Panama-born fiber artist Katrina Sánchez picked up her sewing skills from her mother and grandmother, then created something new altogether. “My practice honors everything they’ve done,” reveals Sánchez, who typically employs vibrant acrylic yarns for her captivating works. “I call them soft sculptures,” adds the Charlotte transplant, whose jumbo knitted noodles, stuffed with polyester fiberfill then woven together en masse, engage multiple senses at a superhuman scale. On the heels of a recent exhibit at The Mint Museum and on the verge of a solo show at Boston’s Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Sánchez shares how it all came to be.
What’s the basis of your work? I began mending as a meditative process but needed to fill a gallery space. I realized if I could magnify the thread, I could magnify the pieces themselves. Darning was also traditionally thought of as women’s work, not valued as fine art, so I wanted to play off of that.
Are you challenging a culture of “do not touch?” I create interactive art because I want to share what I’ve learned through the process. I love that people want to hug my pieces; to go beyond just looking at them; to sense joy and comfort in a world that is constantly otherwise.
What’s next? Besides continuously creating new color combinations, I’m looking to add beads made of paper pulp, then clay. I’m also ready to play more with form—the way the sculpture lays against the wall, how it hangs with gravity, how the tendrils extend—and experiment with different kinds of weavings.