Tactile: New Directions in Textile features work inspired by the utilization of textile processes in the individual art practices of three Northeast Ohio artists. Lizzie Essi, Nyki Fetterman, and Megan Young employ techniques such as weaving, stitching, tufting, and punch-needle, while divulging from traditional textile media by including items like food packaging, discarded technology, works on paper, party favors, and glitter. Each artist in this show explores their relationship with material culture in a unique way. Essi and Fetterman both touch on ideas of consumerism; Essi does this through her use of discarded items and Fetterman, through her depictions of food. Young playfully uses non-traditional media such as dish-sponges and soda containers in her work to explore the aesthetic properties of familiar, everyday objects found in domestic spaces. In the foreword of Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art, Jenelle Porter writes, “As boundaries between art and craft have blurred, artists have increasingly embraced these materials and methods.” While each artist investigates different textile processes, each process explored in Tactile: New Directions in Textile, is repetitive and haptic in nature. Essi, Fetterman, and Young have their roots in media traditionally associated with fine art disciplines, but each artist has been drawn to creating fiber-driven work because of its tactile properties.
If you are interested in purchasing any artwork from this exhibition please contact Heather Meeker.
Lizzie Essi // Artist Statement
I believe in the interdependence of all things and that art has the potent and peaceful power of speaking directly to one’s spirit. I am constantly inspired by and learning from the infinite potentials yielded from working with found fibres and the myriad of responses textiles can elicit – both familiar and foreign.
Through many small accumulated actions of pulling both soft and hard materials through lush colorful threads, I create woven structures. Scraps of natural and synthetic materials coalesce within them– virgin wool, mercerized cotton, animal fibres of unknown origin meet with plastic garlands, beads and straws to become a fabric, a body, a matrix. The densely colored and richly textured fields of material offer an alternative experience of things that are often overlooked or cast off in the everyday: the true trappings of our collective time and culture, i.e. disposable items.
These works explore the emotive qualities of materials and become playfully abstracted within the boundaries of large-scale forms. The combinations of materials take on their own life, maintain their own authority, command attention and offer a space for contemplation. My process allows me to embrace idiosyncrasy, imperfection, the true nature of us as I analyze my own relationship to the world around me.
The practice of weaving is as old as human time, I use the age- old technologies of on-loom weaving in order to tell new stories, set new intentions and elicit new responses. Although materials are solidly secured and tamed within the structures, the gesture of the human hand is always emphasized. The materials come together to create a cacophonous symphony, a road map, a sacred scroll, manifesting alternative values of care, curiosity, trust, tolerance and transformation.
Mixed Media – crochet including reused plastics.
Mixed Media – weaving including natural and synthetic fibers.
13” x 15”
Mixed Media –stretched crochet in including natural and synthetic fibers.
Mixed Media –weaving including natural and synthetic fibers.
~18’ x 32”
Pricing available upon request
Mixed Media –weaving including natural and synthetic fibers
~5’ x 5’
Nyki Fetterman // Artist Statement
As a millennial, I am no stranger to economic uncertainty and political unrest. I was just entering tweendom when the twin towers fell. I graduated high school into a job market wrecked by the Great Recession. While I was failing out of my first try at being a first generation college student, friends of mine were entering a war that did little else than destroy their mental health. I have, however, never seen anything like the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has worked not only to destroy millions of lives, but it has also aided in the exposure of many political, educational, and professional inequities and inefficiencies America faces as a nation. The world as we knew it before March 2020 is gone.
So here’s what my work is about: it’s about the complete absurdity of right now. It’s about the experiences of a millennial climbing a mountain of debt and uncertainty with a brain full of dreams and a heart that’s slowly filling back up after learning to live in the past year. It’s about giving and giving and giving and losing every time, but walking away having learned. I use symbolism and humor to illustrate little silver linings. The ability to laugh at everything that’s going wrong is the only reason I’m still on this Earth. I hope I can make you laugh a little too.
Food is a symbol for power in this body of work. Often accompanied by insects or by elements resembling mold, food is made unappealing. The texture makes you want to reach and touch the work, but when you look at the food, I hope you think about biting into a pile of yarn and what that would feel like on your teeth. Probably a lot like capitalism! Food, so often, is associated with money in America. Food is fetishized. So is power. Food can also be grown and harvested in spaces as small as a 4x4x2 box! Food is a way to get the power back. My representation of food in this work really goes both ways. It’s saying that the sexy food is covered in bugs and hair anyway, and I think I’ll grow my own.
I began making this collection in September 2019, from a place of anger. I’m still angry, but this work has changed and grown into something freeing and beautiful, work that stands for the things that are wrong, but work that stands for resilience and for laughter and for an ideal future for me and all the people I love.
All The Riches
Acrylic Paint, Ink, Conte, Gouache, Fabric
The Meat of It All
Acrylic Yarn, Gouache, UV Gel
Price: $125 each, all 4 for $400
The Fruits of My Labor
Wool and acrylic yarn, Stoneware
Cotton, wool, acrylic yarn, glitter
Approx. 7ft tall x 3ft wide
Best Laid Plans
Acrylic Paint, Gouache, Embroidery Floss
As American As
Cotton and acrylic yarn
Approx. 3ft tall x 2.5ft wide
Megan Young // Artist Statement
What is this Contraption?My recent body of work is concerned with the playful use of everyday objects. I play with objects in order to learn something from them. The purpose of this play is also to reveal the inherent aesthetic and functional value of familiar objects. This is achieved by varying degrees of intervention, manipulation and reorientation, from minimal to more complex. These include digital scans, unusual pairings, and weavings, as well as a few other transformative processes.
My work views ordinary objects from an intentionally naive perspective. Our perception of these things is clouded by our familiarity with them. It’s difficult to escape our mental associations, especially subconscious ones. It’s easy to find beauty in eyes, a sunset, or a drop of water— not as easy in a mop, egg carton, or extension cord. If we suspended our beliefs about useful objects, we could see them more clearly. They don’t just have the potential to be beautiful; they are beautiful. Play makes this possible. Playing is choosing deliberately not to take the rules and expectations too seriously. Above all, freedom is required in play.
Approaching my work with an attitude of play also gives me the opportunity to see what an object is trying to say more objectively. Objects can speak. They say to us, “here is what you should do with me; grab me here, push me there…” If an object can be used “wrong,” then it should be used wrong, because that is what it is suggesting. Playing allows us to see the suggested “speech” of objects more clearly. Most objects have more functional value than we tend to give them credit for; they don’t just serve their intended purpose.
Objects, when played with, are given agency. They are active participants in play. They have a lot to tell us, if we will listen. This work encourages you to listen.
Area Rug, 2021
Brillo pads, string from deconstructed plastic sponge
5 x 7’
Woven soda boxes, yarn
19” x 5.5’
Objects for the Wall, 2021
Embellished egg cartons
Produce bags, thread
Please Note: All exhibits are subject to becoming virtual at our website, summitartspace.org, due to the global pandemic.