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Commentary & Critique – Textile Arts Center


The Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn recently exhibited the work of seven textile artists and designers, created over the course of a nine-month residence at their center in Gawanus. The Center is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of textiles through creative educational programs. The aspiration is to unify the textile community and advocate for the handmade by providing accessible, skill based classes that reinvigorate engagement with traditional crafts. As a resource for professional development, the Textile Arts Center offers a rigorous Artists in Residence program, combining interdisciplinary learning with a deep focus on technical and business development. Residents study weaving, knitting, and surface design, along with textile history, modern craft theory, and business administration, developing contemporary works of art rooted in textile craftsmanship. AIR is the outcome and of that nine month residency.


Two of the current crop of graduated residents work ventures into the realm of wearable art, that of Joey Korein and Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda.


Joey Korein’s collection of patchworked T-shirts entitled WANTNOT, are experiments in collage with textile scraps reconfigured in the simple shape of a T-shirt. Materials are gathered from the closets of others, born of an abiding love of secondhand clothing, with each piece lending its history to an entirely new compilation.


The collection draws inspiration from the materials themselves, and their correlation to the unexpected visual snapshots of color, shape, form and texture dotted throughout daily life; snapshots of rain soaked paper peeling from a wall, or an incongruous colored pipe resting on a rusted door. Like a crow collecting shiny objects, Korein collects images, salvaged bits of paper, and fabric, all of which make their way into collage, and inspire the shapes and color combinations of the WANTNOT T’s.


Fueled by the firm belief that limitation spawns innovation, all the materials in the WANTNOT collection are reclaimed, and guided by the philosophy that what we wear should make us happy in the knowledge that they were produced ethically and sustainably. More than the some of their parts, the T-shirt collection elevates discarded cotton jersey, by combining scraps into eclectic, playful and dynamic new palettes, juxtaposing stripes, solids, patterns and prints. T’s are long, slim, cropped, wide, scoop or crew necked, every one of them featuring a unique combination of materials.


Korin’s exhibit work is balanced out into a greater collection with simple collared shift dresses, a cardigan and overcoat. The shift dresses are made from a wide range of reclaimed rayon shirts, featuring a quirky range of retro prints and stripes. Her twin-pocketed cardigan is reconstructed from hand-selected sweaters in 100% natural fibers, while the architectural Geodesic Overcoat is constructed from deconstructed wool skirts and cashmere sweaters.


Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda, is a knitwear designer and artists, or as sometimes referred to, as a concoctionist, who comes from a long matrilineal line of resourceful craftswomen in Puerto Rico. Balmaseda’s collection revolves around hand knitted womenswear, many from home spun yarn hand produced from thrifted and upcycled textile waste. Committed to ethical and sustainable practices throughout her production process, Balmaseda focuses on the meaningful results obtained from alternative and unconventional creation, and clothes that are beautiful and artful.


Her thoughtful designs encompass dimensional and tactile knitwear, organic in shape and structure, like organisms growing, bubbling and separating, while clothing the body. Hand dyed and hand spun, spiders web yarn details span the back of a dress, while pebble shaped dimensional structures dot the side of a dress, like a moss covered shallow stream winding over the body.


For the TAC exhibition, Balmaseda took a departure from her usual fashion based work, developing the dimensional quilting previously used on some of her woven designs, this time expressed on a meditation mat. Meditative in process as well as use, the sacred space is the outcome of extreme reflective practice. “aspacetositwith” reflects the laborious nature of daily stitching practice, and the transformation of humble organic materials through the meditative and repetitive practice of craft.


The topographic map stitched into this piece is the result of the honoring of ingredients, making them matter through labor. Worked in a large circle, there are two thousand, eight hundred and seventy seven small beans individually sewn into the piece. Turning making into a healing experience, cultivating harmony through practice.


The five other artists showcasing their work at the Textile Arts Center Artists in Residence exhibit spanned a diversity of workmanship, including weaving, mixed media work, large and small scale instalations.


TAC: www.textileartscenter.com

Website: www.wantnotgoods.com

Website: www.zagb.net








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