We had surprise guest visit the collection today, Susie Brandt!
She curated a show called Rummage at The Design Center in 2008. Here’s a little more about her exhibit:
Brandt, given free range to pick and choose from The Design Center’s historic textile collection of over 200,000 artifacts, plays with relationships conceived between the old and the contemporary. Rummage is, at once, a conversation among Brandt’s contemporary work and the collection pieces; a retrospective of her work of the past 20-plus years; and an archeological dig that tracks Brandt’s pieces back to their textile roots. “There’s a vitality found in the historic textiles that I aim to connect to my own work,” Brandt says. “The old pieces serve as a muse, rekindling the dialogue between my work and the past.”
In one conversation, for instance, Brandt compares “Dainty” – a bedcovering comprised of a huge variety of laces fused into a single complex field of texture - with a 1960s couture ensemble fabricated from a looped and hand-stitched lace-like braid.
Throughout the collection are piles of swatches that were used in the design, production and distribution of Philadelphia’s textile industry. Now housed in drawers and on shelves throughout the house, the sedimentation of these piles will be seized and reinterpreted as an installation in the ranch house’s pantry.
The detritus of middle American textile culture –rickrack, cast-offs and Barbie doll clothes – all figure in to Brandt’s work. She recasts the original material to create unlikely juxtapositions that alter our expectations and perceptions for works of textile.
For the past 20 years, Baltimore-based Brandt has gathered and refashioned outmoded textile matter into contemporary fabrics that address the vital materiality of textile process and production. In the early 1980s, while studying in the Fiber Department at Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), Brandt was introduced to The Design Center’s textile collection at what was then called Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now Philadelphia University). Brandt earned a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art in 1984 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. Her works have been included in over 100 solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. When she returned to Philadelphia in the 1990s to teach at her alma mater, Brandt introduced her own students to The Design Center’s collection, one of Philadelphia’s hidden treasures. Brandt presently serves on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art.