Textiles have existed as an art form for a LOOOONG time. Think of tapestries in castles and intricate embroidery on frocks from hundreds of years ago.
Contemporary textiles push boundaries, challenge assumptions and intrigue viewers, and while there are many, many brilliant textile artists, I believe these are three you need to know about.
Working with tulle, Shine bunches and then irons layers and layers of fabric to create ethereal faces and forms. He’s collaborated with some of the world’s leading fashion brands, including Givenchy, Bergdorf Goodman and Beyonce.
“Created in collaboration with John Galliano for Maison Margiela, black tulle lining from inside the white trench coat escapes from the back seam, flowing around the body to reveal an intricately formed face.” – benjaminshine.com/project-03/
He sculpts with fabric, in a painstaking process that is only made possible because of the intrinsic nature of the tulle he uses.
Scott’s work was instinctive – she wrapped almost every object she could get her hands on with a huge variety of threads, creating the pieces that became her voice.
Her work can appear somewhat haphazard at first glance, but when you look closer you start to see patterns and colour themes emerging. She was wildly creative and uninhibited by the original use of the objects she wrapped, completely transforming simple materials into complex and otherworldly creations.
Oh, and she was profoundly disabled.
She was born in the 1940’s with Down Syndrome and became deaf after a childhood illness, although her deafness remained undiagnosed until many years later. When she was 7 she was placed in an institution, and she remained there until her twin Joyce managed to obtain legal guardianship 35 years later.
Joyce enrolled Judith in a creative arts program, where she was encouraged to explore her talent and discovered her passion for thread.
If you haven’t seen Anatusi’s works then you’re missing out.
He’s best known for his shimmering textile-like ‘woven’ works, constructed from thousands of discarded bottle caps and wire.
These large-scale pieces are ‘hung’ from gallery walls and they have a fabric-like drape, even though they are constructed from what are normally considered hard and inflexible objects.
He himself says that his work defies categorisation, and an intrinsic part of his practice is that his works take on new forms, every time they are hung. He has even covered buildings with them.