I have been working on the loom for many years and have come to understand that I have not exhausted the ways in which I can use weaving as an expression for the human experience. Throughout history textiles have documented cultural thought using symbols, metaphor and literal narrative woven into tapestries and other pictorial textiles.
From the beginning I was fascinated with the process of weaving, although once I was proficient I was no longer interested in just replicating a painting into a woven form. Rather, my work developed by making connections between what the process of weaving entailed – the way in which imagery was formed on the loom and how those processes influenced my personal imagery and narrative. By combining different woven structures I created pictorial weavings depicting the female figure to explore solitary moments in time and place.
During the 2008 US Presidential election, there was no mention of the growing water crisis, even though published reports stated that 40% of the world’s population was affected by water scarcity. As an individual artist, the one way I could conserve water was to stop dyeing my own yarn. I replaced color with white by using varying thickness of linen to explore how transparency and density can convey images and ideas, thereby eliminating the vast amount of water used in the dyeing process. The illusion of light in the Luminosities series is a powerful metaphor for the human spirit.
In my most recent series of work, I am weaving portraits of women I know whose stories parallel the broader issues facing women today. Using this ancient craft, largely associated with “women’s work,” I am weaving portraits in a loose, open structure that is both fragile and strong as a way of describing a new energy of women’s voices rising up around the globe. #MeToo, #TimesUp, #SpeakUp.
Cyndy Barbone is a textile and visual artist based in Greenwich, New York, where she lives and maintains a studio. Working primarily on the handloom, she creates pictorial weavings depicting the female figure to explore solitary moments in time and place. Over the years her work has been exhibited both regionally and nationally in invitational and group exhibits. Her awards include the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Crafts, which she received twice. Cyndy has an MFA from California College of the Arts and currently teaches at North Country Community College. She will be a guest instructor at Penland School of Craft in October 2019.
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