Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wen Redmond

 Trees Seen Forest Remembered

     “Making art always puts me into a certain space, a meditation. I call this ‘being in the flow’. It allows thoughts and feelings to bubble up from the unconscious. I can put that energy into my art. Later, viewing the piece, I can revisit that feeling. It’s like reading a poem, or hearing a familiar story. It brings you back. It gives pleasure. That’s my hope for anyone viewing my pieces”....
                                                             Wen Redmond


     New England resident Wen Redmond is a mixed media fiber artist who enjoys pushing boundaries to see "what if?". Redmond has worked in the fiber field since 1973, when she made her first intuitive textile construction. She graduated from Mansfield State, PA in 1972. Wen Redmond is a member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen since 1993. She is also a member of Professional Studio Art Quilt Association and their NH rep, Surface Design Association, Professional Fine Art Network, Women’s Caucus of Art, New Hampshire Art Association and Seacoast Fiber Artist Association. Her work can be seen nationwide, in galleries, juried, solo, and invitational shows as well as in numerous publications.

    Being                               Moving on 2


     Through the years Redmond built a steady reputation as an inovative textile artist. Stretching beyond that description, she’s making a mark with a new mix of medium, and a distinct look, using fabric, photos on cloth, stitching and found objects to create moody evocative works. Her multi-layered collages are assemblages of archival digital prints, combining painting and digital media into a one of a kind art piece. Multi-layered surface design creates Holographic Images. The work is layered with a duplicate photograph underneath so the viewer sees a 3-D effect. This is an innovative photography design technique that needs to be seen to be appreciated. Her fascination with photography is finding expression by printing directly onto various substrates, creating stitched textural constructions. Wen calls this work Digital Fiber. All the fabrics she uses, are created by her. She creates the entire structure of her one of a kind art pieces. Each work is unique and created individually.


     Wen Redmond's creative warren is an inspiration in itself. Along a bank of windows that overlook the rocky falls, a cluster of crystals line one windowsill, sea shells another. To make her dreamy scenes, Redmond drapes transparent fabric over photos of rocks and trees. "Making art is all about inner reality," she said. "You put into it what you have inside.
     Wen’s work is innovative and fresh, not in any one niche. Her work overlaps media and surface design. She designs one of a kind art pieces, developing transparent effects and layers begging closer inspection. Wen delights in creating dialogue, changing your perspectives and perceptions of fiber.  

Whispers of the Positive

     She is passionate about coming up with ideas and working out the kinks. This leads to more discoveries, an evolution. The artist in her can see the most exquisite scenes or combinations of patterns and wants to share that beauty. Her art represents these moments. They are what lie beneath. She brings them back to share, to remind, to remember. These moments become her source, her well. Wen Redmond hopes to bring that energy into her art making, to communicate the positive. Layers peeled back reveal the source, the inspiration, and her mad desire to capture thoughts, dreams and the beauty of nature. Each work is individual and a communication between Wen’s inner imagination and later, the viewer.

 Bird in Arms

     Redmond has worked with fabrics her entire life, graduating from college with an excellent working knowledge. She creates all of her unique textiles, with additional training from some of the country’s most innovative fiber artists. Wen continues to explore her chosen medium, fabric, to see what it can do, to stretch its perception as art medium.

 Navigating Awareness                       Within Without

     The one certain thing about Wen Redmond is that she is always inventing new ways of expressing her artistic intent. Wen describes her artwork on her website as an unusual use of fiber combining painting and digital media. Her innovation was rewarded this year by selection for Quilt National as well as being featured in several magazines. Her artwork is shown throughout the U.S. in galleries and special exhibits.  Wen shares her discoveries and techniques in workshops at her New Hampshire studio as well as at conferences and exhibitions.  You can visit Wen’s studio and see what inspires her on her website and her lively blog.

I Dreamt I Met a Man Who Was A Tree, He Showed Me All the Wonderful Lights He Could See

Shaking the Tree of Imagination                             Pause

Three Feathers

 Crossroads                            Cormorants Perch

 Poles to Trees

Perception of Trees


Wen  Redmond

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Maximo Laura

Maximo Laura

“My work is nourished by symbols, stories, traditions, rituals, experiences, and by permanently returning to admire the iconography of ancestral world cultures, especially Peruvian culture – which are extraordinary and fascinating.”
                                                Maximo Laura

Maximo Laura is a Peruvian weaver whose work is timeless. He uses modern weaving techniques to recall the Andean rituals that were expressed by his Pre-Columbian ancestors hundreds of years ago. He is a tapestry weaver, internationally recognized as one of South America’s pre-eminent textile artists and the pride of Peru - his country of birth. Maximo is a scholar of textile art and has travelled the world exploring and teaching in his field. Consultant, designer and lecturer in Art and Contemporary Andean textile design. His work is in collections worldwide and has been exhibited 71 solo and numerous group shows. In fact, in the national museum in Lima, there is a whole room devoted to his work. He has won awards in both national and international competitions including a UNESCO Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean (Spain, 1992), among others. He is co-founder of Iberoamerican Textile Network, member of ATA and ETN.

    Laura is a fifth-generation master weaver who inherited from his parents and grandparents – all master weavers from Ayacucho, Peru – the traditional style of ancient weaving called Cumbimayocs. He combines also Aubusson, Kilim, Soumak, and Anillado techniques; his thread is from Andean alpaca. But while he is ultimately respectful of the iconography and colours of the ancient Huari culture (which predates the Inca culture), it is his juxtaposition of those traditions with his own design elements and narrative that have earned him many international awards, distinctions and exhibits.

    Maximo has taken the tapestry weave to a different level. He is constantly enhancing his unique technique of raising the weft to create incredible depth to his tapestries. His work is the rich, singular development of the fascinating and millenarian textile historical source of the Andes in symbiosis with the innovations of the tapestry in the international field, defending its own space in the plastic arts. The historical sources contribute inexhaustible material that must be assimilated, the search of language own and present is the ample challenge to be surpassed. Of this collision between traditional and the contemporary, study of the tools, the application and the innovation of textile techniques he tries to multiply the resources of chromatic expression maintaining the iconographic language authentically Peruvian....

Maximo Laura is what we could call "the weaver of rupture," seeing beyond the selfsame conception of textiles. His tapestries become pieces of art the same as paintings. His codes will not repeat themselves; nor will they have geometric order. Instead, they will appeal to the dynamics of their own subjects. Just like a painting. Finally, his own fingers become his brushes, threads and cords his palette of colours and his loom his comfortable easel. Colour undoubtedly prevails in his finished pieces. Each fibre will have a rigorous chromatic value. The dyes, their gamut of colours, have a special history, a scientific work reevaluating thousands of years.
 Weaver-painter through his creative style, he designs with innate skill both forms and colours, dominating codes that blend into a composition of fibres magically entwined by the incantation of his forms. The conjunction of pre-Columbian cultures becomes entwined, finally turning into a sort of opera omnia.

Maximo Laura’s respectful research of his ancestor's genuine colours, has found and revealed some of the secrets in their colours and fibres. But where he really stands out is in the use of design. Maximo has not stopped at the weaver's direct and personal action at the loom. For him, weaving is not the unfolding of direct action but breaking point in its conceptual order. His work is a fusion of traditional weaving technique of tapestry alongside a progressive woven sculpture technique; traditional tapestry and contemporary style with three-dimensional representations of Andean mythological themes drawn from Peru's rich history of pre-Columbian cultures such as the Incas and their modern day descendants. They are full of vision, ritual, and ancient myths. These pieces are an experience, a collision between the traditional and the contemporary. The iconographic language is authentically Peruvian. 

Laura has his own gods, his own ghosts and an unruly mob of ineffable warriors. Clarion calls, voices in the wind, fiery sunsets and horizons made of a thousand coloured fibres; shapes and colours in the warp that seem to obey their creator's strength; a true brushstroke on tapestry, breaking the crossbar's rule and discovering a magical conjunction. He has many stories to reveal. War cries, brave felines and birds and mountain songs live in his mind, in history books and in the myths and tales he inherited from his grandparents.

He combines geometric shapes with animals, people, musical instruments, and many other themes.  You can stand in front of his work and get lost in the layers.  Each piece seems to be a narrative of an ancient story, a landscape of imagery and dreams. You can never quite tell where one picture, scene, character or subject begins and another finishes; there are overlaps and conversations amongst all of the images in his tapestries.

Although tapestry weaving is an ancient technique, Máximo Laura has brought it into the 21st Century with his modern design ideas and use of colours. Laura fibre art designs may be contemporary or cultural or a combination of both. Today, Maximo Laura represents, in the eye of the specialist and the layman, the artist who has been able to entwine past and present. The social inheritance of many generations of Peruvians who, like him, did not stop at the penetration of other cultures; but, through their creativity, were instead able to enhance and deepen that inheritance whose telluric force will never be refrained.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inspired by Lanvin


     A few years back, while I was working on the Toronto production of the Lord of the Rings, the costume Designer Rob Howell brought for a reference a beautiful album of Couture by Lanvin, that took my heart.
     The gowns of course were incredibly beautiful and elegant but what got my attention in the first place were the amazing embellishments and the fine craftsmanship invested in their creation. 


     Since I can hardly ever resist such a temptation, I decided to try and somehow reproduce one of them. I choose part of the embroidery on a gorgeous velvet evening jacket designed in very oriental, Japanese style, tweaked it a little bit, just so it has a more completed look and ended up with the motif that you can see here. 

     It might be hard to believe, but the most challenging part of this project, was collecting the materials I needed for it. I found out that almost 100 years after the original was made, it was extremely difficult to find the wide range of good quality threads, sequins and other materials necessary to reproduce such quality.
     There are too many flashy, cheap looking and simply garish trinkets, filing all our craft stores nowadays, but hardly any that can compare with the quality of the fine notions of the past.

     Finally, with all that I needed in hand, I got to immerse myself in the work itself. Even though it was a very slow and finicky process, it was a real pleasure trying to achieve the same finesse that was invested in the original, but of course I’ll leave you to judge how well I succeeded with this goal. The only thing I’m sorry about is not having a better picture of the original that will do it better justice, but nevertheless I decided to post the only one I have, so you can at least have some idea of what inspired me to take on such a project in the first place.  


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bela Borsodi


            There is a lot of good still life work out there but I would have to say that the majority of it although technically brilliant lacks the personality and appeal that other forms of photography hold for me. That is except for the work of Austrian photographer / artist Bela Borsodi. He turns his lifeless objects into wonderful characters, creatures and sculptural forms combining a variety of medium and techniques.

            Bela Borsodi was born in Vienna and has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1990s. He studied fine art and graphic design with a great interest in psychology but often incorporated photography in his projects. When his friends started working at magazines and asked him to take photographs for them, Borsodi became more interested in photography. This led to an early career as a photographer where he shot portraits, reportage, and some fashion for editorials in Austria and Germany.

            Through combining aspects of fine art, graphic design, craft, and psychology, his work offers a surreal imagery that makes clothing and accessories 3-dimensional. Borsodi’s award-winning editorial and advertising photography is truly exploratory, combining unexpected still-life elements with fashion, styling and set design. Objects come to life in his playful fashion stories.

            Borsodi says of his work “I love making things and putting things in an unusual context incorporating various visual languages coming from art and graphic design. I wanted to further explore what one can do with objects; in which different ways I could look at them to discover their alternate perspectives and psychologies. Many objects are perceived in a way that is immanent and bound to their basic function or obvious status in our world. I wanted to question those perceptions and find different ways to explore objects themselves. So I started to play… doing things wrong on purpose, or putting things in weird contexts, adding more layers… trial and error by play. All this led me to integrate disciplines and to try out other visual languages with elements such as illustration or set building.".

            Bela Borsodi’s work has appeared in publications such as V Magazine, Vogue, Wallpaper Magazine, and Another Magazine. He has worked with fashion brands such as Uniqlo, Baume et Mercier Watches, Hermès, and Selfridges.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Embroidered X-Rays

Necklace with Bouquet

     Everyone of us, I assume, had to take at one point in his life a x-ray. Usually those x-rays end up in some doctors office, in some drawer or in a box in the attic. In case of Matthew Cox they end up being beautifully embroidered either to complete the body part or to add another new, whimsical element.
     Matthew Cox is a Philadelphia - based artist who embraces and joins a variety of media to produce several thematic series of work. Medical x-rays and embroidery, couture and crime, rubber stamps, short -story prose and paint all layer toward a darkly comic and anachronistic impression of the human condition in the twenty-first century.

Pigtails        Knee and Daisies  

     He swirls together quite a contradictions in his latest series, Embroidered X-Rays. Weaving embroidery thread into plastic, skeletal slides, Cox’s collection provides an odd juxtaposition, both visually and conceptually, the vibrant colors and familiar characters setting a playful mood while the X-rays remain cold and clinical. Proportionally true to the body part being pictured, the injection of stitches often depict elements of flora in a dreamscape-like scenery. The wildly contrasting materials reads
together as something new and different from their original purpose.


     Redefinition motivates Matthew to create his embroidered x-rays. The stark clash of two such divergent materials, cloth and plastic, is the simple catalyst. One tactile and labour intensive, the other technical, and quickly a finished product. There’s a wide historical context, one ancient, decorative, and artisanal, the other contemporary and devoid of aesthetic intention. By simply placing one of these materials on top of the other the understood purpose of each is redefined. For him, stitching has a nurturing aspect and acts as care giving or healing to the injured, a socially feminine sort of action, while the x-ray itself can be considered masculine and unemotional.

     The intricately made collection not only includes original embroidered portraits, but pop-culture ones as well, with David Bowie, Snow White, and Miss Piggy grafted onto chest X-rays.
      Finally, his own recognition of what is beautiful [these separately became appealing to him at about the same time]. As an artist who takes on tedious, labour-intensive projects, he is also reacting to the ever-increasing presence of photography in contemporary art – by introducing the process of labour over the quick, slickness of film.

                                                               Wrapped Wrist

     For Cox, the practice of superimposing these two applications is also a comment on the ever-increasing presence of photography in contemporary art. By introducing a tedious and time-consuming process into a medium that is quite often quick and instant,
the embroidered x-ray prints represent a format of film that explores new ways of technique and representation.

                                                                    Blowing Hair   

Wading Knees