fiber art • overview
My work with recycled textiles emerged amidst my concerns for the health of my community, both locally and globally. We’re facing a violently divisive political climate and a looming environmental catastrophe.
Fast fashion -- the compulsion to constantly update the way we present ourselves to the world -- has contributed to enormous levels of pollution, second only to oil. The materials I use are primarily recycled textiles from the Boston area donated by my community. overconsumption is everywhere, and its consequences are overwhelming. The newest thing is passé in a heartbeat; the pursuit of an impossible goal leaves a trail of waste.
Repurposing old clothes is how I cope. They are imbued with both the history of their first use, and the possibilities for their future. Turning them into artwork is a way to heal the planet –it keeps something out of landfills, invites discourse about our role in climate change, and it’s a tangible symbol of hope.
Facing the reality of climate change can bring up so much terror and guilt that the people with the resources to create a solution are informed, but paralyzed. How do we awaken people to these urgent concerns without losing them to hopelessness? Fear shuts us down and drives us away. I aim to create an energizing reprieve from this darkness; a space that draws people in and asks them to be joyous creators instead of soulless consumers.
this installation consists of textile sculptures and 2D mixed media works that visually and thematically interact with each other. freestanding sculptures (totems) populate a space along with digital prints and wall hangings that echo the shapes and colors of the sculptures. The art connects into a cohesive environment via a site-specific arrangement of ‘3D drawings’; crocheted, linear pieces that hang from the ceilings, walls, and pillars (Drawing in Air).
The textiles I use in my sculptures and wall hangings are primarily recycled, gleaned from my community. The sheer volume of material I have access to is harrowing; the clothing industry is a major contributor to physical pollution, and fast fashion is compelling proof of how this insidiously toxic mindset begets overt destruction. The work builds awareness by forcing us to consider what happens after we buy things we don’t need, but it doesn’t punish or shame the audience. Instead, it embodies a solution; the pieces are whimsical characters who reclaim and transform trash. Each one alone is expressive and inviting; all together, they make an immersive and evocative world with more room for hope than despair.
This exhibition is a way for art to stimulate problem solving in the community. If you’re given permission to laugh when the world is falling apart, you have that much more mental energy to change your own habits. If you have this experience in a public space, like an art gallery, you have the opportunity to connect with people about creative solutions and collective action.