Amabelle Aguiluz

What was it like studying in Italy?
Italy was a very eye opening experience for me. I immersed myself in the culture and the language. Everything was inspiring and creatively I had a new way of seeing the world. Italy was where I encountered machine knitting. Learning this technique in Italian was definitely a challenge for me but I was so fascinated with how the machine functioned and all the ways you could manipulate patterns. I was not the best knitter, I had no idea what I was doing but I felt a strong urge and passion to understand the machine and it became a way to express myself – to communicate my thoughts and create art

What was the transition like between fashion and fine art?
I think there are a lot of times that I see a lot of connecting ideas when I create art and when I design. With clothing or commission work there is a different set of problem solving to create something functional or create something to an exact proportion. There are definitely a lot of times that my artwork will inspire a clothing technique or a wearable sculpture will give new ideas for an installation piece. Right now they feel like they are different ideas, which is just how my process works. I know this may change and that’s okay too. ​
Tell me about your process. 
My love for the ocean and exploring is a constant force in my work and so is sound and movement. There is a direct link to how one can feel and how one can heal their bodies through all of these elements. I am interested in finding the connection of the senses, rhythm and intuitive machine knitting by exploring  repetitive patterns. My process changes depending on the specific work but the materials and the environment seem to decide what will take ​shape and come to life. Right now I am working with found waste materials, recycled yarns and a lot of bright colors and texture so I’ve been focusing on the materials, space and form.Water Stories is a wonderfully intriguing collaboration. Tell me more about that. I met Artist Clare Graham at the Craft Museum of Folk Art while I was there doing a machine knitting demonstration. He encouraged me to meet with Stephanie, choreographer and artistic director of Szalt and composer, Louis Lopez. We set up a meeting and from that point on we started collaborating and building a new project together. The work seemed to flow pretty naturally. I decided to pursue it because it fell in line and was similar to a lot of the work I have been developing on my own so I could relate to the themes and felt a lot of real possibilities of what we could achieve collectively as a group. The new body of work is starting to reveal itself and it has been an exciting journey to see the transition from an idea to completed artwork.You just started your residency at MorYork Gallery in January. Tell me a bit about your experience there. 
MorYork Gallery is incredible, there’s not one time I’ve gone in there without feeling inspired and full of ideas. You can get lost in the scale and intricacy of the work. Each piece in the gallery has it’s own story and history. The experience has been really great. We see how each of our separate mediums interact with the space and how they will all come together for the performance show. The MorYork space has greatly influenced my work and brought the installations and wearable structures to life. Clare and I have discussed the construction and structures for the installation set pieces and how they will function in the space. We continue to expand different boundaries within our own practices by creating new forms in our work and this has brought a lot of growth within my practice. I feel that I have a better understanding about sound and dance and how this all relates to my textile work. We are all in a place of pure experimentation and the ways in which we are collaborating and building gives each one of us freedom in our disciplines. It is a really exciting time.

What other mediums have you used or want to try?
 I’m curious about translating sound into my knits and I’m really excited about creating new pattern formations using new experimental tools. Sound elements have been an important part of my work and I hope to continue to collaborate with musicians and writers to continue exploring these ideas.
What advice do you have for emerging artists and designers?
Find a community that will embrace and support you and keep learning.
Amabelle has been invited to be part of several different events this year. Keep an eye out for her new work and use the following links to learn more about her residency at MorYork Gallery, the dancers of Szalt, and their collaboration Water Stories.

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