The Exhibition title- Endangered?- how does your piece respond to the title? your inspiration and methods etc
The sculptures are the culmination of a conversation in wool which started for myself a decade ago.
Today I witness with overwhelming sadness that ”my viruses” have brought the whole world to a standstill in 2020.
The dichotomy between function and form in viruses is commonly an immediate reflection on their existence measured to our own.
You would see it in the narrative of artists who are just starting on their journey with microorganisms as a result of current realities.
Humans have the weakness to put ourselves in the centre of the universe rather than grasping the idea that more often than not we are part of it.
And more often than not we are threat to every living organism – including our own kind.
A virus veteran myself I study the impact of viruses on a personal and global level.
The work has been a mechanism to explore humanity, how we operate in a crisis and how we process the impact of trauma within our relationships and our belief system.
The lessons I have learned are of growth, hope and kindness.
I strive to share this experience through my practice.
The choice of Common Cold and Corona are not random.
Common cold is probably the most resilient virus and arguably one of the older organisms in the species.
It evolves and our bodies do as a result of it.
This strain of Corona is registered during this millennium and is presenting us with the challenge to evolve and work together outside our comfort.
Are we going to live up to the challenge and live to tell the tale?
I believe constructive textiles allow the privilege to embody materials which authenticate the experience.
I use this in making my work.
The Two pieces are constructed by a crust and a core. The crust is a combination of animal and plant-based fibres which communicates the spread of the virus and the impact it has on our bodies. The respiratory spread is embodied in undyed wool to emulate sensory experience. The fearmongering of geographical containment is communicated by silk and Italian fibres. The core is a combination of rubbish created during the pandemic which has been covered in wool to develop felt.
Crafting through the current crisis, with the pandemic have you found more or less time to craft, has it inspired you or have you found it more difficult- discuss
I do not sneak in time to craft – I do craft as a core of who I am, both through my full time practice and in my life.
What I did as soon as we were in lockdown was to donate classes, felting kits and tools and products.
I was lucky to get a big commission to develop online teaching content for Cruimnniu na nOg- a project commissioned by Creative Ireland, RTE and Art Council.
Meanwhile I found it a special time to become part of international artist led tutorials which connected me with artist from all over the world.
I tried to use the time as a resource to do my bit- I donated materials and classes. After all who knows better the joy of receiving a craft packet in your mailbox?
My family was somehow more roped into craft. My girl was on light duty for 30 days with the 5 feet felt moon we lit every night on our roof.
I used the time to give time to others.I would like to use this opportunity to remind every member of Feltmakers Ireland that they could have 20% off niki&nikifelting tools, craft kits and classes through my website, just say you are a Feltmaker Ireland member.
It also gave me more time to develop my pieces and apply to opportunities that I sometimes miss. I was humbled to have three pieces accepted into Kaleidoscope-
International Felt makers Association exhibition of contemporary felt art.
Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you
I discovered felt through an idea for a lampshade.
Felt came to me to save me from my failures.
For almost six months I tried various materials and ideas to make the light as it was in my head.
It wasn’t till I was shown the process of felting that I knew – That was it!
I am delighted that it was mutual love as the craft community has given me some of the most illuminating experiences. So for me it means hope and love.
Each happening in my practice has been a gift. From solo exhibition in Shanghai to being part of international exhibition in National Design and Craft Gallery Kilkenny each steps is a privilege. The way I see it I engage with folk who loves craft and art. Whether I teach in corporate setting like Facebook, or a group of underprivileged girls in a small village in Bulgaria it has always been just a way to create meaningful experiences for others.Currently I am working on residency with University of Atypical as part of Craft Month Northern Ireland.
My big joy is my solo show Viruses Nov-Jan University of Atypical which would include the pieces from Endangered. First art residence by invitation.
I would like to thank Feltmakers Ireland for the opportunity and all the hard work they have put in putting this exhibition together.
Niki Collier Visual Artist
Niki Collier, PhD