Lost in Fiber | archives + preservation initiatives

Sofia Design Week 2013: The Balkan Date

Posted on: Thursday, July 04, 2013

Handknit wearable sculpture by Dalibor Sakic
on view in 'In A Nutshell' at Project SAMCA (photo by Abigail Doan)

I was fortunate to be in Sofia during the latter half of Sofia Design Week in late June. This year's theme was 'The Balkan Date' and the celebration of handcraft as well as concepts related to 'the new folklore' was very exciting.

Please enjoy my review of a selection of designs for Dwell.com as well as a few extra photos that I have added to this blog posting. The raw spaces at Project SAMCA were also so inspiring.

Another view of  Dalibor Sakic's work at Project SAMCA (photo by Abigail Doan)

 'In a Nutshell' exhibition with typography by Croatian designers (photo by Abigail Doan)

'Ariadne's Thread' by Koomigraphics as part of  'Crisis is a Greek Word' 
at Project SAMCA (photo by Abigail Doan)

Evgeniya Tsancova's 'Tied' fiber accessories on view at Ecru Shop (photo by Abigail Doan)

Tzuri Gueta organic forms at Testa Gallery in Sofia

Midsummer Dream in Sweden

Posted on: Monday, June 24, 2013

The Warp and Weft of the Rhodope Mountains

Posted on: Friday, May 10, 2013

Detail of a handloom weaving from the Smolyan region (photo by Abigail Doan)

Detail from the bottom of a wheat threshing board
on view at Villa Gella in Gela, Bulgaria  (photo by Abigail Doan)

Textile tools on view at Villa Gella in Gela, Bulgaria  (photo by Abigail Doan)

I just returned from several days in Bulgaria's Rhodope Mountains, and I am convinced more than ever, that this unique pocket of the world holds the cure for much of what ails us.

Gela hillsides at dawn (photo by Abigail Doan)

Describing the deep layers of space and perspective – all enveloped in the beauty of the Rhodope landscape, is a very difficult task. The micro and the macro play off each other like the local birdsongs that weave through stillness, leaving nubs of raw texture and soft accents on the undulating hillsides.

Ad hoc slate and tile work on a Gela rooftop (photo by Abigail Doan)

Handcrafted shed in Gela, Bulgaria (photo by Abigail Doan)

I wanted to share several images and details from my exploratory walks, prior to a more detailed story about the historic gems and cultural offerings of the region – Gela, specifically.

4th/5th century church face in Gela (photo by Abigail Doan)

I will be spending more time in the Rhodopes, as this region definitely strikes a chord in terms of ancient/future wisdom. One cannot over romanticize modern realities, though, as  local folks work hard to make a sustainable living and preserve their ways. We can observe what works, though, in the crafting of place and the slowing down and expansion of our own contemporary views.

A serene moment through Villa Gella's window (photo by Abigail Doan)

Gela and the Rhodope at dusk (photo by Abigail Doan)

Winter to Spring : Nomad Archive

Posted on: Monday, April 01, 2013

In preparation for my transition to Sofia, Bulgaria, for Spring/Summer 2013, I decided to photograph some of the fiber forms in my studio with new backdrops. I did this partly because I sometimes get very nostalgic for hand-crafted work that I have to leave behind – particularly during this four to five year period when my family and I are living overseas.


These images are ideas that I can essentially take with me as visual touchstones while on the road. Given that I have multiple new projects underway, it is always good to reminded of where I have been and what might unfold – naturally, and in a new context.

Stay tuned for more details on what is in the works during the months to come.

(all photos by Abigail Doan)

Sharing in the Thought Kitchen

Posted on: Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nested / Fiber Form created out of recycled materials and twigs (photo by Abigail Doan)

Excited to share news of this interview and feature on my work for Nau's Thought Kitchen.

Unraveling a Tumbleweed at CCA Oakland

Posted on: Saturday, February 16, 2013

On-site at CCA's 'Soil to Studio' plant dye garden (photo by Sasha Duerr)

I was so fortunate to have been invited recently to talk to students in the Textiles program at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. Artist friend and plant dye expert, Sasha Duerr, has helped to cultivate a wonderful campus garden for the study of permacouture and 'soil to studio' practices. 

In addition to my talk on ideas related to 'fashioning self and the environment', I decided to unravel a tumbleweed fiber form that I had created in 2006 while on an artist residency at The LAND/an art site in rural New Mexico. 

'Tumbleweed 01' created out of recycled textiles, fiber, and vegetation in New Mexico 

I viewed this event with the students as an opportunity to shift my creative practice a bit – unwinding quite literally into a more expansive mode while also looking back at a chapter in my life that was very much about preserving materials and the memories of a specific place.

The hand-dyed fibers from the tumbleweed were able to breathe again amidst the lush vegetation and expressive succulents of CCA's community dye garden and surroundings. The students also served as live branches of sorts during the collaborative process. 

The Living Room Studio

Posted on: Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Ruth Asawa's Living Room, San Francisco, 1969

I had so many interesting conversations this past week with artist and maker friends in San Francisco regarding their studio set ups and the curation of objects within their space.

One of the themes that seemed to emerge (in this era of Instagram documentation and perpetual sharing via social media), was the role that visual archiving plays in true creative development and the overall form-building process within the workspace or home studio.

Artists tend to be hoarders or at least collectors of items that have some resonance with their own creations, or not. I have a sculptor friend from Brazil who does not live with any of her pieces as she sees this to be a distraction from her process and the sanctity of her home life. 

Handmade | Trend Tablet

Posted on: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'Fete for the Senses' in the 'Handmade' section of Trend Tablet

So thrilled that Fete for the Senses was recently celebrated and reviewed on Trend Tablet

Rhiannon SIlver Gilmore, a visual researcher, maker, and creator of the blog, Intelligent Clashing, wrote a very thoughtful piece on the December event that I created in my home with a hand-picked selection of artists, designers, and slow design advocates.

image: Abigail Doan (left); Balmaseda (right)

In my interview with Rhiannon, I shared the following regarding my vision for the event:

"The idea itself came from Dali’s Les Diners de Gala, a 1971 publication with extravagant fete recipes and surrealistic visuals that explore the pleasures of taste and unbridled artistic passion. Inspired, Doan wanted to apply this spirit to the organic realm, one ‘where fibre and slow craft methodologies might be at play and seem rich’ connecting people with their senses and so providing them with vital information for meaningful decision making and more balanced consumption choices. In this way Fete for the Senses was meant to be more than a party, an exhibit, or a showcase but ultimately a way to sensitize each person to experiences that better inform them about what their true passions might be and in turn what they are hungry for and attracted to. In Doan’s own words, ‘Desire is something that needs to be examined both as a way for creating deeper relations but also for gaging how sustainable strategies are ultimately implemented and shared."

More multi-sensory projects and news to come from my current stay in San Francisco.

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