You might recognize Amanda Triplett’s textile sculpture work from when it was on display in Auburn’s Art on Main gallery. Now, Triplett is the Artist in Residence at the Mary Olson Farm.
From June through July, Triplett will be working out of the historic barn on the 67-acre Mary Olson Farm, creating textile sculptures inspired by the surrounding flora and fauna.
In addition, Triplett will host an open-studio and community workshop at the farm on July 30. Attendees will get the opportunity to learn some of the techniques Triplett uses to create textile art.
Triplett has been working as a professional artist since moving to the Pacific Northwest around 2015, and landed a residency at the Portland transfer station. It was during this residency that Triplett discovered their love for textile-based sculpture.
As the artist in residence, Triplett was able to collect items people had thrown away and create art with those found materials.
“When I moved to Portland, I was like, oh my gosh, I have to do this,” Triplett said. “I know it’s not everyone’s fantasy to be able to, like, dig through the garbage and find art materials and find things to work with, but it was a huge dream come true for me.”
After the Portland transfer station, Triplett began doing a lot of art shows and installations around Portland and eventually expanded into the Puget Sound area. While creating the sculpture for the Auburn Art on Main exhibit, Triplett began thinking a lot about our connections to the natural world.
“Lately, I think with the Auburn window project, actually I was I started thinking about like our connection to nature and these patterns,” Triplett said. “So you know, the fact that the spirals and our fingertips are also found in like the spirals of like, vines, or the spirals on a snail shell or these little things, which I just think is really, really interesting.”
These connections are informing the work Triplett is creating at the Mary Olson Farm. Although Triplett no longer has access to a transfer station, they still use scrap textiles to create their sculptures.
To create a sculpture, Triplett starts by collecting scraps of fabric and cutting them into strips then machine stitching the strips to create dense, cord-like pieces. After that, they begin folding and bending the cords, then hand-stitching them to create individual “cells,” Triplett explained. As they create more and more cells, Triplett hand-stitches them together to create a collage of different cells, each with a unique color and texture.
The sculpture Triplett is working on at the Mary Olson Farm is inspired by the patterns and shapes of the surrounding wildlife.
“The basis for this particular residency was this idea of nature patterns and this concept of like morphogenesis which is this idea of like why things are shaped the way they are and why we see these patterns in nature and the connectivity of all those things,” Triplett said.
In addition to the textile sculpture, Triplett created a nature pattern scavenger hunt for people who attend the open studio or community workshop. Triplett created the scavenger hunt to encourage people to really examine the natural world around them.
“I wanted to create a way to interact with nature in a fun way and also kind of shift that relationship because I think so often we’re like, oh, it’s beautiful, but what makes it beautiful, like what are those connecting things that we see but we don’t observe them, they just kind of get registered, but we don’t really think about them?” Triplett said.