In their final capstone thesis projects the Parsons MFA Textiles class of 23 tackle some of the biggest societal issues through the most humble crafts, the smallest of stitches assembling into something great. Now in its fourth year the program’s graduation presentation entitled Portal featured any combination imaginable of hand and machine craft, embroideries, knit, weaving, crochet, wall hangings, sculptures, and apparel.
Carolina Trinker explores the relationship between technology and humans in the aftermath of a global pandemic, and how technology helped us maintain contact while also fostering a sense of isolation. Her thesis, entitled “Stitches Apart,” intertwines woolen cords and wires, geometric structures, cable knit and hand tacking in a patchwork landscape of shirting, remnants of the zoom-ready attire of the work-from-home professional during lockdown. When light activated, the project flickers alive like a computer screen.
Rafia Khawar’s crayola-colored knit structures denounce the laws of her birth country Pakistan that prevent girls and women from gaining an education and becoming active members of society. Suspended objects resembling looms and chairs coated in knit emphasize the limitations of the women’s domain while slogans stitched into the whole blare in protest,“Her Choice, Her Right,” or “Strong Women Strong Society.”
For Lin Qiqing’s poetic tapestries entitled “Don’t Believe A Word,” the designer incorporates hand-spun book yarn, calligraphy paper yarn, Japanese paper yarn, wool, and cotton, using natural dyes such as marigold, indigo, logwood, and cochineal. A former journalist, she still exposes truths through the properties of paper, but rather than on newsprint, she weaves, addressing issues such as immigration, politics and feminism.
Sydney Santostefano’s modular installations which include 3D printed blocks integrated among hundreds of hand crocheted triangles using recycled fibers transform that pastime associated with grandmas everywhere into a contemporary multi-use art piece to be worn or hung in any sized space or on any body.
Working in acrylic, cashmere, cotton and wool, Xiaoying Cao’s thesis, "Into merged reality, an alternative fantasy,” explores unconventional 3D knitting structures to build a surreal, imaginative, dreamy modular system combining unique textures that are either wearable or appear to intriguingly float in the air.