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The Forgotten Craft of Fabric according to Elizabeth Anyaacustomerservice@forgottengreats.com

Personal Analysis

"Fabric" is a strong word. The word "Fabric" encompasses everything around us and on us and in us. Phrases such as "The fabric of life" are used often. The shirt and the pants and the dress are all fabrics. The "fabric of free institutions" holds everyone together while the "mental fabric" prevents each individual from going crazy. The "social fabric" embodies the whole of society. In fact, the word "fabric" can refer to any building, structure, arrangement, construction, pattern, textile, or cloth. These uses of the word "fabric" are only a few we use in everyday life.


Regardless of all the different uses of the word "fabric", the most common use of the word fabric is to describe "cloth". How did "cloth" become the most dominant definition for word "fabric" when there are so many meanings? The answer is simple. Textile designers like Elizabeth Anyaa force people to think of the word "fabric" as beautiful items such as elegant upholsteries, delightful rugs, wall hangings, and figure-accentuating clothing.

Below are some comments made by Elizabeth Anyaa in an interview.

Some of the interview is dictated below:

Introductions

Renata I am here today with?
Elizabeth I am Elizabeth Anyaa.
Renata Can you spell that for me?
Elizabeth A-N-Y-A-A is the last name.
Renata And where are you from?
Elizabeth From Sierra Leone.
Renata How did you happen to become the artist that you are today?
Elizabeth I always had a passion for design and I had the opportunity to go to northern Europe to study.
Renata What part of northern Europe?
Elizabeth Finland.
Renata So from Sierra Leone, you went to northern Europe. How long where you there?
Elizabeth Too many years. [laughing]
Renata [laughing] So I take it you didnít like northern Europe?
Elizabeth Oh, I loved it. I would go back.
Renata What is the best thing about it?
Elizabeth I studied [laughing] what I love!
Renata So tell me, what is your area of expertise?
Elizabeth I do textile designs and manufacturing.
Renata And what in northern Europe did they bring to Your art form?
Elizabeth They do the best craftmanship. They have very good craftmanship in fabric.
Renata And from there, what were your travels after that?
Elizabeth I went around Europe and then here.
Renata And how long have you been in the United States?
Elizabeth Too long. [laughing again]
Renata Well I can understand that [laughing as well].
Elizabeth Well, very long. Yea, one day is a long time isnít it? [laughing]
Renata Yea, it can be [laughing]. Depending on where you are [suggesting Dallas] absolutely. When you were in northern Europe, did you sell some of your artwork there?
Elizabeth I had a lot of solo exhibitions and also worked for an architect.
Renata And from there, you came here and you are currently at one of the artistic lofts in downtown Dallas.
Elizabeth One of the residence lofts at Southside.

Design

Renata How did you happen to enter that program?
Elizabeth I was first, no actually, one of the first that was chosen for the fashion incubator or [should I say] one of the first designers for the fashion incubator. Which is fashion, of course [and makes a symbol with hands] and I did that for a bit and came over since the fashion incubator was housed in Southside [Southside on Lamar Residential and Commercail Lofts].
Renata So tell me about your art form.
Elizabeth Basically textiles and I still use the old forms of textiles which is weaving and felting which was the first fiber ever made so I do a lot more with felting at the present.
Renata So felting was the first fiber ever made and that fiber is made of what?
Elizabeth From wool.
Renata Wool? Okay, so is it fine or is it heavy?
Elizabeth It depends because wool comes in so many different forms and it is basically whatever type of wool that offers different textures and different looks.
Renata Which wool do you prefer?
Elizabeth It depends on what you are making because if you are making carpets or you are making hat pieces, you have to use the wool for what it is. If it is going to be in an area that has light or if its going to be in an area thatís dark so it depends on what the end use is. Or if its clothing [for example]. It depends.
Renata So you actually make art that people can hang on their walls as a wall hanging but you also make wearable art as well.
Elizabeth Yes
Renata So from carpet to scarves to clothing, what else did I leave out?
Elizabeth You know what, I do a lot of place mats.
Renata Really, for peopleís tables?
Elizabeth Yes. I do that. You havenít been down to the studio yet, huh?
Renata No, but I plan to come tomorrow or whenever you have time.
Elizabeth Okay. Yea. So we do a whole bunch of stuff.
Renata So is it just you or do you have a team?
Elizabeth I have a team that I work with and we get to show in some specialty stores.
Renata Oh really, is it okay to tell me?
Elizabeth We are in negotiation with them but I am in Tom Collins Gallery, she has some of my stuff and I just took some stuff out to indigo.

Weaving

Renata So let me know as you expand and go to other stores so we can have that on the web site. It surely wont hurt [smiling]. So when you made your first piece, how old were you?
Elizabeth I think I was just walking out of the womb [laughing].
Renata So you have always been doing it.
Elizabeth I have always done it. First of all, of course, its clothing and a lot of tie-dyeing, american call it shebori tiedye, japenese call it shebori american, people call it tie-dye but its all the same thing. You tie it you resist.
Renata So what is the proper name for it.
Elizabeth They are both correct. All kimona are done with tie-dyes but they call it shebori. It is their word that they use.
Renata How do you spell that?
Elizabeth It is S-H-I-R-B-O-I -R. It is a japenese word for tie-dye, for resist, it is anything you resist when you dye it. It is just a fancy name. Tie-dye is what I call it.
Renata So out of the techniques you use, which technique is the hardest?
Elizabeth I enjoy all of them so I can not say which is the hardest but some take more time.
Renata So which takes the most time?
Elizabeth Weaving is.
Renata And the short definition for weaving is what?
Elizabeth It is how your skirt was made. That is a knit.
Renata So I will have to take a picture of my outfit. [laughing]
Elizabeth [laughing] I can tell a woven fabric is woven and a knit is knitted and a felt is a non-woven fabric which is purely by friction. You see how your hair [renata has locks or dreads] is. That is basically how felt is.
Renata Really?
Elizabeth Because its hair fiber that is curly and wool has under the mcroscope is curly and matted together and its felted.
Renata So from felted, what is an item that you can make from something felted?
Elizabeth The fabric that goes into boom boxes, into pianos. Felting is in a whole lot of things.
Renata Car apolstery?
Elizabeth Car apolstery? Yes, can be felted but it is mostly woven.
Renata So, in our everyday lives, we come across all these different types of textiles and we are not even aware of it.
Elizabeth Or a material that has been made using a textile form.
Renata Or a textile form would be like what?
Elizabeth Like weaving.
Renata So when you weave with metal you are creating what?
Elizabeth Those are art pieces definitely. Because I weave with metal but it is still a textile form. But those are art pieces.
Renata Art pieces?
Elizabeth Yes, for the wall. It is not utilitarian.
Renata So, do you prefer utilitarian or wall hangings?
Elizabeth I love both because I can do it.

Teaching


Renata Is there anything in the textile world that you are looking forward to conquering next?
Elizabeth I think it is to make people more aware of how actually textiles is in everyday use and its interesting because I teach an after school program at ? but kids think fabric comes from Hancock.
Renata How long has you been teaching there at the after school program?
Elizabeth Just this semester [Spring, 2009].
Renata And how has it been going so far?
Elizabeth I love the kids.
Renata How are they responding to learning about where textiles really come from?
Elizabeth That would be a good question to ask them.
Renata You know what, that may be a very good follow-up story. I will probably have to contact the school and you would have to assist me with that maam. [laughing]
Elizabeth [laughing] It would be a good question. I know they love it. I donít like talking about people so.

Business


Renata Okay. Is there anything you would like to add? Your website perhaps?
Elizabeth It is my name which is basically elizabethanyaa.com.
Renata And on the website, do you do custom work?
Elizabeth Actually, that is what I like to do. That is what I prefer to do.
Renata Why?
Elizabeth Because I love people and I love just sitting there and listening to what they want and making it happen.
Renata So, based on the interview process that you take them through, you create a design from that.
Elizabeth Yes
Renata So do they chose colors or what?
Elizabeth Yes, they give me an idea of what they want because people tell you, ďOh, you just do itĒ, but they do know what they want. That is my experience [with people].
Renata So, for instance, what is the check-off list. If someone was to come to you and they want something custom, they need to know the color?
Elizabeth They donít need to know that. They do not need to know anything. I will get it out of them.
Renata Oh, okay.
Elizabeth Because a lot of people, both here and in Europe, I donít know what I want, you know, you do the best if itís clothing. [Actually] I donít do clothing custom but if itís like world pieces or fabric for the floor or unique window treatments, those are things that I like to do.
Renata But no scarves?
Elizabeth Scarves, of course. Well [pause] that is an accesory.
Renata So, any accessory, but not wearable [such as] no pants, skirts, dresses,Ö
Elizabeth The only thing I do is an limited line of jackets.
Renata Why?
Elizabeth Just because I make the fabrics and I want to keep it very special. So itís like an art form and I donít do mass production. That is not what I am about. It is my art piece. You can not produce two of the same piece.
Renata So in your limited line of jackets, how many in your line?
Elizabeth I have three styles and then five hundred pieces.
Renata So they are all custom sized?
Elizabeth Yes.
Renata So how long does it take to get one? If someone places an order with you for a custom jacket, how long?
Elizabeth It may take [a while]. It depends on the time, of course.
Renata When you say time, what do you mean?
Elizabeth Time of year.
Renata So you are most busiest when?
Elizabeth Because I do a lot of wool so its linked to time. So people know that so becoming aware that its better to start early.
Renata So depending on the time of year, thatís when they can order their jackets and get them. So if they order them during the summer, the average time?
Elizabeth At least two months.
Renata If they order during the winter?
Elizabeth [laughing] Well [pause and laughing more] it is depending on the style but we can make it happen but at least two months.
Renata Okay. I would love to come down to the studio and take some pictures if you allow me. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Elizabeth No.
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