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BY HILARY GIFFORD

Copyright 2004-2017

Hilary Gifford - Custom Cloth

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Artist’s Statement

My formal training includes a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking and painting. I have sewn since a child and have found combining these three arts allowed me to interact with people’s lives most directly.

Since 1980 I have been working with fabrics full time, making sellable, “wearable art”, decorative fiber art for the walls or functional fibers for the home. Although most of my output is one-of-a-kind, I have designed for other designers and scarf and fabric companies, had my designs produced in Switzerland, established and run a wearable art boutique, and taught textiles at Syracuse University. I am interested and inspired by the links between art making and production (the machinery and technology), one’s chosen materials, and the intent, purpose or goal.

Color, gesture, texture, and their relationship endlessly interests me. I make a print of a gesture, or mark, and record it, not as an image but as an impression captured in color on cloth that touches the senses. I use dyes rather than paints and choose light-weight silk, cotton and rayon instead of heavy canvas. I believe color and design play such big parts in our lives. People respond and have relationships with color and texture. These are sensual experiences, surrounding us and consuming us. Design helps us to fit into the greater world confronting us. The colors and designs we choose will define and reflect our spirit and experience.

Painting with dyes is unique because unlike paint, dyes are thin transparent films of color that have an elusive presence within fabric’s structure. The fabrics, especially silks, take the colors in a rich, glowing way that I believe cannot be matched with paint and canvas. I am currently focusing on a monoprinting and painting technique, achieving spontaneous, gestural, and unexpected textural effects not possible by other means. I choose fabrics which allow the completed work to be cut and shaped into objects that warm, comfort and decorate. My objective is for my fabrics to participate in life.

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