The RealFibers studio is located in the historic Mill at Shady Lea in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Set on an iconic river with defunct water wheels of industrialization, the Mill houses earnest and eclectic craftsmen, makers, and artists.
The RealFibers production space has 3 looms and walls filled with cones of unique, sustainable fibers with multiples colors of bamboo, linens, fine paper threads (yes, paper), pineapple, silk, wool, alpaca, and even copper and stainless steel. These types of fibers are the mainstay of Suzi Ballenger’s work. By looking closely you may also find recycled and re-purposed materials interspersed with her functional items.
The threaded order/dis-order of fiber and form are an identifiable statement with my handwoven textiles. This work challenges the pre-conceived boundaries of symmetry revealing the contradictions and discoveries amidst a grid that becomes fluid. The materials that can be used along with traditional fibers: re-used cassette tape; hand gathered silk cocoons from the wilds of Madagascar; gold, silk and rayon threads, all give voice to the frailty and strength of life outside our everyday experiences. These seemingly disparate variables of the handweaving process present choices that allow me to share my inspiration and reaction to the world. [More about Suzi Ballenger]