is a weaver based in Durham, North Carolina. She creates nature-inspired scarves, shawls, wall hangings, large scale installations and more. This week I had the privilege of learning a bit more about her work, her process, and her inspiration.
Could you briefly introduce yourself and your work?
Hi, my name is Sydney Sogol. I live in Durham, NC with my husband, Josh, and our menagerie of animals: Milo - a big 90 lbs mutt (dog), Mowgly - my talkative tuxedo cat, Meeka - the queen Snowshoe mix cat, and Dolly - my 22-year-old rescue thoroughbred horse (she doesn't actually live at the house). I have been a vegetarian for 10 years and am very passionate about animals, food, weaving, and the environment. These are my sources of inspiration as well as what fuels me as a person.
I started my company, Syd’s Threads, a boutique luxury handwoven goods company in 2015. My products are custom-designed, limited edition, hand-dyed, and hand-woven wearable art and woven paintings. My work includes large scale installations, shawls, scarves, wedding canopies, ceremony or reception backdrops, and more. All items are 100% vegan (unless otherwise noted) and made using eco-friendly fibers.
Did you always want to be an artist or would your younger self be surprised that you work full time as a weaver?
I am a very visual learner and I am dyslexic, so words were not my specialty. This is something I had to work on and it was easier to make art to show how I really felt.
I started weaving in high school on what I later learned was a broken tapestry loom! When I took my first weaving class I fell in love instantly and knew I had to keep doing this. Once I discovered this passion for all things weaving I have never turned back. Weaving remains the heart and soul of my work and life. I am lucky enough to now be a full-time weaver, working from my home studio.
How did you end up finding weaving and what made you choose it as your primary medium?
As mentioned I started weaving in high school, but the true passion for weaving began in undergrad. I started out studying metal work, but it just didn't click for me. I decided to take a weaving class and instantly fell in love. Halfway through the semester, the professor asked me to be the teaching assistant for the next semester. This boosted my confidence that I was actually good at weaving. The more I learn about weaving the more it makes sense that I love it. Weaving is a lot of math and everything is planned out before anything is executed. I love this mode of working. I keep diving deeper and deeper into various techniques and figuring out how to add my own flare to it.
What are the biggest influences in your work?
All of my work is inspired by nature. I love the colors and patterns that are found in nature, especially those in birds. The amazing colors, how they are combined and the patterns found in their feathers are mesmerizing. I am especially fond of the birds in the Kingfisher family. My colors and patterns are designed around these influences.
As far as artists go I thoroughly enjoy the work of Randall Darwall, Diane Itter, Gerhardt Knodel, Alexandra Kehayoglou, and the duo Quintessenz to name a few. Their work ranges from wearable to installation to functional art. All of which I am very interested in.
Do you find yourself drawn to any recurring color palettes or themes in your work?
Yes, blues, teals, and oranges are my favorite color combos and I use them a lot! I also do a fair bit with purple, lavender, and raspberry. My themes tend to focus on endangered animals, the environment, and climate change. I come back to these over and over again when doing my art pieces and installation work.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Pulling a weaving off the moss is one of the most satisfying moments. This is because when you are weaving the item rolls up on top of itself so you can not see it. It is always a great reveal.
The other moment is when someone takes a piece home. I can see their eyes light up and it is a beautiful moment to connect with another person. Knowing that the item will become a go-to accessory for a night out or keeping you warm when snuggling up to read a good book. The shawls and scarves become a part of people's lives and their stories. It matters to me that people interact with what I make and wearable art provides me that outlet.
How has your work been shaped by the coming of the internet we have seen in our creative lifetimes? Do you find yourself turning to the internet more often for inspiration, support, and resources?
The internet has been a great tool for me to be able to compile a large number of inspirational images of birds and various other animals. I have found artists I do not think I would have otherwise been exposed to. Not to mention all the resources for weavers to interact with one another sharing what is on the looms, techniques and an overall sense of community.
It also allows me to show my work to a much larger audience, through social media and my website. Through such outlets I find people who I have connected deeply with, creating my own little fiber community.
Where could somebody find your work online and in person?
My work can be found on my website- www.sydneysogol.com and at various craft fairs in North Carolina, and the east coast (at this point in time). The most up to date place for seeing what I am up to is my Instagram and biz Facebook page.