I caught up with local artist Andie Reeves to find out more about her work, inspiration and her latest work, which is currently being exhibited as part of the group show Well Worn at Cavalli Estate.
How did your upbringing inspire your career as a creative?
I’m sure I get my creativity from my parents. I grew up with a photographer father and model/stylist mother so I was always surrounded by beautiful people and things and obviously absorbed some of their obsession with aesthetics. We had loads of ‘coffee table’ books around and the house was decorated with art they have collected from their travels over the years. They were also always redecorating some aspect of our house and did it all themselves. If they wanted a new TV cabinet my dad would do everything from buying the wood to designing it to making it. I work in the same way; I like to do absolutely every step of whatever I’m working on. I think I inherited this ‘Do It Yourself’ attitude: the reason I started sewing was because I didn’t like any of the clothes in the shops so decided to make my own.
I was also sent to a Montessori school, which really encourages independence in children. So if I wanted to spend weeks making an igloo out of cardboard boxes and decorate the inside and do all of my work from in there I was allowed and encouraged to.
How would you describe the style of your work?
I use fabric, wool and thread to make things that I think are cute, nice to look at and playful.
You work across a few mediums – do you have a favourite?
It’s hard to choose because each medium has it’s own unique pros for me. Sewing is my favourite because I get to wear the thing I make afterwards, embroidery is because it’s therapeutic to do and I can watch Rupual’s Drag Race while doing it, and weaving because it’s like painting (which I’m not that good at) but with wool (which I am good at). If I had to choose it would be embroidery because it’s the least abstract; you can make a clear image with it.
Who/what inspires you?
I would love to say nature and the great outdoors, but it’s mainly technology, the internet and nostalgia. Also going to the fabric shop ‘cos I always go with one idea and come out with fabric for four other ideas. In terms of other artists my favourite Instagrams to follow for inspiration are: Keiko Vogel for her insanely cute quilts, the brand Lazy Oaf’s clothing, Smitten by Pattern make amazing textiles, and this Barcelona-based weaving company called Chinchilla is so lovely.
Memes and internet culture are often present in your work. Does this play a major role in your thought pattern when deciding on a project or does it transpire while working? And what does it mean to you?
I think that’s the kind of imagery I’m drawn to and find interesting so that’s why it comes up in my work. It’s not too thought-out. I spend most of my time equally divided between making things and mindlessly scrolling the internet so it makes sense that the two come together I guess. I like to make things that I find a bit funny and/or nostalgic. To me there is something very satisfying about combining old things with new things.
I am wary of being what I would consider corny though. There are lots of people who do stuff like cross-stitch rap lyrics into twee floral hoops or just embroider a nostalgic cartoon character. I like to think the things I make are more witty and less embarrassing..!
You currently have a quilt and tapestry showing at the Well Worn exhibition at Cavalli Wine Estate – tell us how this came about and what thought process went into your two pieces.
I’ve been wanting to do a quilt for a while so when the invitation to participate in the exhibition came through I knew should make one for it. Because the kind of images I’m interested in are often nostalgic or childish it made sense to do my take on a classic children’s quilt. The panels are different scenes people from my generation will probably recognise from their childhood, like Richard Scarry drawings, The Simpsons, Enid Blyton’s stories, The Sims and E.H. Shepherd’s illustrations of Winnie the Pooh. Then I altered all the images slightly in Photoshop, printed the fabric and sewed up the quilt. Also the floral fabric used between the panels is a print I made using the Android version of flower emojis. It’s all one big combination of the internet and images from childhood.
The tapestry is a portrait of my housemate and best friend Sitaara. It took FOREVER to make. I didn’t anticipate that but I guess it makes the piece more special because it’s of her in Snapchat, where photos only last for 10 seconds before disappearing forever. I didn’t think of this when making it, Sitaara pointed it out afterwards and I was like ‘Oh yes, that sounds quite good and clever’. I just thought it looked funny.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
I am having my first solo exhibition at The Raptor Room from the 3rd of May for a month (the launch is on First Thursdays). I’ve already got a massive embroidery that’s always up at The Raptor Room, and am working on another permanent fixture for them. It’s going to be more of a sculpture and should be going up in June! Besides that I’m doing my day job (being a freelance writer), finishing my Montessori teacher training and also my second year of my BEd in Early Childhood Development.
For more information on Andie Reeves follow her on Instagram, Twitter and see more of her work here. Her next exhibition will be at The Raptor Room on Roeland Street on the 3rd of May.