Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pulling Strings Reference Library: Karen Thiessen

Our next Pulling Strings Library Project mini review comes from local textile and mixed media artist Karen Thiessen.  Karen can sometimes be seen at Needlework, the Pulling String Library's home base, stitching something tiny and beautiful, often with a Japanese flavour.  Her choice from her own collection celebrating the fine art of the stitch comes as no surprise.   Keep your eyes on the blog for even more reviews through April as we head toward our library launch!

Nui Project Embroidery Stitches 
Kobo Shobu, Japan, 2003 

Nui Project 2 Embroidery Stitches 
Kobo Shobu, Japan, 2007 

Sandra Brownlee introduced me to the Nui Project 1 and 2 books during a visit to her studio in 2010. The Nui Project is a group of male and female textile artists who have intellectual disabilities and live in a facility called Shobu Gakuen in Kagoshima, Japan. With the assistance of facilitators, Nui Project textile artists embroider ready-made shirts and other textiles to be sold as commercial products and the results are spectacular. The textiles aren't all wearable or functional but serve more as remarkable sculptural objects. Each artist has his or her own distinct style and the textiles are stitched intuitively. A common characteristic of the artworks is the awe-inspiring accumulation of stitches. I purchased the books from Yoshiko I. Wada’s Slow Fiber Studios online shop and they are now sold out. Contact the shop to see if the books will be reordered.

Karen Thiessen, textile and mixed media artist

Shirt by Naoki Fujimura and Aki Nozawa, Cotton shirt & Mixed Media, Hand work and sewing machine, page 38 Nui Project 2

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