In anticipation of Nadine Flagel’s upcoming exhibition Snagged, we asked Nadine to tell us a bit about herself, her inspiration, her audience and her other projects. In this interview Nadine demonstrates a material curiosty that is reflected in the works that will occupy the CCBC gallery from January 21st to March 4th, 2021.
I am driven by curiosity, compassion, and critical thinking. How will this look if I put this here? Or here? What kind of language do rug makers use to describe what we do? I am particularly interested in opening up conversations that makers of hand-hooked rugs are not having: “Omissions are not accidents,” as poet Marianne Moore observed. I would especially like to see more rug makers connect their work to social and environmental justice
“At its foundation, art for me is about that sense of fascination when you put things together and they change under your hands”
When I was little, we owned a large stuffed donkey, but the back split open. My mother cut and sewed a leaf onto the donkey to patch it, and I was fascinated. My mother, aunts, and grandmothers all were makers, so I had the support I needed to learn and I have been working with textiles since I was about five years old. At its foundation, art for me is about that sense of fascination when you put things together and they change under your hands. I was reluctant to call myself an artist for a long time, but after the birth of my second child I got more serious about my practice and professional profile.
People are attracted by the colour, textures, and warmth of rugs and quilts. Most people experience wonder at the time and dedication my work requires. They want to honour that by taking time with the art, observing it at a distance and up close. Many people are curious about the technique and materials, and some are nostalgic because they have known people who have made rugs or quilts.
I hold a PhD in English Literature and have taught literature and composition for many years. I also do editing work. For a long time I maintained a wall between literary studies and making. However, a couple of years ago I started to recognize the many structural and thematic similarities between my academic and artistic interests. I’m interested in the repurposing of both texts and textiles! I find that both practices rely on cutting up existing text(ile)s, on aesthetic and sensual appeal, on thrift, and on putting old things into new combinations, thereby intensifying and multiplying meanings.