The Art of Sewing

Name: China Markschina-marks-portrait

Location: Long Island City, Queens

Highest Level of Education: Master of Fine Arts

Ability Level: Professional

Type of Sewing: Drawing

Occupation: Fine Artist

Check out China’s website!


I draw with an industrial zigzag sewing machine and thread, starting with patterns and imagery I find on commercially available printed fabric, to realize complex narratives. Process is the transformative agent, synthesizing and subverting the forms and stories contained in the original sources. For the last five years I have also written dialogue and commentary for my drawings and books, first cutting out words and letters from printed fabric, then using a computerized embroidery machine and CAD software to produce embroidered text. My drawings tell me what to say. I buy fabrics and trim in fabric stores in New York City and wherever else I happen to be.

The Giveaway, 2016. 40 x 30 inches. Photo credit: Jeffrey Scott French

People who know my work offer fabric, buttons, needlework, and trim, occasionally from dead relatives. I almost always welcome it. Sometimes I incorporate leftovers from my years as a sculptor and maker of works on paper, including fabric silk-screened with images of my old line drawings and paint-smeared work pants from the early 90s. Having used all kinds of power tools as a sculptor, I much prefer drawing with an industrial sewing machine to hand-sewing. My eyes in close-up glasses, my face six inches from the moving needle, I have an intuitive bond with the machine. At the start, I have no idea what a drawing will look like. But ideas just get in the way. The key is to give myself over to the process. That said, I am after as complex a truth as possible. My drawings reflect the world in all its glory, horror and absurdity, its workers and slugs, sleepwalkers and prophets. Who is in charge and who suffers because of that? Why does the past keep biting us in the ass? What does it mean to be in love? I do my best to make sense of things, and it takes everything I’ve got.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s