Monday, December 16, 2013

Artist Spotlight : Hand-painted Silks Scarves by Joanna Alot

Joanna Alot is a hand-painted silk artist, constantly creating beautiful clothing, paintings, and accessories.  Whether it is a geometric, floral, or abstract print, Joanna always creates something new.  Join Joanna as she takes us through her creative process, inspiration, and even some can't-miss Chicago attractions!

How does art influence your life?

Living life is art. I experience art all around me - the way I create, live and play; how I dress and what I eat - all of these aspects of my life are opportunities for me to reflect and express myself. In this way, I also appreciate the artistic vision that goes into everyday objects by designers and craftsmen. Art takes on many forms, you just have to be open to seeing and experiencing art in its many - and sometimes less obvious - forms.

My inspiration stems from my everyday experiences. From my work studio, I soak in a fleeting sunrise or the seasons changing colors that surround me. Framed by my studio windows, maple tree branches are dressed in vivid and richly textured leaves – I interpret these as compositions ready to be painted on silk and shared with my clientele. I appreciate industrial design as well, finding inspiration in man-made objects, like the elegance of musical instruments or the simplicity of beautifully crafted cutlery. Art isn't an abstract concept for me - I actively experience it and then translate those responses to my art, my craft, my passion for creating.

What is the best advice you ever received?

It was years ago when I was in college. I was perpetually traveling, seeking new experiences and new places. In an effort to refine my skills and take in all of these new environments, I always traveled with my drawing board. It was on this board that I wrote the best advice I received - advice I keep to this day: "Nie daj czasowi darmo płynąć." Translated from Polish to English, it means, "Each moment is precious, don't waste your time." This is the motto of my life and my work as an artist.

What is your favorite piece of art in the Art Institute of Chicago?

The Chagall Stained Glass windows. I was always fascinated by the techniques employed to create stained glass windows. Growing up in Poland, I was enchanted by the windows in St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciol Mariacki) in Kraków, Poland - they are some of the most beautiful windows I have ever seen. Some of my favorite memories are from traveling throughout France, where I visited the Gothic Cathedrals of Notre Dame, Reims and Amiens, these cathedrals had such stunning royal blue stained glass windows. So when I saw Chagall's work at the Art Institute, I instantly connected with his work and was attracted to the genius of his artistic vision. 

What are your favorite things to do in Chicago?

I enjoy so much about Chicago, it's hard to choose! Some of my favorite Chicago experiences include visiting Millennium Park, especially Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion. The Civic Opera is one of the best operas in the world and the Geoffrey Ballet has some of the most beautiful performances I have ever enjoyed. When I'm hosting friends who are visiting Chicago, I take them for an Architectural Boat Tour. You can experience the best of Chicago's contemporary architecture, as well as the most interesting views of this vibrant city, from the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. It's a must on my list.

What is your creative process like?

The entire collection of scarves, ties, and other accessories are hand-painted on 100% silk.  The process begins with pristine white, starched silk.  Dyes applied during the painting process are alkali (Proction H Dye – made in the U.S.A.), and are permanently fixed by steaming under high temperature and pressure.  A finish of gold or copper print results in unusually beautiful and inspired material effects.  Finally, the silk fabric is specially treated to enhance color and smooth texture to ensure many years of enjoyment.

Thank you Joanna!  Click here to see all of our products designed by Joanna Alot.

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