Selective Focus: Erika Mock

Erika Mock is a textile artist and arts activist who uses recycled materials to make zero-waste artwear. On Thursday, Aug. 24, she will be co-hosting a Pop-Up Shop and Open Studio along with Kristina Estell (previously featured in Selective Focus).

E.M.: I create textiles for body and soul; free-spirited sculpted art to wear to wake your body and perceptions. Most are richly colored accessories (wraps, eco-scarves, skinnies, wings, feathers, talismans, and tendrils), both organic in shape and elegant … a kind of sensitive chaos juiced with symbolism and surprise. They are about transformation and story in two ways:

1) literally … each piece has multiple wearing options such as design elements, form, and button or loop closures, so each time it is put on, it changes.

2) symbolically … each piece explores questions of identity:

Is there such a thing as a garment that connects to our essence … that can draw out our essence so we feel more essentially ourselves? How do the invisible stories in cloth create an emotional patina, memory, connection that serve our experiences in present time?

As our second skin and our body shelter, how does clothing nourish and sustain?

Terra Illuminata, Wrap
recycled silk, cotton, rayon, vintage buttons

Using recycled materials my ‘art for the body’ stretches familiar and ancient motions of working with yarn and cloth in unexpected new directions. Gently worn garments are cleaned of their unknown past and cut apart. The qualities inherent in each fabric carry an excitement that unleashes in the cut pieces, that are improvised — like music — composed , sculpted, stitched into a new form. There is an alchemy in this re-cycle into a new future for the cloth. The color and unknown stories set both a structure and a freedom for the new, but re-claimed, sculptural textile to transform with the wearer.

Tendril… round and round and round you go. And when you stop, you will know.
You’re beautiful.
Skinny sculpted neck piece
rayon, cotton, silk
Photographer: Jeff Frey
Model: Suzy Baer

After 11 years in Superior’s Trade and Commerce (Red Mug) Building and 1 year in Lakeside, I’ve just moved my studio to Lincoln Park. Thru beautiful serendipity, I’ve landed in sculptor and painter Kristina Estell’s studio while she heads to a residency in Texas for a year. On Thursday, Aug 24, Kristina and I are hosting the 12North Art Pop Up Shop and Open Studio, 12 N. 21st Ave. W., Duluth. It is a celebration of journeys. A ‘Hello’ to Erika – a ‘See you later’ to Kristina, and a ‘Welcome’ to our neighborhood. Please join us!

Chartreuse Wing and pulse warmers,
For the nomadic traveler and lover of birds
cotton, silk, rayon
Photographer: Jeff Frey
Model: Suzy Baer

I am a maker inspired by the movement of needles thru yarn and cloth. I stitch to question our stories, knit to flip the paradigm, weave to honor our interconnectedness. I have a background in music therapy, human potential, horticulture, design. I have lived off the grid. These disciplines cross-pollinate and give substance to my ever changing sustainability based art business and the work that is constantly emerging.

Olive Talisman for Change
” I am whole and Complete’
recycled cotton, silk, rayon
Photographer: Jeff Frey
Model: Suzy Baer

The biggest challenge and reward from choosing art as a career /life path is creating sustainability on all levels — from paying the bills to making meaningful work that you are on fire to get into the studio to bring to the world. For me this is a dance of elements — balance, failure, trusting when to hang on and when to let go, when to work solo or collaborate, choosing to work within my values and truth; being present, plumbing the depths of everything, fun (essential!), and persistence. So much persistence!

I live in a renovated caboose in the woodlands of NW Wisconsin and work in my studio in West Duluth. For 28 years I’ve been traveling to juried art festivals around the country to show and sell my work. This nomadic process of bringing art to the everyday feeds my need to work with the arts as advocacy for the imagination, our greatest resource that I believe is at the root of dissolving our current problems living in this time of extremes.

Red Feather and Pulse Warmers
Believe the Bird series
recycled cotton, silk, rayon, merino
Photographer: Jeff Frey
Model: Suzy Baer

People can see my work at:
Fine art festivals and events around the country or by appointment in my studio (people can sign up for my monthly e- newsletter)
Spectrum West NPR interview with Al Ross — answers to questions no one has ever asked before! (my interview is first and lasts about 15 minutes.)

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