I started my week thinking hard about contemporary fiber artists, and of course one of the first and foremost that came to mind was Andrea Zittel. I first learned about Zittel when I came across her show at the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo during the Christmas season of 2006. I walked into a room full of wool-felted dresses and my jaw dropped open. Her patterns were rough yet extremely beautiful. To me, her clothing work represented the ability for one person to make high-quality fashion using basic skills and materials. Zittel then came to Portland State University to lecture on her work the following school year. I was an art student at PSU at the time and I could not wait to attend. My husband and I showed up an hour early to secure a seat and it's a good thing we did because by the start of her lecture the room was so crowded that there were people sitting in the aisles. The lecture was, of course, fascinating and ever since I have been a huge fan of her work.
Here are a few images from her website. (Note: Zittel also creates living structures, furniture, performance and videos, and much more, but today I will be focusing on her textile work.) The following images are what Zittel calls her "Single Strand Uniforms".
She also has created Personal Panel Uniforms made out of geometric shapes such as these:
Here is an example of a Six Month Uniform which can be worn for six months as an outer-garment:
Lastly, here are some examples of her work with wool.
I was wondering what Zittel has been up to lately and I found this:
Indigo dyeing. Could she be more wonderful?
Well, the answer is yes, because listen to this. Zittel has a Smockshop, where independent artists create and sell Zittel-inspired smocks. There are hundreds to choose from and they are all great.
Even better: Zittel provides a smock pattern pdf link so that you can make your own.
If you're inspired to create your own smock let me know! Maybe we can get together and set up a little Smockshop of sorts in my kitchen and make some for ourselves.... Now wouldn't that be great?!