My studio practice is a conversation on empathy and resilience. The process converges science and art to develop textile pieces. Each piece pulls us to a safe space to question and connect with others. I am very involved with wool fibre as its limitless possibilities in both surface design and function invite both scientific approaches and rich artistic expressions to the playground of imagination. In fact, my curiosity and energy often needs to be curbed rather than inspired when it comes to wearable technology embodied into the arguably oldest textile craft- felt. My textile sculptures of microorganisms – viruses, germs and reproductive cells – present complex technical challenges and prompt conversations with wide and varied folk. As a professional artist and educator, I aim to develop a rapport with each other and empower us to embrace who we are.
My work reflects both my education and background. I have meandered between science (PhD in Computer Science from UCD) and art (BA in English Studies from SU, Bulgaria) (HC in Design Studies from DIT) and teaching (MA from SU Bulgaria). My background challenges daily the concept of home and us and them -an immigrant with disability – I myself yield to the perceptions of otherness regularly.
My educational meandering has informed the development of my microorganism series. In my sculptural work, I interpret deadly viruses to comment on the complex relationship we experience between form and function. The Common Cold, the Vomiting and Diarrhoea bug and AIDS have gained a special status though my work as I developed them as wearable technology pieces. The series has manifested my nerdiness not just in choice of narratives but simultaneously in my thirst to have detailed knowledge of an area. I document and disseminate the process meticulously in terms of origin of materials and their behaviour. One of the pieces in the microorganism series, The Human Egg, has allowed me to reach in to a deeper understanding of textures and their complexities. It has deepened my passion for fibre authenticity. A fibre sculpture is a true reflection of the fabric of community – the idiosyncrasies of wool emulating the idiosyncrasies of us.
The insights, which the felting process has given me, have been reflected strongly in my most recent collaboration – a visual art project that has evolved over the last three years to reflect on change. The work, entitled Celebrations, profiles the evolving make up of a community through geographical, cultural and personal change. The artistic conversation is how festivals and customs reflect and manifest this. The models in each visual narrative are authentic members of the Bulgarian community. They are selected based on their personal connection to a festival, holiday or custom.
Currently, I am looking into developing a body of work: headpieces and garments which interpret the perception of powerful women. The pieces would evolve from understanding of dual nature our traits. My technical goal is to explore consistency of colour in pieces which are juxtaposed in texture- solid complex sculptures and delicate textured garments. The underlying question is: ‘‘Why are we afraid of Virgina Wolf and could we still get away with it?’’ I would be applying for some support for my work, but I would be doing it regardless of whether I receive it or not. If I believe in something, I need to get it out of my system. The journey is my necessity, the possibility to communicate it to others is a privilege and an award which I often have not been granted.