Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Workshop with Abigail Kokai

Surel's Place is a non-profit artist in residency program.  Artists work and live in a house in Garden City near the river.  This month, Abigail Kokai is the residence artist.  She hosted several workshops, building fabric collages, these past two weekends in conjunction with her residency.

The workshops were free, but you had to register.  I went to one this past Saturday to find out what kind of techniques she uses in her work.  Kokai is a young artist who has lived in several different places.  Her work captures the sense of place through her "everyday stories."

Kokai will be talking about and showing her work completed during this residency this Thursday, Jan. 29, at Surel's Place, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

She spoke a little of her process during the workshop and her impression of the area in Garden City. Kokai told her own stories of how some of the artworks came to be.

Here are a few sketches and works in progress she had on the walls.

Workshop participants with works in progress on the wall.

Detail of a truck.  The black outline of the truck was done with painting or drawing on a sheer fabric then layering it over a gray fabric. In the background on the left, you can see where Kokai stamped an image on the background fabric.  Her method of working is very collage-like, attaching the elements, sometimes with glue, sometimes with fusing and then going back with stitching later.  She incorporates both machine stitching and hand stitching in her works.  She also uses all different kinds of fabrics.

Here is the fabric stash she had for the workshop students to use.

The workshop was very informal, with not much instruction. She showed us, through slides, the progression of steps for one of her pieces.  Then, we were just free to make up our own fabric collage based on our own "everyday story" (or not).  She would help if you had questions.

I just played with the fabrics to put together some small abstract piece.  I glued the pieces down and brought it home.  I don't know if I will finish it or not.

If you want to learn more about her process and the artwork she's done for the residency, attend her talk on Thursday.  I think you will find it very interesting.

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