As a woman whose work has inspired those around her to try the ancient art of weaving, Izziyana Suhaimi is a fiber artist set apart. Not only has this proud young mom spent over a decade, as she says, “stabbing, cutting, covering, building, repairing” one stitch at a time, but she has made a name for herself by uniting people in one of the most unlikely ways possible.
Her latest project forges a path into community weaving, where she has been inviting people to participate in creating a work of art. The end result is at once fascinating and bizarre, intricate and gaudy, with seemingly no beginning and no end – but for a few common strands holding it together. Earlier this year she took to social media to share her thoughts on the project:
I’ve been staring at this for weeks trying to find a way to make it more cohesive and more ‘finished’. But the thing about inviting people to participate in creating an artwork is, you have to let go of your preconceptions of what an artwork should look or be like. It’s no longer ‘your’ artwork, but belongs to every single person who contributed (thank you). There is not really a way to make it better, it is enough and perfect by itself, loose ends and all. So this comes off the loom just the way it is. I also enjoyed discovering inspirations and surprises in the work.
Community weaving project
Prior to this, Izziyana Suhaimi made a name for herself with series like Friends to Keep You Warm and The Looms In Our Bones, both of which focus on detailed stitch-work and imagery with charcoal, pencil and watercolour finishes. These contemporary ideas brought her international renown, but there are many abstract studies and series she has done that speak to her versatility and immense creativity as a fiber artist.
Friends to Keep You Warm
Hailing from Singapore, Izziyana achieved her dream of mounting her first solo show before she turned 30 in 2015 – at the age of 29. She sees her work as physical manifestations of time; each stitch represents a moment passed. The culmination of this is then a representation of moving time. She is also drawn to the duality of stitchery. For Izziyana, every stitch both unfolds a story and withholds it at the same time – and the way in which she tells these stories are at once captivating, mysterious and masterfully done, with deep attention to minuscule details.
Some of these ideas include Making Working Time and Sun In Your Eyes, both of which are clean and simple in their design, yet terribly detailed and meticulously executed. From the selection of colour (or the lack thereof) to what is stitched and the textures it creates juxtaposed with the paper, these concepts are carefully and thoughtfully constructed.
Making Working Time
Some of her more recent work is rather more abstract in its design and execution. The Hands That Remember is both a beautiful mess and an incredibly cohesive series of works. This is the duality of the medium, and the place in which she finds much joy.