Tag Archives: fiber art


Sarah Detweiler: mOTHER

A solo exhibition by Sarah Detweiler, presented by Paradigm Gallery.

April 23 – May 22, 2021

Sarah Detweiler, Life of the Party, Oil on Canvas, 16”w x 20”h 
(oval canvas with beveled edge)

Paradigm Gallery is pleased to present mOTHER, a solo exhibition by figurative painter Sarah Detweiler. mOTHER features 12 new vibrantly haunting works from Detweiler’s ongoing series, Hidden Mother, which adeptly subverts the portrait form and instead, focuses on a woman’s self-imposed perceptions and expectations that a mother attaches to their identity. Her evocative paintings use concealment as a way to reveal deeper truths. mOTHER marks Detweiler’s first solo exhibition at Paradigm Gallery and will be on view* from April 23 – May 22, 2021 with a virtual opening on Friday, April 23 at 5:30PM, RSVP is required: 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sarah-detweilers-mother-opening-and-live-qa-tickets-1505768303 53

The Hidden Mother series was inspired by a trend in Victorian portrait photography in which mothers concealed themselves in fabric while they held their children still for long exposure photographs. Detweiler’s images remove the children, showing only the women covered and posed alone within each frame. In this way, they are both hyper visible and hidden. While the artist used herself as the model for previous works, her new collection turns her gaze toward other women, thus expanding the view of motherhood as both a connective thread and as an experience that is unique to each individual. 

Though the series has been ongoing since January 2020, mOTHER marks the first body of works where Detweiler collaboratively created the pieces with her subjects. Detweiler worked closely with her subjects to best tell their stories, intuitively translating their experiences and feelings onto the canvas. By personalizing her paintings to her subjects’ stories, their life experiences shine through the patterns and colors of the work, even as their faces are obscured. Though Detweiler knows her subjects personally, in maintaining the anonymity of her subjects, she preserves a universal relatability — the woman under the shroud could be you, your mother, your friend. 

Sarah Detweiler: mOTHER, The Night Owl

The paintings in mOTHER include hand-stitched embroidered elements that add texture and dimension, while alluding to a craftwork traditionally associated with femininity. The stitching is often only noticeable upon closer inspection, reinforcing the significance of that which is hidden in plain sight. The resulting images in this exhibition are deep, vibrant, and fantastical. They express their subjects’ ambivalence, acceptance, and embrace towards their changing roles as mothers, all while celebrating the true multiplicity of their identities. 

Detweiler opens the conversation around transformation and identity, honoring each woman’s existence beyond motherhood. Her powerful images are both eerie and whimsical, cathartic and hopeful. Though the subjects are hidden on a superficial level, the coverage actually allows the artist to see more deeply, revealing them in new and beautiful light. 

*Due to COVID-19, ”mOTHER” will be open for regular weekend hours with limited capacity and is available to view by private appointments during the week until further notice. The digital exhibition twin is available on https://www.paradigmarts.org/ for viewing from home. 

These policies are dependent on the current policies of the CDC, WHO and the Governor and Mayor’s offices. Paradigm Gallery’s number one priority is the safety and wellness of their visitors. For live updates on the exhibition and appointments, please visit the Paradigm website and socials. For any questions on Paradigm’s current policies, please email info@paradigm-gallery.com. 

About Sarah Detweiler 

Sarah Detweiler is a Philadelphia area-based, mixed media painter. Her experiences as a woman and mother are explored through figurative narratives created with a combination of embroidery with oil, acrylic, gouache, and watercolor.

Sarah has a BFA from the University of Delaware in Visual Communications and a Masters in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has exhibited in group and solo shows in various locations including New York City, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chester County, PA and Philadelphia. Sarah has been featured by The Jealous Curator, Create Magazine, Making Art Films, and Thrive Art Studio. Her work has been published in Uppercase Magazine and Create Magazine. 

Sarah’s art centers around themes of fertility, motherhood, female empowerment, and the human experience. 

About Paradigm Gallery 

Paradigm Gallery + Studio® was established in 2010 by co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. The gallery exhibits meaningful, process-intense contemporary artwork from around the world. Now open 11 years, Paradigm Gallery is globally recognized and known as a tastemaker within their greater Philadelphia arts community. As the gallery grows, it maintains its original mission to keep art accessible. Through monthly donations, free public art installations, and initiatives like Insider Picks, Paradigm Gallery, continues to be a champion of small businesses and emerging and mid-career artists. 


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zo8Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of ArtTiddim Woman’s Wedding Mantle (Tawnok), 1900–30, Myanmar (Burma), Chin State, Tiddim Township (Gift of David W. and Barbara G. Fraser, 2014-70-28)

Art of the Zo: Textiles from Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh, Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an exhibition of woven textiles made by the Zo peoples of South Asia, including works that range from ceremonial tunics and wrap skirts to mantles, capes, blankets, and loincloths. Art of the Zo: Textiles from Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh features traditional weavings worn for daily life and ceremonial occasions, such as weddings, funerals, and feasts. The exhibition comprises works from the Museum’s collection of costume and textiles, supplemented by gifts and loans from David W. and Barbara G. Fraser, coauthors of Mantles of Merit: Chin Textiles from Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh (2005).

Art of the Zo, Haka High-Ranking Man’s Mantle (Can-lo Puan) Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Haka High-Ranking Man’s Mantle (Can-lo Puan), 1900–40, Myanmar (Burma), Chin State (Purchased with funds from the proceeds of the sale of deaccessioned works of art, 2006-57-1)

The exhibition showcases the patterns, techniques, and local variations that contribute to the beauty and craftsmanship of these woven treasures. Zo weavers create textiles that vary from unpatterned, indigo-dyed cloth and simple, colorful stripes to complex weaves that could be mistaken for embroidery. Among the highlights is a cotton blanket produced in a warp-faced weave around 1900 that would have been used in ceremonies for the sacrifice of a mithan, a semi-domesticated, ox-like animal. Also included is a Dai woman’s gray and white wedding blanket, woven between 1920 and 1960, which would have been created for a bride by her mother, along with shoulder cloths, decorated with glass beads and metal bells, which could double as baby carriers. A variety of men’s loincloths are on display as well, woven of cotton and silk.

Art of the Zo, Lauktu Woman’s Head Wrapper (Tonpauk La), Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Lauktu Woman’s Head Wrapper (Tonpauk La), 1910–20, Myanmar (Burma), Rakhine State (Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2006-1-23)

In addition to textiles, various adornments are featured in the exhibition, among them earrings, bracelets, and necklaces made of metals, glass, and mirrors. The exhibition includes an example of the back-tension looms made of bamboo rods and wooden sticks that are traditionally employed by the Zo peoples to produce their fabrics. The simple loom is shown with a partially woven cloth next to a finished example from the Museum’s collection to offer insight into the weaving techniques. A video presentation, photographic details of selected works, and graphics of specific weave structures further demonstrate the virtuosity of Zo skills.

Art of the Zo, Laytu Man’s Tunic (Khrangimm)Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Laytu Man’s Tunic (Khrangimm), 1920–40, Myanmar (Burma), Chin or Rakhine State (Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2006-1-18)

The Zo peoples, of Tibetan-Burmese origins, have lived for hundreds of years in mountainous regions of South Asia. They comprise about fifty linguistic groups, culturally related through affinities of language, the values surrounding their textiles, and the structure and technique of their weavings. Prior to the arrival of missionaries in the mid-1800s, they worshiped ancestral spirits and spirits dwelling in nature. Today most are Christian. Encouraged by missionaries to give up their traditional textiles, today Zo weavers continue to produce these culturally important textiles and frequently sell them as collectibles.

Art of the Zo, Khami Woman’s Breast Cloth (Akhen)Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Khami Woman’s Breast Cloth (Akhen), 1920–50, Myanmar (Burma), Rakhine State (Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 2006-1-6)

In Zo communities, textiles have long conferred status on the weaver and document the wearer’s merit in this life and in the afterlife. The textiles are woven exclusively by women and are prized as the highest form of art. The exhibition explores how these works are made and worn, and features early to mid twentieth-century examples from specific localities and cultural divisions, such as the Northern Chin; Southern Chin; Ashö; and Khumi, Khami, and Mro. Although today most Zo people increasingly adopt Burmese and western attire, the weaving traditions are being preserved through the efforts of textile experts like Pa Mang, Nu Shwe, and Mai Ni Ni Aung, who have engaged master weavers to produce contemporary pieces for sale and to train the next generation of weavers. Some of these are available in the Museum Store.

Art of the Zo, Utbu Woman’s Mantle (Pachang Sungkyar)Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Utbu Woman’s Mantle (Pachang Sungkyar), 1930–80, Myanmar (Burma), Magwe Division, Sedouttaya Township (Gift of David W. and Barbara G. Fraser, 2014-70-23)

David Fraser stated: “These extraordinary textiles offer us rare and exceptional beauty. As records of the artistic traditions that illuminate Zo values, they also are highly valuable in preserving a living culture. Among the Zo, men create the looms, and they also make utilitarian baskets. The women create the art and they are much respected for it.”

Art of the Zo, Haka Woman’s Ceremonial Tunic (Kor)Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Haka Woman’s Ceremonial Tunic (Kor), 1940–70, Myanmar (Burma), Chin State (Purchased with funds from the proceeds of the sale of deaccessioned works of art, 2006-57-5)


Support for this exhibition is provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd.


Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles, with consulting curators David and Barbara Fraser


Joan Spain Gallery, Perelman Building, ground floor, The Philadelphia Museum of Art

About David and Barbara Fraser

David W. and Barbara G. Fraser have been studying the artistry, structure, and cultural importance of Zo textiles for fifteen years. Their book, Mantles of Merit: Chin Textiles from Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh, won the Millia Davenport Publication Award of the Costume Society of America and the R.L. Shep Book Award of the Textile Society of America. Their work also garnered the Ancient & Modern Prize. They have curated exhibitions of Zo textiles at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., the University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery, and Denison University, and David Fraser has co-curated an exhibition at Haverford College. Barbara Fraser is a member of the Advisory Council of the Textile Museum. A retired financial services attorney, she is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Emory University Law School. David Fraser is a member of the Costume and Textiles Advisory Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is a research associate at the Textile Museum, a consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and a master artisan of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. A former president of Swarthmore College, he is a graduate of Haverford College and Harvard Medical School.

Art of the Zo, Mizo Woman’s Ceremonial Wrapped Skirt (Puan Laisen)Art of the ZoPhiladelphia Museum of Art, Mizo Woman’s Ceremonial Wrapped Skirt (Puan Laisen), 1950–70, Myanmar (Burma), Northern Chin State or India, Mizoram (Gift of David W. and Barbara G. Fraser, 2014-70-25)

Exhibition hours

Tuesday–Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Social Media

Facebook and Twitter: philamuseum ; Tumblr: philamuseum ; YouTube: PhilaArtMuseum ; Instagram: @philamuseum

The Philadelphia Museum of Art
is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Thank you to The Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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Laima Oržekauskienė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Laima Oržekauskienė, Daily Life Series, 2010, “Ritual Washing Feet“, digital print, synthetic fiber, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

LTextile is a collection of contemporary textiles created by local and international artists associated with the Vilnius Academy of Art in Lithuania. Lithuania borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south and the Baltic Sea is to the west.

The Vilnius Academy of Art (LithuanianVilniaus dailės akademija, previously State Art Institute of Lithuania) in VilniusLithuania, grants a variety of degrees in the arts. The academy was created as a separate entity in 1940; it had previously been part of Vilnius University. It was closed during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, and re-opened in 1944. In 1951 it was organized into the following departments: painting (including frescos, mosaics, and theatrical design), graphics, sculpture, architecture, and ceramics and textiles. – Wikipedia

Lina Jonike, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Lina Jonike, Flower Seller, 2008, digital print, embroidery, linen, silk, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

The LTextile art show mixes traditional fiber arts with high tech printing and weaving. Throughout the exhibition there is a wonderful exuberance, a liveness unrestrained yet with an underlying code like a secret message. Tapestry, weaving and crochet all rely on mathematical formulas to create a fabric and within the mathematics can be hidden a message like a secret code. DoN talked with Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Krista Bard about the mystery.

“So, when the Soviets took over after World War II, everything, all the schools, the businesses, was run by the State. Under very strict rules. You know? We talk about censure now but it’s almost incomprehensible to us in the U.S. culture because we have so much freedom, we’re not a perfect system yet, but, compared to the rest of the world our Democracy is fairly evolved. And we are moving in the right direction.

It’s only when you get into, when you see, an oppression, or you’ve lived through an oppressive situation, when you experience it, then you recognize it. When I went to Lithuania the first time in 1988 there was only one business that was privately owned, it was the first business that was privately owned. Everything else was run and dictated by the State.

In a sense, art survives. No matter what. And luckily the Soviets did not totally suppress art and culture but they put very strict rules in the subject matter. You were only allowed certain subject matter. But because of the symbolic nature of art itself, they found, Lithuanians and the other occupied countries, a way to express themselves none the less. And I think it actually strengthened their ability. Art, you can’t stop art. Anywhere. It’s not possible to do that. “

Severija Inčirauskaitė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Severija Inčirauskaitė, Installation: Autumn Collection “Ladle, cover, grater, milk-can, watering can”, Found metal objects, cotton, cross-stitch, drilling”, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

“So, they kept creating. And they just developed another set of skills. There is one work of art in the middle gallery where at one point the Soviets did try to stop the language and stop religion. So religion was forbidden. What they did anyway was they used the Russian alphabet but they still wrote in the Lithuanian language.

They wouldn’t let themselves not find ways around it. There was a whole underground movement. Imagine? It was like Fahrenheit 451. Imagine if you were not allowed to speak English anymore. And all your books had to be hidden.

They wanted to suppress the language. Lithuanian and Latvian are the only remaining Baltic languages where we don’t understand each other. We’re talking about censoring the whole language. It was like, ‘OK. Now everything is going to be written in Russian. Or Chinese. That’s our official language.’ And suddenly you’re not allowed to speak your language anymore. There is no way you can suppress a language.”

Žydrė Ridulytė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Žydrė Ridulytė, Copper Cloth, 2009, weaving, semi-wool, wool, cotton, wire, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

“The denial. You know? There’s a term that says, ‘What you resist persists.’ You can’t suppress people. It doesn’t work. It actually tended to make people more patriotic and make them stronger in their desire to preserve their culture. And more clever about it.

The other thing the Soviets did is they relocated people. It is true that most people do not realize that the Soviets are considered to be as brutal as the Nazis were. They transported, Lithuania is three million people, they deported 300,000 people out of Lithuania. They were re-populating, sending people to work camps. And even if you didn’t go to a work camp all during the Soviet era they were physically moving people. We had no choice.

You and I could move to another city and go get a job somewhere else. But they would tell you where to go and they consciously wanted people to move to other places so they could systematically destroy the culture. And now in Lithuania there is a large population of Belarussians, of Poles, of Russians.

I was there when they sand-bagged the Parliament. It’s interesting the Lithuanian President was a musical historian. He’s a musician. He’s not a politician. It”s just people doing the right thing.”

Laura Pavilonytė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

DoN asked Krista Bard how the Lithuanians overcame Soviet oppression? Was there other pressures going on?

“You can analyze it, historians do a far better job than I. My sense is it was a moment in history where forces came together. There’s only so far and so long that you can subjugate people. Now, of course, hindsight shows me that, but, at that time I never thought it would be possible. Things are constantly changing, there are opportunities. It’s very inspiring. It reminds me as I go through my days – what are the tunes that I’m not singing? What possibilities are there that I’m not seeing? What do I take for granted as it’s just the way it is? Well, that’s not true of anything. Everything can change. Soon Lithuania assumes the Presidency of the European Union. It’s an extraordinary moment. It really is.

Here in America we have such a vast country where we all speak the same language. And it’s all the same rules. We’re not forced like other countries to learn other languages or know our geography in quite the same way. In Lithuania a comparable thing would be like driving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and if you cross over into Ohio you’re in a totally different country that speaks another language. We would have to learn. But that’s what it’s like there.”

Laura Pavilonytė, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Fiber arts are a major element of the Philadelphia art scene from Philadelphia University’s heritage of textile and science to the yarn bomber tags to fashion design and fine art. Fiber arts is taught in most of Philadelphia’s art schools. Philadelphians love finding one of Kathryn Pannepacker’s fence weavings creating a pop of art in unlikely locales. DoN wondered what the social life of young artists is like now in Lithuania? Is it like the university town vibe of Philly? Krista Bard said,

“Yes. It’s similar and there’s a strong emphasis on the whole center. The old town of Vilnius is an international historic site. Much like a good part of Philadelphia is historic and is on the national register. It’s unusual. There are a lot of comparisons: the emphasis on history, the emphasis on design. I think we think that we’re the only people in the world where X, Y & X are happening and yet the whole world is coming along together.

The internet has made communication and idea sharing very available. I will say this, though. I look at what’s happened in Lithuania, since I’ve been going there since 1988, seeing how quickly they adapted and adopted to a free market system. And to democracy. And even if you look at the art, all of the new ideas that are there, it’s like they were hungry for innovation. And they embraced it. There is an energy around. Even in the Soviet system there was still a high respect for art and culture.

Even Evaldas Stankevicius, Cultural Attaché to Lithuania, he’s in Washington and helped with this exhibition, had to serve in the Soviet armed forced. But because he had gone to art school he was given art duties. During his service he drew thirty-seven picture of Lenin.”

Aleksas Gailieša, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

DoN commented on the feminist aspect of the embroidered papers strewn across an embroidered table cloth. Pages of text embroidered with traditional images like flowers are lined up along the wall. Some of the text is even embroidered.

“What this is is from her dissertation. It was the bureaucracy, it was her way – she was over-burdoned by the bureaucracy – and how could she possibly make something beautiful into this? Is there any way that any of this could make any sense? She did. This is not hand done embroidery, it’s embroidered on a machine. She said, ‘These documents mean nothing to me. There has be something, some beauty, on them.’ She calls it Red Tape. Because this is the red tape she had to go through in her life. So her life is all woven up. Along with the coat and the bag. Your identity is wrapped up and she just wouldn’t tolerate having it be left alone. This was her statement to turn it into something pretty.” – Krista Bard

Aleksas Gailieša, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Egle Ganda BagdonieneLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Vladas Daškevičius, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Vladas DaškevičiusLTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Philadelphia Art Alliance curator, Sarah Archer joined the conversation with some salient points.

“You know, Philadelphia Art Alliance is small and any time we get a chance to do something international we feel it’s a wonderful thing to bring to Center City and make it accessible to so many people. And also share that this is the tip of the ice-burg, it alerts people to media, design and contemporary craft and art that is not heavily on the radar.

Even walking through the show with the curators, the co-curators from Lithuania are in their forties and early fifties, I think, and they really ran to their embroidery because it’s something from their cultural archive. It’s something that their grandmothers did and that kind of happens all the time with artists. Ranging from Chile with Sheila Hicks who had a show at the ICA, to people like Sabrina Gschwandtner’s film quilts downstairs. Those are the kind of things that use feminist craft history and documents to creat non-comfortable, non-cozy artworks.”

Jurga Šarapova, LTextile, Philadelphia Art Alliance

Jurga Šarapova, Yellow Green Red, 2012, set of three bigger mugs, LTextilePhiladelphia Art Alliance

Sarah Archer continued, “There are lots of artists using these forms as almost an anonymous heritage that as women in the 21st Century, none of us were brought up to sew or we just do it for fun like knitting, time to unwind because we all work. So, it’s not the equivalent of being taught to sew as a child in 1910. Where your destiny is to be a Mom and darn socks. That’s totally different.

I still have all my grandmothers sewing and knitting things. My Mom was sort of a hipster in the 70s with embroidered jeans and I sort of love that line of activity, that sort of is keeping it alive in a way. But with a contemporary twist. Because it has, in our day and age, a totally different context. It means something else to embroider today. Duchamp wasn’t embroidering in 1911, there was not an art world equivalent to fiber art in that context.

This is a wonderful way to show people that it’s international. And every part of the world has textiles. We can’t live without them. We are sheathed in fiber. There’s a woman named Sonya Clark who said at a lecture, ‘If you think about it there are fibers touching you right now in places where it would be inappropriate to touch yourself in public.”

Discover the secret codes hidden in LTextile for yourself at the Philadelphia Art Alliance through August 18th, 2013.

LTextile is organized by Egle Ganda Bagdoniene, Vice-Rector at the Academy of Arts in Vilnius and Philadelphia Art Alliance Curator Sarah Archer.

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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Alex Stadler, stadler-Khan, scarves

Alex Stadler, stadler-Khan, scarves

DoN spotted stadler-Khan designs at the InLiquid V.13 exhibit in the Crane Arts Center. There was a moment when a beautiful lady wearing a jacket made in the diamond pattern, but in a different color way, were in the same space at the same time as a display of patterned, woven scarves. It was magical, Kiki Gafney Philadelphia painter, created a mini performance piece just walking by the table. The bold pattern draws attention, Alex Stadler designs the pattern and color combinations to be bold, exciting and strong.

Alex Stadler, stadler-Khan, scarves

Alex Stadler, stadler-Khan, scarves

“I opened here on June 1st, we’ll have our one year anniversary. I started the scarf company in the Fall of 2011. The store really started in a way to show my textiles. But, man can not live by textiles alone, so, I just started making the store that I always wanted it to be.” – Alex Stadler

Alex Stadler, stadler-Khan, furnishings

Alex Stadler, stadler-Khan, furnishings

“So, it’s a mix. The ceramics are from the middle of the last century, I have a special table now for Waylande Gregory, we have him as well. He lived from 1905 to 1971. I work with his estate so I have a lot of pieces by him. He had pieces in the 1939 Worlds Fair and got lots of commissions, this work is work he did for high end department stores. As a money-maker.

I’ve always done well with textile design, that’s one I did for Donghia. In 2010 I really focussed on my children’s books and writing them and then I just missed pattern, so it was time.” – Alex Stadler

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