Fiber artist Mallory Zondag creates soft sculpture inspired by the textures and variety found in nature. Enjoy more of her work by visiting her website.
I create fiber art to address our relationship with the natural world. I seek to explore the spaces in between comfort and discomfort, the tension between wonder and repulsion, and the void between reverence and destruction.
I create soft sculptures using a variety of textile techniques, a multitude of mediums and found objects. Varying my textures and materials, from wool to wax, connects me to the core of my work—nature.
The natural world is vast and varied. It repeats itself infinitely and creates something unique every time. From the repeating of mold cells to the repeating of leaves in the forest canopy, I find immense joy and fascination in the variations of texture that repetition in nature creates.
I find that fiber art is also a world of variation and repetition. Creating a woven piece requires me to repeat various stitches throughout the warp to build textures. Felting a sculpture, stitching a piece together or beading a surface requires repetition of motion, a stitch or a process. This mirroring of my medium and inspiration provides balance to my work.
Through repetition and exploration of materials, I work to evoke sensations in the viewer—fascination, discomfort or both. I aim to push the viewer to question and confront their reaction and what that means for them and their relationship to the natural world. We are a part of and made of the world’s natural cycles of growth and decay. We can never fully remove ourselves from them, no matter how hard we try.
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The roofs that sag heavy with the weight of moss and time, forgotten food spawning colonies and clusters of molds, bodies becoming food for mushrooms and bluebells—these moments of decay endlessly inspire me. They also make us confront our own knowledge of mortality. That tension between my enchantment with these moments and a knowledge of others discomfort with them inspires and shapes my art.
As a practicing artist, my work takes many forms. I teach a variety of fiber art workshops in New York and Pennsylvania. I also work with many schools through residency programs. I teach the art of felting to students from kindergarten through high school.
During these residencies, students work together to make community felted gardens. Once completed, they hang in the school as a memory of the experience and testament to what can be accomplished when we all contribute to make something beautiful.
In my studio in Schenectady, New York, I create work for exhibits as well as commissions. Nothing brings me greater joy than bringing an idea to life in my studio and using my hands and a multitude of fibers to create it.
Recent installations include a permanent collection of wool gardens created with Panther Valley High School students at the Hickory Run Service Center in Pennsylvania as a part of the Turnpikes ArtSparks initiative, and the installation of Cocooned at the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania.
Artist Mallory Zondag invites you to follow her on Instagram.
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