The art of weaving: An interview with Katrina Sánchez Standfield

Fiber artist Katrina Sánchez Standfield’s giant textile sculptures take weaving to a whole new level.

Born in the Republic of Panama and currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina; her art practice explores the connection between color, texture, touch, and humanity.

In this interview, Kat shares the experiences, people, and places that inspired her incredible art.

Fiber artist Katrina Sánchez Standfield

“My work explores ideas of community, healing, and renewal align. My artworks require many individual parts to come together to make a whole. At the heart of my practice is a drive to elicit a multi-sensory experience that engages the audience’s desire to play”

Katrina Sánchez Standfield

Can you tell us about your background? 

Growing up, I attended two different middle schools and three highschools, most of which did not offer any art classes. I was always a very creative child though, I loved making all kinds of things through sewing, baking, crocheting, and painting. My mother and grandmother were some of my earliest artistic influences. 

My higher art education started in 2013 at Central Piedmont Community College where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fibers from the University of North Carolina alongside a BA in Hispanic Studies. 

Since graduating, I have been a member of Goodyear Artist Collective, received a North Carolina Arts and Science Council Artist Support Grant, painted in the Talking Walls Mural Festival (with my partner Cheeks), and have had my art exhibited all over the United States.

Katrina Sánchez Standfield weaving installation
Katrina Sánchez Standfield weaving sculpture

What artists and thinkers have inspired you?

A few artists that have really inspired me include Sheila Hicks, Joana Vasconcelos, Tanya Aguiñiga, Ernesto Nato, Do Ho Suh, Ai WeiWei, Yayoi Kusama, and Toshiko Horiuchi-MacAdam. 

I really gravitate toward large scale work and installation art. As you can tell from this list, I love work that feels immersive and emphasizes form, texture, color, and that carries big ideas. 

You are currently creating some incredible large-scale textile sculptures. Can you tell us more about these?

Absolutely, I’ll start by sharing the story of their origin. Two weeks after finishing my undergrad, I started my artist residency at Goodyear. I was feeling a deep burn-out from my studies. 

Moreover though, my university experienced a tragic and deadly campus shooting during the final weeks of that semester. I remember being pulled into a classroom with friends as we were just about to walk outside. At the time, we were unknowingly near the active shooter. We waited in silence for hours. Tragically, two students were killed and four were injured. In 2019 there were at least 130 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 32 deaths, and 77 injuries nationally.

When the time arrived to start making new work, I didn’t know where to start. Prior to this, I would plan the concept and construction of my pieces thoroughly. This time it was different. I decided I would teach myself how to darn and mend clothing. 

Katrina Sánchez Standfield weaving sculpture jean sculpture
Katrina Sánchez Standfield weaving sculpture jean sculpture

It was a simple starting point and I chose my partners’ old cotton Levi jeans to repair. I stitched into them all over, in all kinds of stitches, which turned out to be a playful, experimental, and healing kind of process. 

The marks I created were messy and neat and in tons of different types of colors, thread, and yarn. I became very excited about weaving and textures but I wanted to fill the gallery with something more than an old mended pair of pants!

I realized I could recreate the textures I was sewing into the jeans by increasing the scale of the thread to that of large, stuffed knitted tubes. This technique gave me a new way to explore shape through different fibers.  

“Weaving different large-scale fibers amplifies the plushness and texture of the work. My sculptures evoke a desire for the viewer to touch and play. The familiarity of the textiles also offers a collective sense of intimacy, warmth, and joyfulness”.

KATRINA SÁNCHEZ STANDFIELD

Have you got any upcoming shows that folks can check out? 

Yes, I do! I currently have work in this really exciting exhibition called BIG BODY PLAY curated by April Dauscha. It’s open until September 10th at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina. The show has been curated in collaboration with Tiger Strikes Asteroid Greenville. It’s an exhibition that: 

“…uses humor and imagination to explore the banality of the everyday. This show uses playful colors and materials, in plus, oversized forms to celebrate boredom, experimentation, and absurdity. Addressing themes of the body, pop culture, nostalgia, and domesticity, this collection of soft sculptures highlights the fascination these artists have with their materials and their love of “playing” in the studio.”

Katrina Sánchez Standfield handmade scarf
Katrina Sánchez Standfield weaving sculpture
Katrina Sánchez Standfield weaving sculpture

Find out more about Katrina Sánchez Standfield

Check out Kat’s website, Fiberess, to learn more about her art – you can also buy one of her hand-woven noodle scarves!

Kat also has an AMAZING Instagram account that shares images and videos of her fiber art

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