heARTbeat: Hao-ni Tsai Explores Abandoned Materials in Her Hybrid Series

Hao-Ni Tsai’s work seeks to juxtapose material with culture, informing a new kind of textile craft.

In her series of Hybrids, Textile Futures Textile, textile artist Hao-Ni Tsai experiments with transforming fur sourced from western cultures, indigenous Taiwanese fibers and traditional craft technique into new combinations of sculptural adornments.

The work’s natural beauty,  textural complexity and the fact that we have not seen them in just these combinations makes us question their source.

Cocoons nestled into headdresses, sisal binding merino wool, the pith of rice paper, horsehair and pineapple fiber all create new shapes that seem ancient and contemporary at the same time.

Born in Taiwan, Tsai studied at Central Saint Martins and lives in London. The artist innovates textiles with a fearless approach by using a variety of handwork that includes traditional crafting, knotting, looping, knitting and binding. The result is that her textile combinations produce pieces of unique interest and boundless imagination.

Says Hao-Ni Tsai of  her work:

My journey in collecting rare natural fibers (sic) and materials from a large geographical area, both in the UK and in Taiwan, led to the development of a series of innovative body attachments with an authentic and contemporary aesthetic.  Textile futures for me has been a process of re-evaluation and re-interpretation of abandoned materials from the natural environment in order to redesign them and celebrate their potential value.

Perhaps it is the authenticity of her process and singular vision that provide the real value of her endeavor. Nonetheless, it is evident that her imaginings weave the variety of her experience of cultures, fibers, techniques and style in a way we have not seen before.

Images: Hao-Ni Tsai

Eco, trends, art, creativity and how they tumble through social media to shape culture fascinate EcoSalon columnist Dominique Pacheco. Her personal blog, mixingreality, speaks to these topics daily, and here at EcoSalon, she takes a weekly look at the intersection of eco and art. We call it heARTbeat.

Dominique Pacheco

Dominique Pacheco is the author of EcoSalon's weekly heARTbeat column.