Waxman Textile Prize 2022
Mohawk Group is proud to sponsor the Waxman Textile Prize, an annual design competition that seeks out the next generation of innovative textile designers. Organized by Trend Union as part New York Textile Month each September, the 2022 Textile Prize jury was comprised of Elissa Auther, curator at the Museum of Arts and Design; Kristine Upesleja, founder of Madisons Innovative Materials; Sagarika Sundaram, assistant professor at Pratt; and Royce Epstein, A&D Design Director at Mohawk Group. The judges – along with Li Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano from Trend Union - were inspired to see materiality, creativity, and sustainability in the student work.
There were over 200 entries from design students around the world, with a shortlist of 20 finalists. The jury recognized several themes embedded in the student work, as well as a response to our post-pandemic world. Sustainability is now ever-present, especially with a focus on using waste materials, but with a new interest in foraging for dyes and fibers, use of indigenous materials, and respecting slow design and craft.
The winner of the Waxman Textile Prize for 2022 is Tal Narkiss, from Shenkar College of Engineering Design and Art. Tal’s project called Kelim, which means “vessel” in Hebrew, is a project spanning centuries of meaning. She was inspired by her grandparent’s collection of antique vessels made of earthen materials, and took that inspiration into contemporary, three-dimensional craft through textile.
She used linen and paper yarn, soaked them in soy milk to prepare for dyeing, and then dyed them with soil from the Israeli desert, a connection of textile to the earth, and a sense of place and history. The yarns were then hand woven in layers to create a three-dimensional form.
These new vessels are a contemporary interpretation of vessels from antiquity that are mostly damaged and viewed as no longer useful. The new textile vessels raise questions concerning the influence time has over the meaning of materials, identity, and essence. Congratulations Tal for an exceptional and poetic project, one of beauty, craft, and showing how textiles can bridge culture and history.
The jury also recognized five additional projects with the designation of Honorable Mention:
Amy Lewis, from the Design Academy Eindhoven, for the Ghost Urchin sandbag stool made from discarded fishing nets. Amy took us through her personal journey from sea diving to rescuing nylon fishing nets to transforming these nets into fibers that could be woven and repurposed, transformed into stools for use at the beach and sea. She showed us the value of waste materials and how they can become new beautiful design.
Our next Honorable Mention is Liisa Torsus from the Estonian Academy of Arts. Liisa felted and knit indigenous wool garments that were inspired by the ethnography of seals. Her approach was both one of historical connections to place, nature, and culture, and to biophilia, connecting the garments textures to the rocky coast as well as the seals themselves. The jury appreciated the exceptional handcrafted process and finished product.
Next, we recognize Sofia Guridi from Aalto University. Sofia created a new innovative textile from cellulose that transmits light by using LEDs. She created double weaves and pocket weaves for the light transmission, conveying a sensorial experience of wellness for the wearer through this smart textile.
Next, the jury really enjoyed the work of Mitch Frank, from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His project explored the theme of Grass to Garment, which is about slow design and the process of making natural textiles from the ground up, as well as celebrating origins of natural textiles. He also focused on the traditional processes of loom weaving to honor this craft. The jury appreciated his efforts to revive textile industry in this manner, as we know that globalization is a threat to textile craft in today’s world.
Our last Honorable Mention is Armatou Toure, from Central Saint Martins in London. Armatou’s project “Oh Family” is a series of garments honoring a deep sense of place and cultural roots through materiality. She explored her heritage from the Ivory Coast as well as through her neighbors and community, looking at how materiality can connect us to the circle of life.
Mohawk Group congratulates all the students who participated and shortlisted in the Waxman Textile Prize. The future is bright!
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