From Craft to Fine Art: Meet the Female Artists Redefining Fiber Art

Textile art has often been relegated to the corner of the art world, seen only as utilitarian, everyday decor. But views on the practice have been slowly changing since the Feminist Movement of the 60s and the postmodern theory in the 80s, when textile artists began experimenting with more conceptual, sculptural projects. We can point to the weavings of Sheila Hicks and Tanya Aguiñiga’s immersive installations as a shift from craft to fine art.

Threadwork: Women Redefining Fiber Arts includes 17 female-identifying textile artists, co-curated by India Balyejusa, Associate Curator, and Siting Wang, Assistant Curator at Saatchi Art. Their collective body of work – mixed media tapestries, handwoven art objects, and tactile wall hangings – continues to push the evolution of textile art forward by re-contextualizing traditional techniques and using lots of unexpected materials. What was once considered “women’s work” – needlework, knitting, quilting, and crocheting – is now at the forefront of contemporary art.

orange, red, black, green, and white textile art

Offshore by Andie Grande, France (Sculpture, 35.4 W x 35.4 H x 1.2 D in)

Included artist Andie Grande highlights our changing environmental landscape through the use of plastic, synthetic fibers. “Recycling junk for the mere sake of recycling is not enough,” she said. “I strongly feel that praising matter for its own sake is more fulfilling, and art is the best way of looking at discarded materials as a resource for creation.”

multicolor textile wall hanging

Topography by Vanessa Valero, Colombia (Mixed Media, 25.6 W x 53.1 H x 1.6 D in)

Colombian-based textile artist Vanessa Valero has a heavy focus on the process she employs to capture the ephemerality of the human-nature connection in one-of-kind hand-tufted pieces. She shared, “My work captures the passing moments in the natural world, snapshots taken through careful observations and sketches and then preserved in each of my textile designs.”

abstract black, grey, and gold mixed media art

Holding On 1 by Aby Mackie, Spain (Mixed Media 40 W x 52 H x 0.1 D in)

Elsewhere in the exhibit you can find the textile wall sculptures of Aby Mackie, made using discarded and found objects and materials in the street of Barcelona. She uses these bits and pieces to tell the story of the city’s residents and ongoing cultural concern, such as materialism, consumerism, value, and memory.

mixed media wall sculpture

Threeasone by thera hillenaar, Netherlands (Mixed Media, 5.9 W x 13.8 H x 3.1 D in)

Netherlands-based Thera Hillenaar has trained experience as a fashion and costume designer and scenographer. Her skills are transferred into the creation of 3D sculptures that use leather strips from clothes and furniture, and wooden toy blocks.

These are just a few of the incredible textile artists featured in “Threadwork: Women Redefining Fiber Art,” keep scrolling to see more or visit the exhibit virtually here.

abstract black scultpture

Sylvaine Nude No. 3 (The last tree) by Andreea Talpeanu, France (Sculpture, 39.4 W x 65.7 H x 15.7 D in)

silver mixed media art

Diamonds & Rust by Amadi Greenstein, United States (Mixed Media, 27 W x 42 H x 0.2 D in)

abstract sculpture covered in a rainbow of yarn

Imaginary Topographies by Carmen Mardonez, United States (Sculpture, 28 W x 46 H x 38 D in)

framed neutral colored mixed media artwork

Sewn Study No. 20 by Demi Overton, United Kingdom (Mixed Media, 11 W x 14.6 H x 1.2 D in)

multicolor textile wall hanging

Hot Landscape by Femke van Gemert, Netherlands (Mixed Media, 83.9 W x 63 H x 4.7 D in)

sculpture made of black textile circles

Empiler n°9 by Gourdon Frédérique, France (Sculpture, 11.8 W x 15.7 H x 1.6 D in)

collage art in orange, black, blue, yellow, and pink

blue note by Jeeyon ‘G’ Roslie, United States (Collage, 17 W x 21 H x 0.2 D in)

neutral colored wall textile art

Gypsy tapestry by mariadela araujo, Spain (Mixed Media, 35.4 W x 47.2 H x 7.9 D in)

four black and white mixed media pieces in a series

Silent are The Ghosts of Stones by Leili Khabiri (Mixed Media, 23.6 W x 31.5 H x 0.1 D in)

textile painting of a brown-skinned person

FRAGMENTED PB/FM-01 by Puja Bhakoo, India (Paintings, 16 W x 23 H x 1 D in)

geometric abstract pink artwork

Harbinger by Susan Smereka, United States (Printmaking, 16 W x 21.8 H x 0.3 D in)

textile wall sculpture in shades of white, yellow, and green

Everything Will Be All Right by T U S S A H, Japan (Mixed Media, 14 W x 18 H x 4.3 D in)

black and grey mixed media textile art

Phantom Distinction 10 by Yvette Kaiser Smith, United States (Mixed Media, 28.5 W x 24 H x 0.5 D in)

To learn more about Threadwork: Women Redefining Fiber Arts, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she’s likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.

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