2022 Cornell Barbara L. Kuhlman Fiber Arts Scholars Exhibition


[n] The visible shape or configuration of something // A particular way in which something exists or appears // A body (as of a person) – especially if it’s an external appearance


[v] Combine parts to create or fashion into shape // Give facts or information // Give an essential or formative principle quality to // Brief or enlighten

We have grown accustomed to having information available at our fingertips at all times – a reality made faster by scanning technology like QR-codes. QR itself stands for Quick Response. These barcodes are used everywhere from menus to advertisements to Covid-19 test instructions to event check in, and they are particularly favored for their data tracking and analytics possibilities. 

There is growing concern over security as QR codes have also been used by hackers for a variety of reasons. QR codes also tie into the general concern over data security and user privacy. Once you scan a QR code are you ever really disconnected? 

This connection with information can be seen in the direct connection between the “dress” and the QR code tapestry- the dress emerges from the strands of the codes. Perhaps our mind and our form is made of the information we consume, digest, and share. 

The codes themselves link to various artists who use fiber art to inform the viewer about racial and environmental injustices. Both QR codes and art provide vessels for information to be communicated. Information is quite literally woven into the form of this piece.

This piece is made entirely of satin-weave ribbon. I chose which QR codes I wanted to display and then used them as a weaving guide. Each QR  code took a few hours to complete. They are attached via fusible interfacing and woven together. The dress was draped, emerging from the tapestry organically. 

Vanessa Barragao is a Portuguese artisan who creates ecologically inspired rugs and tapestry. She is adamant about the fashion and textile industry’s impact on the climate and chooses recycled and waste materials in her work.

    Tanya Aguiñiga is a Mexican-American fiber artist and activist who prioritizes collaboration, community, and advocacy in her work. 

    Unraveling Collective Forms

    Diedrick Brackens is an American weaver and tapestry artist. His work incorporates African American and Queer narratives through a global variety of techniques.

    in the decadence of silence

    Guillermo Bert is a Chilean textile artist and documentarian. On his recent project he notes: “Encoded Textiles, extends earlier motifs into new work that engages a new generation of bar codes and Indigenous symbol systems through textile arts. I first noticed that QR codes, like those used to tag airport luggage, share remarkable similarities to the textiles of Mapuche peoples of my home country in Chile. From this observation, I began my multilayered project, collaborating to date with Mapuche, Navajo, and Zapotec weavers.” This project was in collaboration with other textile artists.

    The Visionary, 2012, Wool and natural dyes encoded with an Aztec bar-code, woven by Anita Paillamil

    Nnenna Okore is a Nigerian-Australian artist whose work aims to evoke conversation and engagement with environmental issues.

    Down to Earth

    Sanford Biggers is an American artist whose work explores African American Identity, history, and tradition.