January 8, 2024
“I’m obsessed with lace,” says Swedish fiber and textile artist Ester Magnusson, who loves to deep-dive into the history of garment design. As she prepared her portfolio for a residency focused solely on bobbin lace, she conceived of the idea of a human skull made entirely from the dainty fabric. “Once you express an interest in lace, people come out of the woodworks to give you their grandma’s old collection, so I had a lot of thrifted and gifted material to work with,” she says.
The resulting piece is titled “Skör,” which is pronounced like “sure” and translates to English from Swedish meaning “fragile.” Adjacent to Magnusson’s passion for textiles is a curiosity about wordplay, especially puns. “In Swedish, the words for ‘a piece of weaving’ and ‘tissue (anatomical)’ are both Vävnad, so I was coming up with ideas for a very punny fantasy exhibition when I thought of the concept,” the artist says.
Made of a mix of cotton and linen lace, “Skör” is assembled using cotton thread and wood glue. Tiny stitches connect various strips and shapes, but felt that she needed to add something she had created herself. “I had a feeling that I was just working with other people’s materials, that the piece wasn’t quite mine… so I made the teeth by hand,” she says, noting that she crocheted the details in a scallop pattern using a tiny metal hook. Once the work was complete, the artist used wood glue as a substitute for traditional starching agents like cornflour or sugar glue.
Interested in sustainable production, Magnusson continues to work in the garment industry and has recently been experimenting with a tapestry crochet variation of “Skör” that merges the concepts of pixel art, anatomical studies, and sweaters. Follow her on Instagram for updates.
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