In this illuminating interview, Sofie shares insights into her artistic evolution, from her early exploration of textiles to her current mastery of weaving, knotting, and off-loom techniques. Discover how Sofie's creative process begins with the material itself, guiding her to explore organic shapes and challenge traditional formats. Explore the significance of gaps in her work, symbolizing both aesthetic balance and a commentary on the historical invisibility of women in textile art. Delve into Sofie's influences, from political textile movements to contemporary fiber artists, and learn about her upcoming collaborations and exhibitions. Join us as we unravel the threads of creativity with Sofie Karlsson, a visionary artist reshaping the boundaries of textile art.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.


COMA: Thank you again for your time. Could you introduce yourself and share your artistic journey thus far?

Sofie: Certainly. I began exploring textile art during my teenage years, which led me to attend pre-university study schools in Gamleby, Östra Grevie and Löftadalens folkhögskola outside Gothenburg. These schools offered diverse approaches to textiles, from craft to art to fashion. In 2016, I pursued my Bachelor's at HDK in Gothenburg. After that, I continued as an independent artist, but the pandemic pushed me to seek a wider artistic network, prompting my decision to pursue a master's degree.

COMA: Was the decision to pursue a master's driven by a desire to learn new techniques, or was it more about exploring conceptual aspects?

Sofie: With a strong technical background in textiles, I wanted to delve deeper into conceptual and writing aspects of art. While I'm comfortable with various techniques, I aim to refine and explore them further.

COMA: Your pieces at COMA seem to focus on rope making, knotting, and weaving. Are these your primary techniques, or do you work with a broader range?

Sofie: I've primarily worked with weaving but have recently explored knotting and off-loom weaving during my master's studies. I aim to create organic shapes and challenge the square format inherent in traditional weaving.

COMA: Could you describe your creative process? How do you approach conceptualizing a piece?

Sofie: My process always begins with the material. I often work with deadstock and reclaimed materials, allowing them to guide the direction of my work. Conceptualization evolves as I work, with ideas taking shape during the process rather than being predetermined.

COMA: Do you see the decorative aspect of your work as connected to its size or intended space?

Sofie: While the size may influence how a piece is perceived in a space, I aim for my work to be engaging both up close and from a distance. I want viewers to explore and interact with my pieces from various perspectives.

COMA: Your pieces incorporate gaps, creating a dialogue between mass and void. Was this intentional, or did it evolve organically?

Sofie: The gaps serve both aesthetic and conceptual purposes. They allow breathing space within dense compositions and also symbolize the historical invisibility of women in textile art. I want to challenge traditional narratives and elevate the contributions of overlooked artists.

COMA: Could you share some influences or movements that have shaped your work?

Sofie: I'm influenced by the political textile movements of the 60s and 70s, as well as the fiber art movement that expanded the possibilities of textile as a medium. Artists like Magdalena Abakanowicz and Olga de Amaral have been particularly inspiring.

COMA: Lastly, what are your plans after completing your master's degree?

Sofie: I'll be moving to a smaller studio in Gothenburg, where I'll continue my textile work and collaborate with a photographer on a project exploring mass and void. I have upcoming exhibitions in Malmö and at Not Quite in Fengerfors, where I'll showcase both individual and collaborative pieces.

COMA: Thank you for sharing your insights and best of luck with your future endeavors.

April, 2024 - COMA Editorial team