10 Things I’ve Learned From Hanging Out With Candace Kling, Ribbon Worker Extraordinaire
How wonderful are these pretty blossoms? I absolutely love the satiny texture of the ribbons and their colors.
1. Candace Kling, the subject of my Tuesday post, has a wonderful studio with plenty of room to spread out works-in-progress and storage for supplies, tools, and everything else. It’s a shared warehouse space with a surface design artist/art professor, a print maker, and a fashion designer.
Candace’s main work center with the super-cool map drawer set.
2. Candace is wonderfully organized in the best-possible, non-anal way. Shelves display labeled boxes filled with wondrous flowery and ribbony treasures; a re-purposed set of map drawers in her primary work area holds her most useful supplies and tools; and file drawers stock class curricula and other material for her life as a working artist. The atmosphere is hip-creative and yet not precious or overwrought with “studio” design.
3. She’s well connected. After 30 years in pursuit of her craft, she’s got ties with a huge community of artists, collectors, crafters, collaborators, curators, peers, students, suppliers, and so forth. There’s a lot of activity in her orbit–a vintage hat discovery by a friend in an L.A. resale shop could be the start of a new exploration.
Straight from her worktable–a pretty blossom with handmade stamens and a center with cording hand dyed by a student and sculpted by Candace
4. Relatedly, Candace knows her way through private and museum costume collections. Much of her work and teaching derives from close-up study of these garments. Her detailed analysis and documentation preserves our understanding of historic clothing and our appreciation of antique workmanship.
A mid-20th century cashmere sweater with wonderful ribbon work and embroidered details.
5. Speaking of learning from vintage goods, she has an incredibly precise eye when she examines these fragile wares and has developed a variety of hands-off techniques for measurement. Often all she can use is a piece of thread for determining the dimensions of each element she’s studying. Her academic background in figure drawing and garment design/construction certainly honed her skills and raised her comfort level, and gave her the confidence to tackle even an 18th-century gown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Precision? These perfect tiny blossoms are probably 1/2″ in diameter.
6. Candace has a sublime resource library of ribbon, stamens, leaves, etc. A good portion of her stock is vintage goods culled from her finds and purchases from collectors. The new materials come from specialty shops and online stores. Everything is sorted, categorized, and labeled. And she’ll also custom make some of the elements, like stamens, when she needs a particular color or shape.
This still life is a casual sketch combining old and new flowers–the vase is a re-purposed vintage handbag.
8. Candace goes to extremes. Really? Yes! Most of her work can fit in the palm of a hand, but she’s been known to blow the roof off fine-art installations. Her sculpture, Massacre at Bridal Veil Falls, is 17 feet tall. Countless yards of hand-pleated and pressed sateen wrap a constructed plinth and cascade across the floor in sculpted, undulating waves.
“Massacre at Bridal Veil Falls” by Candace Kling
9. She has all the material, research, and images for a new book . . .