Art + Design

From the Design Desk: Renegade Textiles


Renegade Craft Fair, the annual indie bazaar known for putting the DIY movement on the map, is a major hub for independent artists, illustrators, and designers. Like a real-world Etsy, it’s great for limited-run, unique gifts as well as for visual inspiration. Renegade takes place in Austin, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. I was very impressed by the textile designs at the San Francisco fair this past weekend.

For example, Austin’s Miss Natalie, who is known for her use of patterns and wooden objects, featured the above growth chart: a 4″-long ribbon made of woven jute. The child’s height is recorded by safety pins with attached paper tags.

Another Austin-based artist, Leah Duncan, creates beautiful textile designs, some of which are floral, others abstract patterns, and some figurative, like her jackrabbit illustration. She sells tea towels, pillowcases, and scarves in addition to the usual assortment of prints and note cards.

Designers were also using textiles to make accessories, essentially fabric jewelry. Muak Studio, above, uses repurposed fabric to create beautiful hand-woven necklaces and bracelets. Furniture and textile designer Tanya Aguiñiga created an impressive assortment of woven-rope scarves and bracelets. Her work makes smart use of color and features a sculptural quality, flawlessly constructed.

Taking a more traditional route, it was great to see the work by the textile students from San Francisco State University. The students learn natural hand-dying techniques and old-fashioned loom weaving, thread by thread. The scarves they had for sale were each completely distinctive and, although the students may be novices learning the craft, their woven textiles were clearly labors of love.

One of the great things about DIY craft fairs is the liberating notion that you too could try your hand at making something. I’m hoping to use our Lotta Jansdotter Stencils to create some simple textile patterns someday. Not that I don’t still love paper… it’s just fun to switch up your medium from time to time.

Suzanne LaGasa

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