The Threads and Powders: An Iowan Fashion & Textile Exhibition at Englert Theater, produced and directed by YAZZIEWONPHON, will feature seven textile artists.
Olive Phan, or better known as YAZZIEWONPHON in the art world, comes from the printmaking industry. Two years ago, she learned that soft fabrics can be manipulated to change their composition with threads and powders, and began to integrate her knowledge of printmaking into textile design.
âI want to create an event that features this specifically,â Phan said. âI want a lot of people to interact with these basic building blocks: threads and powders. “
And so Yarns and powders: an exhibition on fashion and textiles from Iowan was born, a composition of the works of seven local textile artists, which will soon be exhibited at the Englert Theater of the Douglas and Linda Paul Gallery.
Many of the artists featured in this exhibition also come from printmaking backgrounds, as well as sculpture and ceramics. Christian Woodruff, who received his BFA in sculpture from the University of Iowa in 2019, will show a piece that combines the three requirements of the exhibition’s central theme: durability, transformability and opulence.
âIf we could push for durable things to be seen as opulent, I think that would be amazing,â he said.
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Sustainability is also essential for artist Jager Palad. Prior to attending the Graduate School of Printmaking at UI, Palad worked as a technician for several department stores. While he was working, he saw material warehouse floors go to the landfill. He began to collect clothes and materials in large quantities. UI sculpture teacher Isabel Barbuzza taught him to stiffen the material, he said, by merging his experience in printmaking with sculpture.
âI’m taking something that was originally sweet, sultry, and personal, and actually the exact opposite. I make it hard and scaly, âPalad said.
Artist Jamin Shepherd spends his time weaving. His wife is a seamstress and knitter who owned an unused loom. When he saw it, he felt the urge to create art. He described himself as someone who always aims to be creative in one way or another.
âAs I learned to work on the loom and learned a little bit about weaving, and started making them, I found them to be really therapeutic,â Shepherd said. “I also found them to be a really wonderful exploration of my interest in colors.”
Originally there was to be a fashion show with the exhibition. This part of the event was postponed due to time constraints and funding issues.
âIt was just a variety of things that I couldn’t get enough funding for and people couldn’t answer the call,â Phan said. âBut I don’t give up on that stuff. I’ve always wanted a fashion show, and there will be a fashion show next year.
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Phan said she wanted to continue her plans for Threads and Powders through more exhibitions, but also through a magazine. Its goal is to spotlight active and emerging artists from across the country who work with these core elements.
The artists all seem to agree on what excites them most about the exhibition.
âI’m really excited to watch the work of other artists. I think they’re all great artists, âShepherd said.
Palad and Phan agreed, and Phan added that she was particularly excited to explore the exhibition’s themes with other artists through their work.
âWhat excites me the most is talking about these things with these people and having these conversations between these artists, because I think that’s where the purpose of the threads and powders starts to merge, that’s where people start to see the blend, the relationship of how these disciplines kind of blend together, âPhan said.