Get To Know Kanchalee Ann’s World Of Textile Design | Artist Spotlight
Kanchalee Ngamdamronk, or also known as Ann, is a textile designer from Thailand. She started her venture in textiles with her studies in the UK where she completed a textile design programme with weaving specialisation. Since then she’s worked as a designer for a leading interior design studio in Bangkok and went on to found Slowstitch Studio together with her partner, Serge. Slowstitch Studio is their personal full-time project with the goal of exploring shibori techniques and natural dyes whilst pushing the boundaries of what is possible within the restrictions of our work.
How did you get started in art?
I’ve always loved art ever since I was a kid. Drawing, working with my hands and cross-stitching in my free time was the norm for me. One step followed another and I followed my passion to pursue my studies in what I was fascinated by most at that time – textile design.
You’re able to do an array of different art mediums, but what made you want to stick with textile design?
The entire process of creating cloth by hand has always been fascinating for me. There’s something soothing about the way that step by step, thread by thread, a textile begins to emerge right in front of you. It tapped into my obsession with making details that translated into a surface form.
What’s your favourite thing about textile design?
My favourite thing about textile design has to be the wide range of daily life applications that other mediums don’t have. From fashion to architecture; from interiors to just surface design in general, there are so many possibilities that make textiles such an exciting subject to explore.
What is something about textile design that people tend to forget?
When people think about textiles they mostly think about just the fabric that you wear, but actually it ties into so many more areas – surface design, jewelry, interiors, etc. Fashion is of course a big part of it, but it can be so much more than that too.
What type of material is your favourite to use?
It would have to be handwoven handspun cotton from Northeastern Thailand. There’s something about the comforting texture and airy yet protective quality of it that makes one think of home. The cotton is spun by hand into such beautifully delicate yarns that also absorb natural dyes exceptionally well. There’s nothing else quite like it.
What would you like to make that you haven’t so far?
Fine art and three-dimensional textile art is one area I would definitely want to pursue further. There’s also a huge amount of exploration I still have to do with natural dyes and combining them with not only shibori techniques but also weaving.
Have you found your signature style? If yes, how would you describe it?
It’s a work in progress. Recently I’m quite obsessed with adding colourful, extra details to the things I’m making. What starts as one bright accent develops into a week-long project to cover the whole piece with more.
What goes into creating your artwork?
Lots of time! A lot of the process is led by the techniques themselves and exploration of colours and methods that develop into new possibilities to create new designs.
Describe your artistic aesthetic.
Geometry with a sprinkling of chaos. On the whole I like it when things more or less lined up properly, but that little bit of spontaneity definitely has to be there for me.
What inspires you?
For me it’s more about entering an attentive state of mind where almost anything can be my inspiration. People on the street, the shapes of leaves, patterns in traffic – if I slow down and look closely enough there are endless details and great sources of creative energy in practically everything. Of course the works of other artists and masters from earlier times inspire me greatly too.
What are your views on the art community?
I think it’s great, especially in recent years when in South East Asia there seems to be a bursting forth of more and more emerging contemporary artists who make the scene livelier.
Art is important because…?
Art says things that words cannot say. We’re not robots – we have an inherent need to indulge in creative pursuits and beautiful interpretations of things that aren’t exact copies of themselves. We need different, beautiful forms of communication since they inform us in a direct experiential way of how the world is and what it could be. Without art, we wouldn’t live.
*This interview was originally published in CLEO Malaysia Sept/Oct 2019 print issue.