Textile Arts Center world, join me in welcoming a new talent, Amber Day, fresh from RISD’s Textiles BFA program, Class of 2014. I came across Amber’s work in the Degree Project Exhibition at RISD, which was an incredible presentation all in all! I was struck by Amber’s painterly approach to textile materials, which go far beyond typical construction techniques. Amber shared some of the concepts and inspiration behind her thesis with me, and it’s enlightening to see how she digested these ideas into a playful and inventive collection.



“My concept began by considering the craft of hand tinted photography, the memory and naivety of childhood scribbling, the piecing of Gees Bend quilts and the 1950’s novelty invention of paint-by-number. Each arbitrary colored shape was somehow dictated by a pre-existing framework of lines or forms built up to take on some kind of meaningful picture. I noticed there was an ‘allowed’ sense of spontaneity to the marks made upon these items set guides. Somehow the frameworks made the maker all the more free to literally think outside the box and make happy accidents. Nothing seems too precious nor too serious.”


“I began to work with a similar sensibility within the realm of painting. Considering the mark making of artists such as Richard Deibenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Julie Merhetu and Matisse my shapes and forms took on compositions where color and marks made with fabric, yarn and fiber began to fill in the preexisting human outline with clothing as their guide. Yarn would be treated like the line of a pencil, cut fabric and shapes like blobs of paint and construction paper, roving like brushstrokes, mesh like crosshatching.”


Here’s a quote from Helen Frankenthaler that Amber references as part of her approach: “You have to know how to use the accident, how to recognize it, how to control it, and ways to eliminate it so that the whole surface looks felt and born all at once.” It’s clear that she has made good use of this advice. Keep your eye out for this one -


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