Pacific Sea States: Katia Mokeyeva (USA) and Fiona Duthie (Canada)

Pacific Sea States: Katia Mokeyeva (USA) and Fiona Duthie (Canada)

Pacific: Sea States.

Two outstanding textile artists present their highly individual interpretations of the Pacific Ocean inPacific: Sea States,a new exhibition opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles in March.

Pacific: Sea States presents fine felt art garments created by Fiona Duthie and Katia Mokeyeva, two independent artists with strong connections to their environment and the sea. Both live and create near the Pacific but in very different coastal environments – Fiona on a small island off the coast of Canada and Katia on the northern Californian coast in the USA.

Yet each of the artists has developed a clear artistic narrative out of their geographic relationship to the ocean, which explores a common relationship with the sea and its states of being. The term sea states refers to the overall condition of a large body of water—with respect to wind, swell and current—at a particular moment and location.

The artists explore each sea state as a beautiful metaphor for their own personal, overall condition, which provides them with an excellent platform for exploring surface design through feltmaking.

Pacific: Sea States features twelve main sculptural wearable garments, one each for the twelve defined Beaufort sea states. The surface textures and tensions escalate with each state, just as the winds and waves do for sailors around the world.

Katia lives on the coast near San Francisco, a place filled with ocean winds and fog coming in from the sea; a place where the weather can change from bright and sunny to gloomy and dark every day. Her work not only depicts different behaviors of the sea but also focuses on associative images that arise within her under the influence of stillness or a raging storm.

“From the feeling of complete calm, to utter unbridled force, such is the human capability of being in different emotional conditions,” Katia said. “In this project, I try to develop the fundamental theme of the connection of humanity to nature and seek self-understanding through analogies of nature’s events.”

Katia’s started to make conceptual art garments in 2005, while attending California College of the Arts, and it quickly became her favorite form of art. Her design process for Pacific: Sea States started with a blurred vision, a memory of different days on the ocean, and some research about the Beaufort scale. As she created each piece, Katia followed her senses, the inner emotional atmosphere associated with, or initiated by, the ocean conditions.

The idea of sea states as metaphors for ways of being was immediately compelling to Fiona, whose exposure to the Pacific coast on her island home provides continual inspiration for her art. She could easily relate to the exhilaration of high winds and strong currents and the contrasting soothing calm of a glassy sea surface. With glimpses from her studio, beach-side walks and sea swimming, she renews her relationship with the ocean every day.

While working on the Pacific: Sea States exhibition pieces she also researched sea states, in order to design a surface that would best reflect each one.

“Working on a body of work for an exhibition is much like a blue water journey, leaving the known shore, knowing one will face many personal and creative challenges, and hopefully arrive on the far shore, fulfilled and enriched by the experience, although a little wind-worn and weary,” Fiona said. “In this work, I try to acknowledge that for some, or at some times, a sea state of 10 may feel dark and terrifying, inhibiting and oppressive, while to others, or at other times, it can be expansive, exciting and invigorating.”

Fiona stretched herself creatively with her pieces, incorporating new materials like paper, ink and buckram in her feltmaking to build new textile surfaces. She often chooses the garment as a form for her work, as a dynamic canvas that is brought to life by human movement. As in her other work, practicing awareness of perspective is important.

Pacific: Sea States will remind Novocastrians, who enjoy our own relationship with the Pacific coast, of the movement of wind, swell and current – a powerful and international metaphor illustrating our challenges and passions.

Pacific: Sea States opens from 4-6pm on 17 March and runs until 10 April 2016.


16 Mar 2016 - 10 Apr 2016


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