Polytopia Textile Art in Progress

Here are some photos of arrangements of sewn textile pyramids laid out on my studio floor to test composition before being sewn up into a large three dimentional quilt Polytopia.

Reef textile art 1
Each of these pyramids is about the size of half a football, 15cm x 15cm base and about 18 cm tall (6″ x 6″ at the base and about 7″ high).

The fabrics are mostly deadstock from a wholesale liquidation warehouse north of  Toronto called NDF Fabrics.  Most of the materials are various upholstery types, vinyl and nylon, and the silver and gold in the images here were actually destined to be wall coverings.  Other textiles are waterproof or outdoor grade, from the luggage, car, or airplane manufacturing industries, and various other sources. The off-gassing is substantial in some cases and, I imagine, corresponds directly to the vibrancy of the colours. Some of the fabrics are post-industry cutoffs, with just a yard or so left on the roll, or else dirty or faded with age at the edges. But the prices are fantastic and it keeps them out of the eventual landfill – because who else other than  a broke artist will buy a yard of scuffed up textile of unknown composition?

Reef textile art 4

In any case, mostly I have to guess, with some help from NDF, as to the nature of the textiles and how they might handle being cut, sewn and ironed, since some were never even meant to be held together by thread. And then, even if a textile tests well back at the studio – doesn’t gum up the sewing machine needle, doesn’t melt under the iron at the lowest temperature level, and holds a crease – I usually can never find more of the same fabric.

It’s interesting to work with such constraints – I never know what colours will be available, so I have to adjust my idea of what I am doing as I go along. In this way the project evolves under forces other than just my own aesthetic preferences.

Polytopia is being prepared to be part of The Reef artpiece along with a dozen or so Geoms and other small sculptures. The Reef  will be displayed 27 to 30 October 2011 at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto for the annual upART Contemporary Art Fair.

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3 thoughts on “Polytopia Textile Art in Progress”

  1. “Quodos” Magda and Marc. This is outstanding work. I also love the write-up about the fabrics, the construction and the ‘after hunt’ for more!

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