This exhibition features the unique work of local area artists. Displaying kimonos, dresses, hats, bags, jewelry, and other wearable treasures with some uncommon surprises and delightful twists on functional and traditional wear.
Lisa Elliott comes from a family of artists; her parents, siblings, husband and children. She received her BFA degree in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and later completed four additional semesters in weaving at UMass Dartmouth. After several years of weaving on her four-harness floor loom, where she’s currently working on rag rugs, she discovered the joy of creating wearables and home accessories on the simple rigid heddle loom. The simplicity of plain weave puts the emphasis on color interactions. Finger-controlled techniques and use of a pick-up stick can add subtle or dramatic textural details.
Susan Freda was educated at the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned her BFA and at the Massachusetts College of Art for her MFA. She has received numerous awards, notably a residency & exhibition at the de Young Museum & a Pollock Krasner Award.
Transparency, form, and flowing line, the play of cast shadows and light on a wall, sparkling, subtle states of being that invoke intimate, emotive responses. Freda imbues her pieces with an ephemeral presence and ability to catch and hold light and form. Created from hand woven wire and glass, her pieces envelope viewers in a seductive, entranced space. Their transparent and interconnected forms and jewel-like nature reference nature, fashion, and otherworldly phenomena.
Freda’s work is inspired by numerous sources, some of which include: Giacometti’s stretched and elongated figures, Judi Pfaff’s installations and deft use of material; and the sculptures of Anish Kapoor. Her explores the transient, poetic, and ephemeral experiences of our world—intimacy & emotion, and offers a space for their consideration.
I am an assemblage artist.
I collect stuff. I play. I experiment. I like to recycle, deconstruct and reassemble items that are a part of my daily life. Most of these things are headed for the trash. What I like about working with discarded objects and materials is that they have their own unique personalities (think Coke can or toothbrush) and when they are manipulated, altered or recombined into new relationships their meanings change dramatically, resulting in something new and surprising which I really enjoy!
Often my artwork isn’t limited to just one category of art. Assemblage, 3D constructions, collage, conceptual art, garments, accessories, sculpture and installation have all been part of my creative output. The themes that resonate with me the most include women’s roles and domesticity, contemporary, political and social events and Nature.
My pieces are sculpted - built instead of stitched. My designs are decidedly feminine - I seek to drape the body with the same beauty and grace of the traditional Indian saris I use in my work. I consider each piece a composition, inspired by a single vintage silk. I then respond to that by adding my own hand-dyed silks and loose wool fibers, using traditional wet felting methods (hand-rolling using just soap and water and heat) to build both the fabric and the finished garment simultaneously. Creating couture results without sewing is an ongoing adventure and I strive to create finely finished pieces.
As a creative practice, I am driven by the constant problem-solving presented by re-purposed silks. Ethically, it allows me to have zero fabric waste in my studio. Ultimately, what keeps me creating is the transformation on a client’s face when she looks in the mirror after trying a piece on...she’s happily surprised and anyone can see the confidence, the power, the sexiness or sophistication she sees in herself in that mirror.
In 2018, I was honored to receive the Ornament Magazine Best in Wearable Art Award in the Philadelphia Museum of Art Fine Craft Show as well as the Distinction in Fiber Art Award at CraftBoston, as well as to show my work in Korea as part of the International Bojagi Forum.
In his book “SHINJO REFLECTIONS” Buddhist Master, Shinjo Ito, writes: ”How can the state of nirvana (enlightenment) be made accessible to more people? Finding a way is what I lived for.” His wife and Co-Founder of Shinnyo Buddhism, Tomoji Ito, is known to have said: “Gratitude is the first step towards enlightenment.” Their statements inspire me. I’ve noticed that I materialize art at the end of a profound personal lesson; my creative flame flares, like a glow-worm on a dark summer night, in response. The results have been visual, tactile, and once, auditory in nature. Iceberg tips of what I’ve comprehended within myself. The wearable art pieces on display, both express my desire to access the enlightenment spoken of and the corresponding willingness to practice with gratitude towards its attainment. The shawls also remind me of buddhist wheels, perhaps another reason for the attraction.
The idea for this project came to me while I was at my computer looking at artist Ann Hamilton’s work. I don’t know how I mentally leaped from viewing an undulating sea of horsehair to bras, but that is the moment when I thought about filling the cups of bras with artifacts from women’s lives to create a portrait of femininity.
As this idea took root, it created a life of its own. I turned first to the women I was closest to, to ask for bras and items. Word spread and soon I had bags of bras and personal items which helped to create a portrait that stretches beyond class, culture and age boundaries.
Soon, I began to receive suggestions, and the work became the voice of a community of women. We are individual yet connected in our journey. Each bra contains a slice of this experience; hung together they speak to the collective experience of what it means to be a woman.
Art is a way for me to react in response to my environment and everything in it. As I discover, learn, feel and experience, I place these emotions into the most fitting medium that best expresses my response. The medium can be anything, as I find I can best translate my thoughts and emotions when there is no limit to what I can use in the creative process. I have found responsive sensor technology to be the most accurate outlet for conveying reaction, as a sensor in itself is a module that operates with the sole purpose of being engaged by an event or change in the environment. It then relays this information to a computer processor that reacts. Everything requires attention. To attend is to engage. To engage is to create a response or reaction to this engagement. I touch the shoulder of my friend and she feels it and reacts to it. I hear the word I love you from my mum and I respond with warmth. We all react to everything, and that’s what makes us human.
The process of wet felting is a slow one and cannot be rushed; hours of laying & compacting wisps of wool by alternating moisture or pressure may be considered tedious, but I have a passion for it! To transform hand fulls of organic fiber; wool, camel, alpaca, silk, bamboo... with just my hands, soap and water, into a permanent new fabric, that’s as delightful to touch as it is to wear, well, that’s just Zen!
Jackets created from Kantha throws made from vintage recycled saris ordered directly from India. Each piece is one of a kind.
And interesting process making jackets out of Kantha throws first starts with figuring out how to cut my pattern pieces from a two-sided quilted throw. It is like putting a puzzle together without seeing the full picture beforehand. Each new throw presents new inspiration and a new puzzle to create and a mystery to solve. And knowing when to just let it go and let things play out as they will.
I find peace and joy in creating wearable items and hopefully they in turn are joyfully fun to wear and enhance the unique beauty of every new wearer.
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