“The best thing that happened to my career”: Vadis Turner on Materials for the Arts

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A profile of Vadis Turner, artist in residence at MD/NY program partner Materials for the Arts. Read more about MFTA and their MD/NY schedule of events on their profile page, or click here for the official press release.

From Materials for the Arts:

It’s a week before her exhibition opening in the MFTA gallery, and Vadis is preparing her work for display. The studio walls are hung with large fabric paintings, tables covered with beads and sequins, and a floor full of ribbons from a season’s worth of non-stop creating. There are mannequins too, dressed in sumptuous skirts inspired by storms.

In the warehouse’s studio space, Vadis looks back on the residency and her journey as an artist.

Transforming Textiles:

“Everyday, I woke up and felt like; I can’t believe I get to go there. Materials for the Arts was the best thing that happened to my career. It was a game changer.”

On ‘shopping days’, members saw Vadis gliding through the 35,000 square-foot warehouse in one of the storm skirts, plucking inspiring discoveries from the shelves.  She even found a stereo to play music mixes from favorite CDs while she worked.

“This place is magic,” she gushes.  “What’s available in the warehouse freed me up in a lot of ways and steered my creativity, because I responded to what colors and textures were out there and figured out compositions based on what’s been donated.”

When she first arrived, the first body of work she created was with ribbon pieces sewed onto canvas. Then, Vadis began building her own canvases by weaving long strips of fabric and ribbons together.

“I thought, why should I wait for canvas to roll around when I can make my own? This residency has changed the way that I work and it will be forever changed because of this. Before this, I used recycled materials as much as I could and only bought things if I had to. Now, I’m having my first body of work made from 100% upcycled materials. It changes my relationship with the work.”

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