10 Mind-Blowing Textile Artists You Should Follow on Instagram Right Now
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10 Mind-Blowing Textile Artists You Should Follow on Instagram Right Now

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By Jen Woo
These fiercely talented and visionary artists will have you rethinking fiber art.

Weavers, sculptors, embroiderers, and beyond, these contemporary textile artists are redefining the boundaries of fiber art. Drawing from age-old techniques to reflect and challenge contemporary issues, these textile artists are redefining attitudes towards the ancient art form.

Elena Stonaker | @elenastonaker 

Artist as Muse life drawing at Museum of Old and New Art. 

Artist as Muse life drawing at Museum of Old and New Art. 

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Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary artist Elena Stonaker layers hand-beading and embroidery to create whimsical, raw depictions through soft sculpture, wearable art, paintings, moving image, art direction, and performance. Her feed stands as a broad portfolio encompassing all the various styles of her creations from intricate headdresses to life-size sculptures of plants, faces, bodies, and animals.

Erin M. Riley | @erinmriley 

Erin M. Riley depicts a familiar contemporary trope—a woman taking a selfie—through traditional craft. 

Erin M. Riley depicts a familiar contemporary trope—a woman taking a selfie—through traditional craft. 

Brooklyn–based Erin M. Riley’s evocative wool tapestries portray women’s lives, many of them taken from iPhone photos or Pornhub stills, forcing both herself and the viewer to confront what otherwise might have been scrolled past. Her hand-dyeing and weaving process upholds the experiences of contemporary female life—from sex and masturbation, to trauma and identity, to self-care and pop culture—through an ancient art form.

Gabriel Dawe | @gabrieldawe

Plexus no. 40 at Paradise Art Space.

Plexus no. 40 at Paradise Art Space.

Hailing from Mexico City, Gabriel Dawe melds fashion and architecture in an investigation of shelter via site-specific installations. Through textiles, he examines gender and identity in his native home with a goal of reinventing norms around masculinity.

Sarah Zapata | @sylk_z 

Sarah Zapata's Curriculum exhibit at EFA Project Space.

Sarah Zapata's Curriculum exhibit at EFA Project Space.

Peruvian-American Sarah Zapata examines craft and sexuality through technicolor yarn. Her female and queer identity figure hugely in her work, as well as her relationship with her heritage. She was born and raised in Texas, and to connect with her background, she picked up traditional Peruvian weaving techniques, fusing them with American rug-making and dance. She uses her works as vessels to channel the movements of Peruvian women in performing arts.

Hannah Epstein | @gdgrlhanski

Hannah Epstein with her work at Art Brussels.

Hannah Epstein with her work at Art Brussels.

Hannah Epstein melds folk craft, contemporary art, and pop culture through her multidisciplinary practice that crosses boundaries between textiles, experimental games, and digital video. She's a trained folklorist capturing the chaos of the day-to-day in cute and fuzzy, but semi-scary woven creatures. Think: dark depictions of cats, monsters, and pop culture icons like bald Britney Spears.

Caroline Kaufman | @crosekauf

Caroline Kaufman's work at Textile Arts Center.

Caroline Kaufman's work at Textile Arts Center.

New York City–based textile designer and artist Caroline Kaufman creates experimental textiles, collages, and paintings in an exploration of the intersection between color, texture, and pattern. Themes that bubble up include nostalgia and memory, childhood methods of creating, and time—rendered in multifaceted, multilayered woven art.

Tessa Perlow | @tessa_perlow

A close up of Tessa Perlow's embroidered faces.

A close up of Tessa Perlow's embroidered faces.

Tessa Perlow embroiders stunning, intricate designs. Out of her needlework, faces appear, flowers and houseplants bloom, organs pulse, and animals come to life. Embroidery hoops and garments are awash in multihued threads and beads in imagery that's equal parts folk-inspired and edgy.

Meghan Shimek | @meghanshimek

Meghan Shimek and her largest piece to date at Google.

Meghan Shimek and her largest piece to date at Google.

For Oakland–based textile artist Meghan Shimek, weaving was a form of therapeutic healing. Following studies of tapestry, Navajo, rigid heddle, and floor loom weaving, she developed her own signature style in response to personal loss. What began as an exploration in comforting, fuzzy textures has become large-scale woven hangings and sculptures.

Julia Bland | @whoalia 

Julia Bland's "Underbelly" exhibit at Helena Anrather.

Julia Bland's "Underbelly" exhibit at Helena Anrather.

The work of Julia Bland lies at the intersection of tapestry, sculpture, and painting. Through dyeing, weaving, stitching, knotting, and burning, she creates hanging geometric forms. Her foundation lies in her experiences in Morocco, where she studied Islamic art and Sufism; its architecture and symbolism inform her work, which explores how spirituality is manifest in natural and urban spaces.

MOMDALF | @momdalf

This isn’t your grandmother’s needlework: MOMDALF's images take on themes of death and rebirth—think snakes, dripping blood, and skeletons, and florals.

This isn’t your grandmother’s needlework: MOMDALF's images take on themes of death and rebirth—think snakes, dripping blood, and skeletons, and florals.

MOMDALF a collaboration between tattoo artist Jessica Gandalf Intelisano and her mother Joanne. Based in Santa Rosa, California, Jessica sends her designs back home to her mom, who lives just outside of New York City. Joanne then recreates her daughter’s paintings through intricate embroidery.

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