Dorothy Waxman Textile Prize Winner Explores the “Sight of Touch”
Mohawk Group is a proud sponsor of fourth annual The Dorothy Waxman Textile Design Prize, awarded to a design student who exhibits innovative thinking and creativity in textiles.
This is an international prize started by Trend Union and Edelkoort Inc., a global trend forecasting atelier that also started New York Textile Month and Talking Textiles, an initiative that promotes weaving and the textile industry for interiors and fashion, as well as promoting education for the next generation of design talent.
During September, which is New York Textile Month, the winner of the Waxman Textile Design Prize was announced at Parsons and was also featured in a weeklong exhibition at our flagship New York Showroom that showcased work by the competition finalists.
The annual international design prize was awarded to Sugandha Gupta, a fibers student from the Savannah College of Art and Design, with a $5,000 prize to help her launch her textile design career.
Gupta’s entry rose to the top of over 200 entries from around the world, based on her creative use of fiber and exploration of tactility. Her “Sight of Touch Quilt Sampler” was the winning project, and it was created for her MFA thesis at SCAD. It consists of smaller textiles that were needle felted, and then connected to a Merino wool backing made by hand. The resulting different textures were then enhanced with various textile craft techniques to create the contrasting textures.
As someone born with albinism and who has low vision, Gupta’s submission incorporated other senses, including touch, scent and sound. Her work emphasizes the need to engage through the senses beyond sight, offering a new way of experiencing the world. She has found alternative ways of learning skills and adapting in a sight dominated world. The judges were especially interested in her use of materiality to address issues of inclusion in our world.
Her personal statement in her submission says it best:
“Born without color in a country of vibrant colors and visually impaired in a world dominated by visuals, I draw from my personal experiences to build a vocabulary of textures, aromas, and sensations through the “sense-abled” world of textiles. Growing up without accommodations, I found that my strength lies in my ability to use touch and the sense of sound. The act of making and learning through my senses transformed my work as an artist and aided a new perspective of experiencing the world.“