New York, NY
Mina Norton is a great experimenter with textiles in wearable art. Her background in painting gives her a structural approach to space, which is apparent from the designs and patterns she works into the surfaces of her luxurious garments. She has a passion for fabric which ends up with her trying out all different types of materials in her clothing; for many years she uses sumptuous chenille, which is made by taking two long lengths of yarn, and twisting them together via short pieces of yarn laid perpendicularly across them. The feel of this fabric is gorgeous, soft and silky smooth with a heavy body that makes it incredibly comfortable.
During her chenille period, she would piece together jackets, coats, and dresses from patches of fabric. It's almost like putting together a quilted rug, but shaped to fit the human form instead! It is easily apparent that a modernist influence expressed itself in these clothes. Abstract shapes and geometric patterns draw the eye's attention, then disperses it across the garment. A playful touch emerges with embroidered patterns that take what would otherwise be a predictable layout, and adds just a pique of curiosity.
This "Maker's Touch" is present in all of Norton's wearable art. Her most recent escapades have taken her into felt, which she uses as a canvas to directly apply her skills in painting. Subtle gradations from dark blues and blacks to gray and white ripple over the surface of her fabrics, again putting the eye into the role of itinerant nomad. But then, just there, is a little flag of red, standing out from the monochrome palette of the rest of the coat. That little mark is the sign of a conscious designer, and it is what raises Norton's beautiful handiwork to the next level.