Alicja Kozlowska is a contemporary fiber artist creating 3D embroidered felt sculptures of everyday objects. She is inspired by daily life, mass culture and drawn to things we may not pay special attention to with the goal of making the viewer realize art is even in the most obvious places. Working intuitively, Alicja doesn’t start with a plan or sketch when creating her art.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
From an early age, art was present in my life. I started my artistic path very typically, from the adventure with graphics, sculpture, and painting. In parallel, as if involuntarily, reaching for textiles. I sewed, embroidered, and crocheted, being constantly stimulated by the reality surrounding me, including current political, environmental, and mass production problems.
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Searching for my way, I have created a unique technique that is a combination of painting and artistic tailoring. I replaced paint tubes with hundreds of different textiles, and I replaced the tip of the brush with a needle. This is a perfect combination, which allows me to realize my passion.
What do you do differently? What is your signature that makes your work stand out as yours?
I think what makes my works unique is that they are funny and seemingly trivial, but after deeper reflection, they carry a deep message and potential for interpretation. I also think that the technique I use is something new.
What inspires you? Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
I’m inspired by daily life, everyday objects, mass culture, all things to which we do not pay special attention, which are an indispensable part of our everyday life. My goal is to make the viewer realize art is contained in even the most obvious objects.
What different creative media do you use in your work?
Countless different ones. I’m trying to expand the textiles by combining it with techniques from an entirely different fields, for example porcelain, 3D printing, resin, etc.
Do you plan your work out ahead of time, or do you just dive in with your materials and start playing? Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
It’s very intuitive. Usually, there’s no plan nor sketch behind. It’s a raw art process.
How do you manage your creative time? Do you schedule start and stop times? Or work only when inspired?
I work mainly when I’m inspired (which is luckily very often). When I start, I can’t stop! It’s really addicting for me.
Are you a “finisher”?
I think so… I like to finish the work before I start another piece, but It’s not always possible.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
I have my studio where I keep all my materials and equipment. This is my little creative world. It’s pretty messy, but it’s an artistic mess 🙂
What are the indispensable tools and materials in your studio? How do they improve your work?
Besides the obvious ones like sewing machine and endless boxes of textiles, essential for me is my big table where I construct my sculptures. Another one is my cart where I keep all my threads and tools like scissors and needles.
Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
I prefer to do one project at the time, but it’s not always possible.
Can you tell us about the inspiration and process of one of your works? How does a new work come about?
I am looking for mass production products that, on the one hand, have an interesting shape and recognizable logo and, on the other hand, can be a tool for articulating ideas. Felt pattern is my base. Depending on the intended purpose, I use different fillings and fixing techniques. When the skeleton of the construction is ready, thread painting begins. I embroider by hand and using a sewing machine with open toe embroidery foot with lots of interesting stitches.
Which part of the design process is your favorite? Which part is a challenge for you?
I love all the steps, from making the research to thread painting. The most challenging is construction because it’s easy to make a mistake at that point.
Does your work have stories to tell?
Of course, every sculpture has its own story. For example, the sculpture called ”Andy” is particularly close to me. It is a banana peel, inspired by Andy Warhol’s banana. It was my first work exhibited at the museum.
I also used my banana in many of my ”performances” at museums, shops, on the street, … I surprised people by placing it in crowded areas and then watched people’s reactions.
“Andy” was created in 2019 from felt, cotton and other materials commonly used in art quilt and embroidery techniques. This work is a part of a “EMBROIDERED ORDINARINESS” but has an added meaning.
Despite the fact that mainstream pop art is considered out-of-date, I created “Andy” as a modern-day look at pop art that still surrounds us in life and work.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I would like to briefly mention my new project called “i.d.” The inspiration for that project was a global view of the diversity and individuality of people around me. I took into account the aspects that connect everyone regardless of age, profession, or nationality. Each of us lives differently, looks different, but there are things that connect everyone around the world. Undoubtedly, there are many common parts, universal for all the people. I was looking for everyday items, and in a sense, intimate items. I wanted to present the characteristics of ordinary inhabitants of our planet but in an unusual way. This will show how different we are and how similar we are at the same time.
Each of us has at least one drawer for things needed immediately, although sometimes completely unnecessary. It’s hard to get rid of them, they’ve always been there, often forever. My project is a study of different drawers, interpreting different personalities and showing different parts of the world. My drawers will be made using many techniques, included in the term of the broadly understood “artistic fabric”, which will undoubtedly give them originality and emphasize the uniqueness of this field of art.
It’s very simple to become a co-creator of my project, just send the form with a photo of your drawer to the e-mail address provided. All the informations and form to download you can find on my website: https://www.alicesidea.com/project. Selected entries will be sewn by me and become part of the installation.
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Interview posted May 2023
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