Graduated from Royal College of Art
Selected by Paddy Hartley
My aim has been to develop high quality modern textiles and textile related products for both architects to specify in public spaces, and for the private consumer for the home.
I became interested in the field of environmental psychology while researching and writing my dissertation. This field of study explores the way we interact with the surroundings and how that affects the way we live. My research on this subject inspired me to develop my project focused on creating textiles to be used in environments to stimulate people's senses: visual and tactile.
Daily life has become so digitised that we are loosing the sense of touch. We are surrounded by wireless communication, sensors, digital technology. The internet has taken humankind to a whole new way of life, the virtual one.
This fascinating development of technologies makes us forget the importance of the physical life, the sensation of touch and how important that is for our development through life.
In my project, I have focused on developing woven surfaces that stimulate people's emotions of comfort, enjoyment, happiness and surprise. By observing the reaction of those around me in the studio towards my work, I have been able to analyse the results.
To develop my designs I find inspiration in structures and patterns in nature and architecture. I looked at patterns made by sound, structures of bacteria, seeds, plants, creatures from the deep sea. I also looked at architecture and the way it magnifies the great structures created by the Nature.
I have divided the collection into two parts:
- An exploration of three dimensional and textured surfaces, using different combinations of yarns and structures.
- The other I have explored transparencies and densities creating layered screens to reveal the view behind through space.
The choice of materials, colours and contrasting scale of the designs are an important feature. The collection needs the variety of contrast and the unexpected, but also needs to be kept simple. It's not about complicated surfaces it's about exciting and stimulating textiles that to work within an environment.
Encountering the woven fabrics of Helga Matos poses something of a delightful dilemma. As with many textiles, there is an urge to touch, yet Matos' work demands a specific kind of engagement. It invites touch, but only as a skimming gesture across the surface. Monofilament structures blister and loop out from the surface. The surface tempts the viewer to lightly play fingers over the individual strands. I've never been tempted to 'blow' on an artwork to see how the surface reacts, but these pieces create that desire and the expectation the surface might bristle just as hairs on your arm do in a chilly breeze.
Matos' materials vary from metallic strands, shrinking yarns and monofilament to bicycle inner tubes and videotape. She cites environmental psychology - the way we interact with our surroundings - as her main inspiration. The physical reactions and interactions with her work by studio colleagues allow Matos to adapt and refine her textiles to encourage further, specific responses.
All too often, artist's appropriate 'unconventional' materials for their work seemingly for the sake of it. Not Matos. Her work stands head and shoulders above other artists because she understands the properties of her diverse and unusual 'palette'. Virtuoso thread-play is the end result of her choice of unusual materials and considered inspirations.
(Paddy Hartley, 2008)
Qualifications and training
- 2008 MA Constructed Textiles, Royal College of Art, London
- 2006 BA (Hons) Textile Design, Winchester School of Art, Winchester
- 2003 BTEC ND Design Crafts, Isle College, Wisbech
Web links - gallery/work/projects