Amy Gross' hand-embroidered and beaded sculptures are magical microcosms, merging the natural world with her own inner life. Attracted and frightened by things on the edge of spoiling or straining to support an excess, the American artist creates vignettes that cluster, tangle, cling, and multiply. Paradoxically, these vivid accounts of the natural world use nothing from nature.
Hand-Embroidered and Beaded Sculptures by Amy Gross
"I do not collaborate with the nature that fascinates me, the myriad of visible and invisible interactions that lie at the heart of every insect, bacteria, tree, and spore. I collaborate with manufacturing. I use no found objects, nothing was ever alive."
Amy works from her home studio in South Florida. Her fiber sculptures highlight the beauty of the natural world from microscopic spores and seed pods to leaves and birds. Her art is so stunningly detailed that it is sometimes hard to believe that everything is handmade.
The Smallest of Life Forms
"I'm fascinated by symbiosis and scale, how we are influenced not only by what we can see but the smallest of life forms."
Bees dot the surface of a work formed from leaves, honeycomb, and moss, while other works contain kaleidoscopic arrays of birds, mushrooms, and other fungi. All of her pieces are made of self-crafted elements sourced from craft stores like yarn, beads, wire, and paper.
"Making objects is my way of turning thought into something solid and real, and in a way, slowing time. I never use anything in my work that was ever alive, I collaborate solely with manufactured materials. They mimic living things but will not wither or die. It’s a very human desire to slow or control disintegration, to try to have a say in a volatile, uncontrollable world of change.”
Manipulating Craft Store Items Into Magical Microcosms of Nature
Amy Gross expresses that she loves how imitative fiber and fabric and beads and thread can be. They can be manipulated and knotted and twisted and stitched into moss and soil and cells and cilia. The process of turning one thing into something else entirely, something that seems to live, is so affirming and fascinating, according to the artist. She loves ordinary craft store materials because of this. "It doesn’t matter what they were meant to do – they are totally open to be anything you want them to be. And there is the meditative aspect of working in fiber too, each bead applied and every stitch or knot counting a breath, a moment lived. It’s like leaving a trail, in a way, in a life that rushes by very quickly."
More About Amy Gross
Her largest work, the installations with many pieces, usually take about six months to create. Smaller work generally ranges from two weeks to a month each. You can see more of Amy Gross' nature-inspired sculptures on her website.