The Insiders: Amy Revier
Texan artist, Amy Revier, first turned her hand to weaving whilst studying sculpture and art history at university.
“I was interested in making shapes,” she says. “Sculpture is a lot about shape, but for me I became interested in how the body can be performative with sculpture. So, what I really became interested in were these ‘hibernation investigations’ that were performative. That sounds so snobby," laughs Amy "but what I was producing were these long unfurling body and head wraps, made out of densely braided, unspun camel hair and silk worm cocoons. I would then film performances of wrapping and unwrapping and for me, this became a metaphor for density and searching.”
Amy’s “searching” was the precursor for what she does today. Her practise is a mix of art, performance and craftsmanship. Sitting behind her traditional floor loom, almost like a pianist, she recounts her creative development. “I remember seeing a loom for the first time in Dallas and that was it for me, I was completely done. Around the same time I travelled to Wahaca and fell in love with backstrap weaving. It’s almost like dancing, really beautiful work.” It was only when she moved to London that she began making clothes. “I made this slight shift but in my eyes, these clothes are like little sculptures, they are one-of-a-kind pieces.”
Given her trajectory, to call Amy’s clothes art makes sense. Her work heavily invests itself in concept, process and when a new collection is complete, she typically showcases during Frieze or via an installation at a gallery space. “My background isn’t in fashion and textiles. I’m a self-taught weaver, and I intentionally turn a blind eye to the seasonal throw-away culture of the fashion industry. The way I even became connected, initially, to Dover Street Market, was out of a sheer conversation with one of the buyers about the sad state of the rush of time. It’s now kind of passé conversation but this is so removed from that”.
And Amy is removed from the disposable demands of the industry. Her buyers tend to be artists, art collectors or dealers, who she encourages to take their time in selecting pieces with the attitude that the garments should last a lifetime. “It’s really important to me to have people grow with the work. The relationship I try to maintain with my clients, is an on-going one. So, if in 20 years there’s a moth whose eaten through one cashmere coat, I will repair it – these sort of things should remain open and flexible.”
Text by Nazanin Shahnavaz
Thanks to Hostem, Shoreditch, for the location.