This August, artist and good friend of mine Francesca Carella Arfinengo has graciously invited us into her studio. I met Francesca while we were both in Art School and we became friends through the printmaking classes we took together and our shared interest in fibre work. Her work has been interesting from the get go, exploring themes of home and identity. After graduating she purchased a loom, dragging it up 5 flights of stairs to her studio and has been applying her determination and skill to creating large woven works. I am so pleased that we get to take a closer look at what she's currently up to.
Name: Francesca Carella Arfinengo
Medium: Fiber art
Website: fcarella.com (under construction)
Artist bio: Francesca Carella Arfinengo is a visual artist born and raised in Arequipa, Peru. She obtained a BFA from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 2014. She works primarily in print media and textiles.
What sort of ideas are you currently interested in?
I am interested in the politics of place and the fluidity of cultural identities. I have been thinking how cultural production in a globalized world is no longer particular to a place and to a people. I have been wondering where tradition fits in, how ancient crafts are making way to keep their relevance. Because of that I have been using natural materials and teaching myself textile craft techniques, yarn spinning, felting, natural dyeing and weaving to make my work.
I am interested in the handmade object because of its relationship with time, value and work. In a sense, objects that are made by a skilled person are assigned with a quality of purity. I like bringing these objects into contemporary urban life in the digital age, within the context of neoliberalism to engage in conversation about all those aspects.
What is the best thing about working with fiber?
It is very forgiving! There is plenty of room for experimentation and discoveries. Textiles are also very easy to approach for a viewer, their familiarity is a very interesting aspect to play with.
I also love that there is a very generous and patient community of textile artists/crafts people where knowledge sharing is the norm.
What is your favourite season work-wise?
I love the late summer and early fall. I believe that the sun energizes me a lot, so after enjoying almost non stop sun for the spring and early summer, I finally feel ready to produce. I also find it easier to sketch outside in the fresh air.
However my life is more dictated by routines than seasons. I do my best to keep experimenting, producing and sketching around my full time job and other volunteer commitments.
Do you have any rules for your art/art making?
I believe that movement generates movement. Since I am exploring new mediums and techniques I find that I can get stuck here and there when working on a project, so I have taken to drawing when that happens. I just draw whatever, play drawing games with myself and that helps to keep creative energy flowing.
Talking about my work with my peers is also important to me. There is just this specific moment (still learning to recognize it) when it is absolutely necessary to bring someone’s perspective into your idea. I feel that you need to have a certain amount of confidence in it first.
The other rule is that the work has to be approachable, and always honest. The art I make has to carry my own voice, knowing that it is still developing with each passing day.
Best thrift store find?
For sure this blue enamel pot I bought for dyeing. It is beautiful and it has been so well used already! I also love this 100% wool coat that I have for the winter, and this classic tan coloured linen summer dress…I buy almost all my clothes at thrift stores, so I’ll stop there :)
Big thanks to Francesca for sending in these photos and for sharing her work with us.
Happy Thursday Friends,