Etta Sandry is an artist, educator, and organizer currently living and working in Chicago, IL. Etta received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a focus in Fiber and Material Studies. Etta is a co-Director of the contemporary art website Make Space and teaches at Marwen in Chicago. She was a resident at ACRE and a Technical Assistant at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. She had a duo exhibition at ACRE Projects and has been included in group exhibitions at Tom Robinson Gallery, the Sullivan Galleries, and the Plaines Project.
My work focuses on translating symbolic imagery such as handwritten text and party decorations into woven forms. I see this imagery as elements of social code that make up our cultural language, similar to the binary code and crossing of threads that make up woven cloth.
In these woven pieces, text is used as a mode of communication, often monumentalizing ephemeral thought, sentiment, experience, and objects through the laborious process. At the same time, the text reflects on weaving as a process-based medium and on the formal aspects of the final woven object.
My handwoven party decorations draw on the familiar forms of banners, bunting, and confetti. They explore the social meanings of these cultural symbols, such as celebration, fun, companionship, inclusion, as well as fear, discomfort, and exclusion. Commercially produced party decorations are intended for temporary use, usually only one night. I reproduce these objects using the intensive handcraft technique of weaving on both floor looms and digital Jacquard looms, turning these ephemeral symbols into lasting objects. The party decorations are broken down into basic forms and translated through different steps of the weaving process, both as a way to challenge the technical aspects of this medium and to explore abstraction.
Through these pieces I explore the conceptual themes of communication, sentimentality, and ephemerality in a fluid and celebratory way. The decorations pieces are reflections of the emotions of parties past and the projection of future events.