Culture

Name to know: Deepa Panchamia

The Finland-based artist is giving textiles a third dimension

Give her fabric and she’ll turn it into art.

It was during her degree studies in decorative arts at Nottingham Trent University in 2004, that Panchamia decided textiles would become her canvas. “I started working with silks and leathers; different kinds of white fabrics, woven textures, cotton, linen – I wanted to create interesting surfaces that had structural potential,” says the Finland-based artist. She accomplishes this by folding, pleating and knitting fabrics to create sculptural forms.

She’s not a fan of colour.

In over 10 years, she’s made just one dark piece. “I find that colour can be distracting. With whites and neutrals you appreciate the shadows and surface textures.”

She has heavy-duty names on her résumé.

Peter Marino’s architectural design firm (which counts both Chanel and Dior among its clients) commissioned Panchamia to create a piece for the Louis Vuitton Maison, London. She’s also exhibited at 100% Design in London (one of the UK’s biggest design events) and bagged a Premio Valcellina Award (Italy’s premier award for fibre art). In her spare time, she goes over to London to teach short courses at the University of the Arts and the Fashion and Textile Museum.

She makes wearable art that’s not really wearable.

“At the moment, I’m kind of obsessed with making little 3D boxes with fabrics and moulding them around the female body to see what other shapes can evolve from it,” she explains. But unless you want to do a Lady Gaga redux, the abstract pieces are best kept for viewing pleasure.

Panchamia’s works are part of the ongoing Contemporary Textile Art Biennial in Portugal till October 11. Deepapanchamia.com