographer & fashion designer Kandace Wilson invited me to participate as a collaborator in her ongoing horse painting project. Kandace grew up at the track, always around horses -the underlying inspiration behind building this body of work. The end products are a portfolio of stellar images of the painted horse, textiles created from the painted imagery, and fashion designs using those textiles. There were a host of constraints and challenges in the process that make the experience one-of-a-kind: time is your biggest challenge as you’re working with a large furry animal that gets bored quickly and requires both entertainment and breaks; the fur, in both color and texture provides a challenging canvas to work on; working on location requires a certain degree of spontaneity and creativity… but beyond the challenges came some sweet and unexpected rewards both in the finished product that begins to take on a living, breathing life of its own, and in the experience of working with this majestic animal. Kandace continues to search for, and looks forward to connecting with willing participants, artists (and horses) of any variety who would be interested in future horse-painting collaborations.