Esse McChesney - ät upp

Esse McChesney – Weaving An Identity

Esse McChesney is a textile artist based in Gothenburg.

Esse McChesney - Mastektomi
Esse McChesney – Mastektomi / Photographed by David Eng

In their work, they explore gender and sexuality in between the physical and digital, from the perspective of a queer non-binary trans person. They view their work from the perspective that what they create is not unique because of their individuality, but is more showing of the time we are living in and an example of being.  The work is a footprint of queer love, fear, everyday life, self-love and self-acceptance. Queer experiences that can lay a piece of the puzzle that shows the experience of the human being.

Esse McChesney - Skapande Queer 2.0 - Photo Credit: David Eng
Esse McChesney – Skapande Queer 2.0 – / Photographed by David Eng

How did your technique evolve?

I started out like many others by sketching and drawing mostly during my teenage years, but during my second year in art school, I started to realise that I’d always had an interest in textiles. I liked how the materials felt in my hands and the process of repetition in embroidery.

After that, I started my BA in Textile Art, and there I discovered the joy of picture weaving. I could see the structure of the stitches in the embroidery but without the fabric underneath, which was really inspiring to me.

Esse McChesney - Babe
Esse McChesney – Babe / Photographed by David Eng

It became my favourite and I love to explore the possibilities of the warp in different colours and putting in different materials to create different structures in the picture that I’m weaving. But in my latest projects, I’ve gone back to embroidery and trying to get more out of the stitches by being inspired by the backside. On the backside the stitches feel more spontaneous, and I like to try to get that in my pictures.

Where do you think your creativity is taking you?

To connection and to a meaningful life.

Esse McChesney - Mastektomi
Esse McChesney – Mastektomi / Photographed by David Eng

What other artists inspire you?

I get inspired by different mediums, some examples of painters and illustrators I adore are Sarah Slappey, Janiva Ellis, and Eleanor Davis.

Some textile artists I love are Peter Frederiksen, Diedrick Brackens, Erin Riley, and Mustafa Boga.

Esse McChesney - Hejdå
Esse McChesney – Hejdå / Photographed by David Eng

What is your favourite tool to use in your practice?

Thimble, I got really tired of stabbing myself with the needle all the time, and it works great!

Can you share one creative tip with our readers?

Using thread gloss makes the thread knot much less! I didn’t know that until recently, and it works great, although it can make the colours have less of a shine.

Esse McChesney - ät upp
Esse McChesney – ät upp / Photographed by David Eng

It’s always exciting to see an artist who is exploring their identity and place within the world via their work. Esse’s work is a great example of this and there is a real dynamism to their process of understanding.

Esse McChesney - flower boi
Esse McChesney – flower boi / Photographed by David Eng

Much like Paul Yore‘s work, the themes of personal progression and the tension with the surrounding social discourse become apparent. But it feels as though now, more than ever, there is a freedom to express and not be shy about the chaos that comes with the process.

Staying true to yourself and defying social constructs takes courage and will always be a challenging process and Esse’s work provides another medium for discourse. When words aren’t enough, textiles provide a different method of communication.

Esse McChesney - Himmel på himmel
Esse McChesney – Himmel på himmel / Photographed by David Eng

Esse McChesney is starting their conversation and I hope that others can join in.

You can find Esse’s work at their Instagram and pick up copies of their work in poster format via StatusQueer.

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