Polytopia Textile Art

Polytopia; post manufacturing industry textiles including canvass, upholstery, vinyl, nylon, foiled nylon wall covering, ripstop and waterproof fabrics, thread, staples; pyramid components 6 x 6 inches at the base x 7 inches tall, above installation at upART 2011 overall size 9 x 12 feet wide; 2011.

Polytopia is a sewn textile exploration of form inspired by geometry, evolution, and utopian states.

Detail photo of Polytopia textile art

Foiled wallpaper is combined with orange safety nylon and fuschia luggage textile.

The fabrics are mostly deadstock, mill end rolls, and the excess of various industries manufacturing luggage, cars, airplanes, household goods and interiors.  Many of the textiles are various upholstery types, like lederette vinyl, and nylon  like the kind made into knapsacks. The silver and gold are foiled nylon wallpaper.

The patterns were originally hand drafted; currently they are digitally manipulated and printed.

All the pyramids were hand cut and machine sewn, and then to each other they are affixed, in the current iteration, with some 8000 staples.

There is a lot of guessing as to the nature of the textiles and how they might handle being cut, sewn and ironed, since some were never even meant to be held together by thread. Usually the same materials are never available again, and so the design evolves by using similar fabrics, for example white for silver, or one dark purple for another dark purple of a different texture.

Working with such constraints induces an evolution of the piece beyond the influence of pure aesthetic preferences.

Photos

Polytopia detail, Post-industry upholstery vinyl, rip-stop nylon, foiled wallpaper, thread, staples. As installed for Let's Glow, 2012.

Polytopia detail of textile art, as displayed for Let's Glow in 2012

Polytopia detail, silver orange end from the "corner", as displayed for Let's Glow in 2012

Polytopia, Let's Glow installation view from the end showing the whole piece.

Polytopia, Let's Glow installation view from the end showing the whole piece.

Section of Polytopia in yellow, pink, silver, white, and light purple.

A section of Polytopia in yellow, pink, silver, white, and light purple. As installed for the Reef, 2011.

Gold and purple section, as installed for Let's Glow

Gold and purple section, as installed for Let's Glow

View of Let's Glow installation from below

View of Let's Glow installation from below, showing the bouncing of light and reflection of colors that made the installation so dynamic.

Detail of the Let's Glow installation, showing a dramatic view on axis, from bottom left to upper right.

Detail of the Let's Glow installation, showing a dramatic view on axis, from bottom left to upper right.

Silver and white pyramid detail.

Silver and white pyramid detail of the Let's Glow installation. The silver is a wallpaper, and the white is a nylon and vinyl roller blind fabric, damask woven with a zebra pattern.

More Photos


Use the button on the bottom right of the viewer above to see the images in full screen. The images are from the Polytopia photo set on Flickr and can also be viewed there.

Exhibitions and Installations

Polytopia was first displayed mounted to a wall in the Reef in 2011, then enlarged and undulating on the floor in Let’s Glow. It is currently providing the mountain range in Braveland.

Process

The fabrics are mostly deadstock, mill end rolls, and the excess of various industries manufacturing luggage, cars, airplanes, household goods and interiors.  Many of the textiles are various upholstery types, like lederette vinyl, and nylon  like the kind made into knapsacks. The silver and gold are foiled nylon wallpaper.

Textile pieces ready for sewing

Photo of textile pieces cut and partially assembled, and one test pyramid all sewn up and ironed into shape.

The patterns were originally hand drafted; currently they are digitally manipulated and printed.

All the pyramids were hand cut and machine sewn, and then to each other they are affixed, in the current iteration, with some 8000 staples.

There is a lot of guessing as to the nature of the textiles and how they might handle being cut, sewn and ironed, since some were never even meant to be held together by thread. Usually the same materials are never available again, and so the design evolves by using similar fabrics, for example white for silver, or one dark purple for another dark purple of a different texture.

Working with such constraints induces an evolution of the piece beyond the influence of pure aesthetic preferences.

Work in Progress

The photos below show some of the arrangements of sewn textile pyramids laid out on the studio floor to test composition before being sewn up into larger components. Final arrangement and assembly is done on site at the time of installation.

In this image the white textile is roller blinds vinyl woven with a zebra damask pattern, the silver is a foiled nylon wall covering, and the yellow and cyan is ripstop nylon. Each of these pyramids is about the size of half a football, 15cm x 15cm base and about 18 cm tall (6″ x 6″ at the base and about 7″ high).

Reef textile art 1

Polytopia, detail of textile art in progress; post manufacturing industry textiles including canvass, upholstery, vinyl, nylon, foiled nylon wall covering, ripstop and waterproof fabrics, and thread; size variable, pyramid components average 15cm x 15cm x 18cm tall; 2011.

Reef textile art 3

Reef textile art 8

Reef textile art 5

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3 comments to Polytopia

  • This is fascinating. How did you produce this? The sewing appears to be machine-stitched rather than hand-stitched. And the use of different facrics, particularly recycled ones, is really creative.

  • Yes, the sewing is done by machine. The pyramids use all straight line patterns for piecing the multiple colours for each pyramid and to construct the pyramid. The pyramids are then flipped to the right side and ironed, and then they are stapled together to form the quilt, with a regular stapler.

    In the future, I would love to find a sewing machine, perhaps for shoes or suitcases, that would allow me to do the final joining with thread rather than staples.

  • Exelente propuesta , muy bueno el trabajo!!

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