Cycle 4 AiR: Interview with Kelly Valletta

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Textile Arts Center: How did you first become involved with the Textile Arts Center?

Kelly Valletta: I became involved early on, technically my first job was to tile the bathroom floor.  Cofounders Owyn and Visnja had asked me to be summer camp director, and my main reservation was that I didn’t know how to weave, or dye, or sew very well for that matter.  I quickly fell in love- with all of it really, the mission, the processes, and the community.

TAC: What medium do you generally work in?

KV: I really like experiments, and learning through making, so it often changes.  Through the residency and now I’ve been dyeing, printing, and weaving.

TAC: What inspires your work?

KV: I am really influenced by my surroundings, colors and textures in nature, but also natures toll on man made environments.  I am also really encouraged being around coworkers, friends, and students, making discoveries of their own all the time at TAC.

TAC: What is your artistic process like?

KV: I really like multi layered tactile processes, and it is often messy.  Whatever it is, I make it messier than it needs to be.  I like to get my hands in it.

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TAC: What did you learn from your experience as an AIR at TAC?

KV: I really learned so much… skills, history, theory, it’s hard to say in a sentence or two.  The most valuable to me was being able to find focus, to find the common threads in my interests to be able to move on to the next piece of work and the one after that.

TAC: Who is your favorite designer or artist and why?

KV: I love Richard Serra’s work. I grew up nearby DIA Beacon and I would go a lot just to see the torqued ellipses. The experience of walking through it is so deeply personal, its amazing how physically and mentally you are affected within the space. 

TAC: If you could wear one article of clothing forever what would it be?

I don’t care a lot for clothes, I think it would be my woven basket backpack.  I just spoke with a basket maker who said it looks so well made it will be around for another hundred years, so I just may wear it forever.

TAC: What do you always have in your studio?

KV: Something dragged in from somewhere, if I come across something interesting that’s small enough to put in my pocket, like a piece of auto glass or gum wrapper or flattened tin can, it will probably be going home with me… If it’s too much to carry it probably is still coming home with me.   On a walk to TAC a student and I carried a bunch of rusty poles a few blocks, a trip home from Arizona I brought home two pillowcases of red dirt in my suitcase, I was just on a hike and brought back a bag of moss…You just never know what your gonna need or how or when your gonna need it.

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TAC: What’s your favorite place in the world and why?

KV: I’m very sentimental, and spent summers going to Fishs Eddy, New York growing up. We would go to the Delaware County Fair to see pigs, demolition derby, and butter sculptures. At home we went tubing in the river, collected newts, and had bonfires.  As a band of kids we were always on a mission to make something, build something, fix something up, it was always exciting.

TAC: If you could recommend one class at TAC which one would it be?   

KV: Summer Camp! After school! Mini Camp! I might be biased, but we have a lot of fun. I’m actually really excited about our new Textiles for Teens class starting this fall, which is a sort of “gallery program” using current residents work as inspiration for lessons.  I also love Isa’s natural dye classes, screen printing with dye, and of course weaving… really I can’t pick just one.

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Be sure to check out Kelly’s knotted lamps she made exclusively for the TAC Shop!!

Artists in Residence at the Textile Arts Center Opening Reception:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
7-10PM
The Invisible Dog Art Center
51 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY

Facebook Event Page

RSVP at with our Event Page, or email us at rsvp@textileartscenter.com

See you there!

One Comment

  1. Awesome Interview.. Great artist!!!!

    I especially liked this part.

    “to find the common threads in my interests”

    GET IT!!

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