BIOGRAPHYLin Fanglu, winner of the 2021 Loewe Craft Prize for her monumental work ‘She’, lived and worked next to the craftswomen of Bai and Dong ethnic minority groups in China, honing her skills as a fiber artist. Fanglu meticulously hand-knots, stitches and pleats her fabric into sculptural landscapes, at once geometric and organic. The work grows and sprawls like cell division, rose petals and thorns, seashells and jellyfish with short tentacles and long stinging arms.
Fanglu’s work is inspired by the traditional craftsmanship of the Bai ethnic minority, located in China’s Yunan Province. Fanglu experiments with traditional methods and materials to produce utterly contemporary and deeply thoughtful works that centre the place of women and culture in craft. Of the significance of her material choices, Fanglu says that ‘the flexible medium allows me to create in three dimensions, producing tactile artworks that entice the viewer to reach out and touch.’
Working with natural materials is particularly important for the artist’s practice as well: ‘My work is based on traditional tie-dyeing process of the Bai women, which is very particular about the choice of materials. The natural blue root pigment only works on the natural fibre fabric, chemical fibre materials cannot be died by this. This influences my choice of materials: I only use pure cotton, pure linen, or other natural fibre materials. It is essential to me that I preserve this tradition and the original techniques. In a way, my work is a dialogue with nature, as all the materials in my work come from the natural world.’