Gabi Nirino

Gabi Nirino

About The Artist

Gabi Nirino • Seattle, WA

I was born and raised in Argentina. I worked as a textile designer, University Professor and researcher for many years. At certain point I felt the need to leave the industrial work and focus on a more meaningful craft practice. I am a weaver. Weaving opens up the possibility of building a small world almost out of nothing. It is to interrelate and connect: materials, people, ideas. I am concerned about the origin of materials, about what kind of objects do I put in the world. ​


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

The woven pieces are made in a small tapestry loom. The corn husk pieces (Chala, in Quechua language) are woven with the fibers that I obtain by scraping/peeling the leaves by hand in a 2 or 3 steps process, depending of thickness. I work in general with natural fibers, and occasionally with embroidery floss and metallic yarns, when I need to do very small or delicate pieces. For the more recent work with wood I collect branches in the garden or other places when I go for a walk. I carve them, outside and inside. I use different systems to join them: cords, magnets, metallic inserts. Sometimes I also work with bio-composites and biomaterials, created mixing corn husk paste, grass or dirt with different binders. Some of that work is in my website. I found inspiration very often in the material itself. Other times, in literature. Each material has a life of its own. It's like meeting new people or new places: going with a predetermined idea doesn't help. You have to understand them, not expect them to "do" something they don't work for and make the most of what they do.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

I define myself as a textile nerd. Textiles always fascinated me. Many times is: what can I do with this? I just want to touch it and find out what it expects of me. So I collect and try to do yarn with everything I find. Fiber has a very human quality, is like skin. Weaving has to do with the possibility of building a small world almost out of nothing, with ordering chaos. A small world that can be carried with one or give to others. I think one of the most interesting areas of work at the moment has to do with bioplastics, so I've been experimenting with biocomposites for some time now, with varying degrees of success. Also I collect all kind of discarded materials. I feel responsible about the waste I generate. But as I said, I always return to textiles.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

I think my latest work with corn husk, Chala Project, it is a not so common body of work due to the way the material is processed. The use of corn husk is not original, but the type of fine fiber I produce to work is different to the traditional ways. It is something between basketry and jewelry.