Creativity has rarely felt so important than during the pandemic. From crochet to quilting, textile art can provide solace during these turbulent times. Having so much time at home has given many of us the impetus to finally start a project and provided others with a reason to finish those abandoned pieces at the back of a drawer.
Reconnecting with your own project gives even more resonance to the art of established textile artists. Their techniques, interpretation of important subject matter and immaculate presentation never ceases to amaze me.
Back in April I started the series ‘100 days of amazing textile art,’ on Instagram and Facebook and as it progressed I discovered more and more artists. As always the sheer variety of art using textiles as a medium is incredible. Here is the work of a few artists to help inspire you in your own practice.
French textile artist Edith Meusnier creates stunning installations using the ancient technique of Sprang. Sprang creates fabric with an appearance similar to netting which has incredible elasticity. Check out the process on YouTube, there are some really good tutorials showing you how to do it.
People have been embroidering for centuries which often give is a timeless quality. This is conveyed by Dutch artist Renee Toonen. The juxtaposition of the oil paint with the blended silk cross stitch is just exquisite and adds to he poignancy of the image ‘Ode to the Nurse.’
Some artists create portraits that are so life like you have to look twice to check that they aren’t photographs. Austrian artist Janine Heschl does this every time with her animal portraits – many of which are depictions of endangered animals. It’s just mind blowing that they are all created with machine embroidery! This is ‘The Peaceful’.
Another textile artist who creates realistic creations that demand a second look is American fibre artist Amy Gross. Using fabric, threads, beads, wire and glass she creates beautiful organic sculptures based on ‘the beauty of the natural world.’
Coral worlds are brought to the surface with Indonesian artist Mulyana. Jewel like colours rich in texture are recreated through stitch, knit and crochet. He also highlights the effect of climate change in many of his installations.
Some artists are so creative with their techniques it’s hard to even fathom how stitching can look so different from what you expect. Serbian textile artist Brankica Zilovic, now based in Paris, is one such artist. Different stitches, trailing threads and organic shapes in a myriad of colours combine to create unique compositions rich in texture and pattern.
As well as being in awe of theses fabulous artists, one thing I did learn over my marathon of 100 days of posting is how accessible some artists are. Many of them are happy to be contacted on social media and while huge installations are both out of place and financial reach for most of us, artists are very open to selling their smaller work directly. If you want to help support artists during these difficult times they are only an email away.
Helen Adams founded www.textilecurator.com to help ‘wake up the world to contemporary textile art.’ She posts every Monday for an inspirational start to your week. She is also a freelance stylist and journalist and is currently living in Malaysia.