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Lost in Fiber interview | Anny Crane

Posted on: Monday, April 11, 2016

a materials collaboration between artists Anny Crane and Abigail Doan

It is such a pleasure to finally profile the work of artist friend and collaborator, Anny CraneI originally met Anny during her time at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn/Manhattan, and subsequently continued a creative dialogue with her after her move south.  

Anny Crane's Invasive mixed media installation at the Textile Arts Center in Manhattan

Anny works magic with thread and paper, but in a manner that challenges more obedient ways of embroidery stitching and hand illustration. Her intuitive drawing process peels away layers of memory while also anchoring oneself in pockets of textured vulnerability. Anny's thread-heavy works and meandering ink trails are emotionally charged and rich with personal memories, narratives, and internal byways.

a micro view of embroidered paper materials by Anny Crane and fiber by Abigail Doan

I reached out to Anny during 2015-16 to do a ‘material dialogues’ collaboration between our respective studios. We actually never worked together (in person, that is) throughout the creative fabrication process, but the exchange between selected ‘scraps’ led us to an interesting place as artists and material collectors.

connections and reflections between materials by Anny Crane and Abigail Doan 

I have interspersed a selection of the resulting images at intervals throughout this interview as well as including images from the artist's website. In some documentation photos I used a glass lens – an homage to Anny's 'through the looking glass' interweaving of narratives.


AD: Might you share five objects or artifacts that you currently have in your studio or home – particularly as forms that you feel resonate with your studio work and current investigations?

Alice entering the Looking Glass (Illustration by Sir John Tenniel)

AC: An old and worn copy of Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass and What She Found There, which belonged to my grandmother; bins full of photographs of my family through the years (no one else really wanted them, so they found their place with me); a white lace slip dress a friend gifted me from one of my favorite thrift stores back home; my copy of How To Not Always Be Working by Marlee Grace of Have Company; and a sketchbook the one of my closest friends made for me.

The How To Not Always be Working workbook by Marlee Grace of Have Company

AD: Do you use social media on a daily basis and if so, do you feel that is helps you to build community in ways that non-virtual interaction does not? That is, do you feel that you have 'virtual friends' who are essential to your creative community? How does this inform your work day-to-day, if at all?

zoom in on connections between materials by Anny Crane and Abigail Doan 

AC: As much I would like to limit my use of social media/the internet in general, I definitely am connected to these platforms on a frequent basis. I think that because of the time we are living in, I am really lucky to have found such a community – even with folks who I have yet to meet in the real world. We are so connected and our bonds are very strong. I find a lot of inspiration online, especially if my friends/anyone I admire is making interesting work – it helps break up my stagnation at times, that is, for those periods when I am feeling blocked or uninspired. Perhaps, the biggest influence (besides the community itself and the friends I have made) is the possibility for being introduced to new ideas, techniques, artists, shops, and books. I am quite grateful for the time we live in and the connections that are fostered with social media.

a quiet moment in a nook of Anny Crane's southern studio

AD: What does 'slow' design or living mean to you?

AC: For me, it is being present in my life and in my work. I am not always very good at this, but I try to just be in the moment, be thankful for what I have in life, and in turn, make thoughtful and meaningful work. I also believe that it is important, as a person who doesn’t always find the boundaries between “work” and “non work”, to create parameters for myself and slow down to do things outside of creating or teaching that are important for my mental health (such as reading, laying in the quiet, going on walks, eating a meal with no distractions).

AD: Tell us more about the goals for your new community-based art + textile project, Toska Studio in Gainesville, Florida (where you have re-settled post life in Brooklyn)? You have accomplished so much with this programming in such a short period of time. Where do you see the project going in 2016?

AC: Thank you so much! We have been on a hold since the holidays while I figure out the next step; I am currently planning out and plotting some possible summer programming and pop up workshops. I would like this year to set the course for what we do in the personal life has been in a state of flux and the studio has been suspended while I figure some things out. I hope that as I ease back into working on the studio, I can find a place and a path for us to grow and thrive. My ultimate goal is to be a community center where folks can learn, teach, and connect with others. Small steps surely until that happens, but it has been a great learning experience, and I am thankful for all the support and advice I have received over this past year.

work table view of embroidered paper materials by Anny Crane and fiber by Abigail Doan

AD: If you could travel anywhere in the world over the next months, where would you go? (and if travel is not a possibility or desire), is there a specific culture or region that fascinates you currently?

AC: 2015 was a pretty stagnant year for me, and I am lucky that the first few months of 2016 I have been able to do some traveling. I went to Los Angeles in January, and I recently concluded a nine day residency at Have Company, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. If I could truly go anywhere, oh, man, I would go everywhere! I have never been out of the country before, and I think it would just be a wonderful experience wherever I could go. As far as stateside, I would really like to go on a road trip out west – just driving across the country with my partner, staying in tiny motels and exploring, soaking up all the history and beauty our country has to offer. 

AD: Is there a tool from the past that you feel needs to be re-introduced? Or rather, is there a modified tool that you think would make your creative life more complete?

AC: I would love to begin spinning my own yarn. I have been looking into spindles, specifically Navajo spindles, which require the use of one's body/thigh for spinning. I think the act of using my body to spin, a slow practice in itself, would be a perfect tool for my current work, not just for fiber, but my goal to be more present and in the moment. I think spinning would open up a new avenue for me art wise, but also bring me back down to earth during times when I feel especially lunar.

islands of hand-embroidered paper that Anny Crane made for our collaboration

AD: What hue or texture has made the most impression on you?

AC: Beiges and greys really resonate with me. I suppose beige alpacas are probably my ideal combination (source) for hue and, they are so dang cute.

Anny Crane's work will be featured in the new book, Alchemy: The Art and Craft of Illustration, available for pre-order on here.

Follow the trail to Anny Crane on Instagram.

All images courtesy of the artists.

Walking Libraries | 2016

Posted on: Thursday, March 17, 2016

Walking Libraries 2016 | Abigail Doan

Since the conclusion of 2015, I have been occupied with new collaborations and print publications for Lost in Fiber | agencyI do not update this blog very often these days, but given how long it has been online, I feel an allegiance to this 'older platform' and the thread of continuity. 

2016 is moving so quickly, and with this in mind, I have launched a new 'slowing down' project called, Walking Libraries. This art initiative will involve my archiving of the granular aspects of landscape exploration and tactile finds out on the trail. My goal is to incorporate more movement into my work as means to further explore personal mapping concepts as well as fluidity between materials and documentation methods.

I am currently plotting out trips to the American southwest and California, but before these excursions, I will also be revisiting old trails in New York State's Hudson Valley.

Two books that I am re-reading for the first phase of walking research are the following:

Wanderlust: A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solnit

Along the Hudson and the Mohawk: The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani,

edited and translated by Cesare Marino and Karim M. Tiro

More imagery and stories from the trail are to come. In the interim, I am reminded of this wonderful book published by The LAND/an art site in New Mexico. Excerpts can be read via the online journal, Landviews.

Lost in Fiber | agency + tools

Posted on: Monday, December 28, 2015

I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new website, Lost in Fiber | agency
In addition to ongoing studio and cultural preservation projects, the development of an 'agency' is really a long-overdue effort to formalize creative conversations that I have cultivated with talented individuals globally. 'Agency' in this instance refers to the role that relationship-building plays in providing solutions and meaningful material exchanges.

The site is organized into the following themes: atmosphere, cultivated, destination, historic, materials + studio life, objects + tools, worn, Lost in Fiber print tools, and Lost in Fiber stories. The edited selection of images represents art and design initiatives from my own archives – this includes documentation of cultural outreach efforts, historic artifacts, travel, styling projects (see worn) as well as a collection of stories that have influenced my development as an artist and collaborator. The news section features interviews, current projects, and announcements for events. The print tools page will be active during early January 2016. More on this soon.

The site is very much a work-in-progress with more documentation to be added, but for now, I am eager to share what I feel is the next step for me in terms of personal community building tied to documented narratives. A special thank you to everyone who has contributed to the development of this creative concept, with inspiration and cheer.

News | Prints | Tools

Posted on: Friday, November 13, 2015

November hues and grasses as inspiration for Lost in Fiber projects to come
(photographed at Wave Hill gardens | November 2015)

I might seem quiet these days but this is surely not the case. I have been busy archiving old and new projects, updating online statements, and fleshing out the details for a new Lost in Fiber | agency site – launching soon.

The wild and gritty hideaway along the Gowanus Canal

I am also fortunate to have a new part-time studio space to work from in the Gowanus Canal neighborhood of Brooklyn. I will be doing texture palette studies of the local environs this late autumn and winter as well as documenting 'fiber extensions' over the canal's bridges.

As the official holiday season approaches, I will be sharing news of an affordable 'newsprint series' that I am creating as a suite of publication tools exploring visual narratives. These prints are not images of my actual art work but rather large 17 x 22 inch prints of color, texture, or environmental findings that I have documented during my travels. 

Inspiration for palette studies linking the Hudson Valley with the Gowanus
(photographed at Wave Hill gardens | November 2015)

In an era where social media and prolific 'sharing' often passes over meaningful day-to-day interactions and tactile experiences, all of the above will aim to further examine ways to be more fluid in creative agency and handmade material solutions.

Toolshedding | Material Reflections

Posted on: Thursday, October 22, 2015

'Borders | No Borders 02' | woven drawing + dried vegetation | Abigail Doan (2015)

In response to conversations and dialogues related to my recent Toolshedding installation at Weaving Hand studio in Brooklyn, I am sharing passages from my October 1 artist talk as well as links to a selection of views from the gallery walls. The following passages (in quotes) are my own (material) reflections:

"The concept of Toolshedding grew out of a need for tools and authentic objects that might interweave (or facilitate common material relations) across formal disciplines and locales. 

That is, modern tools that might also serve as border defying agents."

Toolshedding (2015) installation in Brooklyn incorporating Bulgarian shepherd bells, twined textiles from Archive New York, oversized pom-poms created as a collaboration with Zaida of Balmaseda studio in Brooklyn and Puerto Rico, linen fiber donated by artist Brece Honeycutt, and Icelandic sheepskin 'scraps' from the design studio of Titania Inglis.

"Given my travel between the U.S., Bulgaria, and Italy, specifically, I needed to create a nomadic studio kit that might be easily transportable, fluid in terms of the diversity or range of selected objects, and textural when situated into new contexts.

Two years ago, I decided to take this dialogue one step further by asking designers from the U.S., Eastern Europe, and Turkey to donate scrap materials from their studios as a way for me to further expand their fiber and/or textile vocabulary while on the road.

This exercise was also a reaction of sorts to interesting visual dialogues that I would observe (via social media) between friends who had never met each other but whose materials and methods had striking connections. I began exploring how the recycled fragments from these individuals’ studio became whole again when they found each other or were intuitively synthesized in unexpected ways."

"Toolshedding proposes that our borders are shifting, but not in ways that will inevitably eradicate cultural identity or traditional know-how and resilience."

A juxtaposition of objects and tools from the rural U.S., Guatemala, and Prague.

"I am searching for more tactile manifestations of cross-cultural sharing and social media dynamics. This need reflects my own desire for ways to better navigate an increasingly complex and seemingly desensitized world. I have housed select objects and tools to honor what has come before me, how challenging (rewarding) the work might have been, and also how beautiful the crossovers can be – a process that is inclusive and aims to leave both bold and subtle evidence of our remains."

Stay tuned for more updates as the project travels to new locales during late 2015 and into 2016. You can continue to view more images on Tumblr as well as Lost in Fiber | Instagram.

Toolshedding Exhibition + Talk @ Weaving Hand Gallery

Posted on: Monday, September 14, 2015

detail of a micro-weaving for Toolshedding | Abigail Doan (September 2015)

Please join me for ‘Toolshedding’ at Weaving Hand gallery in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday, October 1 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. The event will include an artist discussion and a solo exhibition featuring a curated selection of handmade artifacts and textile tools from my traveling studio.

‘Toolshedding’ is an ongoing project exploring the visual archiving and preservation of culturally endangered agricultural and textile objects. As an artist who has lived between the U.S. and Eastern Europe for the past several years, I have been been collecting and working with fiber artifacts, regional textiles, and rural tools in order to explore border-defying design and fashion ideas. This transformative process has helped me to create my own taxonomy of nomadic tools for form-building and travel investigations.

preview of materials in Toolshedding | Abigail Doan (September 2015)

Collected artifacts include shepherd bells from Bulgaria, braided tent rope from Turkey, hand-spun wool from the Hudson Valley, woven banners from Bohemia, folkloric costume elements, vintage embroidery diagrams, and recycled fibers from the studios of global artist and designer friends. I am not only building a ‘shed’ for these objects but also exploring how modern materiality is rooted in craft expressions that ultimately unite rather than divide us.

Collaborative material contributors include Anny CraneArchive New York, Balmaseda studio’s Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda, Bazaar BayarBrece Honeycutt, Cave CollectiveCeca Georgieva, Courtney CedarholmDoug JohnstonErin Considine, Han StarnesStudy NY, and Titania Inglis.

‘Toolshedding’ will remain on view through October 24, 2015.

Weaving Hand gallery is located at
47 Hall Street, Section E#1, 2nd floor | entrance is on 43 Hall Street

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