Karin Dahl

October-December 2015


As a resident, textile artist, Karin Dahl, artfully mended clothes of customers, event-goers, and Oaklanders of all stripes who brought their ripped and tattered but otherwise beloved clothes by.  

Artist statement

Cloth is defined by its malleability. It holds memory and can be read like a kind of syntax that floats around the body. Alas, it also gets torn, wears through, and generally falls apart. But, also, of course, it can be mended! I am obsessed with this simple and radical part of the process, a process humans have been using for thousands of years, the reconstruction, refabrication, and reinterpretation of worn materials character and worth. As an artist in residence at E.M. Wolfmans for the months of October and November, I will be at the bookstore every Saturday repairing, restoring and reimagining the holes in your clothes. Partially an homage to fabulous bay-area artist Michael Swaine and his free “mending library,” my mendings are less an exercise in social practice and practical fix, and rather extended studies on sites for visible re- and de-construction, exploring the history of the garment, retaining its “faults” and highlighting its time-bound dimensions. While I mend, I will document each repair “site” and consider the implications of use and time on our current understanding of textiles. You can drop clothes off at the store any day you like (one piece, please, for starters) or come see me on Saturdays!

About karin dahl

Karin Dahl was born in Ekenäs, Finland, raised in Seattle, and is a decade-long resident of Oakland. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and is in the Graduate Program of Archeology at San Francisco State University. She has made textiles for film, poetry, and performance art, including tents, masks, and embroidered writing, that weave in and out of the comfortable range of practical textile usage. She has worked at an archeology museum and ceramics studio, and taught ceramics, textiles, and other mediums to both kids and adults. Karin is working toward a practice as artist, researcher, and educator that is outside any one discipline.