Monday, January 17, 2011

Darlyn Susan Yee Interview

Clockwise from top left are selections from Darlyn Susan Yee’s three bodies
 of fiber artwork: Tying The Knot (detail), Body Cocoon No. 4, and
Security Blanket.
Hand knitting and manipulated machine knitting techniques are combined to create Darlyn Susan Yee’s Body Cocoon series.

In a prior interview you discussed your knotted work, which is what you are most known for. Are you still working the same way, or has there been a shift?

I’ve been working simultaneously to expand three distinct bodies of fiber work. In each, I apply traditional fiber methods to create three-dimensional forms. I continue to enjoy knotting the most. It is also the most detailed, representational and labor intensive work I create. Some of my knitted sculptures are a bit more portable at certain stages of their life cycles. This portability makes them ideal to stop and start when I am traveling. I'm also working on a series of knitted projects using and cast-off and obsolete materials such as barricade tape, correction tape, etc. These range from wall-hung pieces to freestanding sculptures.

You are still working with fiber, but how is the knitting different than the knotting?

My sculptural knotting is done with multiple strands or lengths of fiber hand tied together to form the fabric surface.

My hand knitting is generally created by using two needles and a length of yarn or string resulting in a fabric structure of interlocking loops. I also incorporate other tools, which replicate the movement of the yarn across the needles to create this flexible fabric.

What is hand manipulated machine knitting? Are these pieces hand knit, or by machine? Will you elaborate on your process?

Knitting on the machine I use is similar in nature to weaving on a hand loom. It relies on my hands to move the needles into the desired positions, and then to move the carriage across the needles to create the fabric. Once I remove the fabric from the machine, I manipulate stitches and add more knit or crochet to contour and finish the piece.

I understand that some of these pieces are just returning from an exchange exhibition in Slovakia, can you tell us about that? What was exchanged? What was the experience like? Did you go to Slovakia?

After Hours/Individual Stories was an exchange project between Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana and Galéria Z in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was exciting to assist in unpacking the crates of Slovakian artwork for display at OCCCA. And it was so wonderful to meet some of the Slovak artists in attendance at the exhibition. Unfortunately, I was unable to travel to Slovakia, but from the reception photos, the artwork sent by OCCCA artists was as well received as the Slovakian artwork was received here in the US.

What's next?

I really enjoy fiber processes. I plan to continue applying traditional techniques to take my work in exciting new directions. I’m in the design phase on a very large-scale project. And I'm anxiously awaiting the publication of my first book, Macramé Today: Contemporary Knotting Techniques, in July 2011.

Darlyn Susan Yee


Darlyn Susan Yee's exhibition opens February 1, 2011.

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