Multi-faceted designer Tiffany Loy pushes the boundaries of textile construction to create experimental forms and fibre-based art pieces. Initially trained in industrial design, Singaporean textile artist and educator Tiffany Loy has always been curious about machines and production processes.
Known for Intricate Woven Works
Known for her attention to miniscule details in her intricate woven works, she employs a weaver’s approach to sculpture, exploring relationships between elements of materiality, like structure, tension and colour and creating intrinsically sculptural works that reveal the often hidden tactile qualities within woven materials.
Weaving Loom’s Binary System
“The weaving loom was the predecessor of the modern computer (its binary system led to the invention of punch cards, which are essentially inputs in 0s and 1s),” Tiffany says, as she explains what initially drew her interest to textiles and likening the loom to the earliest computer. “I was drawn to studying the weaving loom, what it could produce, as well as how it works.”
Founded Studio in 2014
Since the founding her studio in 2014, she has utilised her background in product and textile design to hone her unique approach in creating products with attentive details in the context of the overall impact in a spatial environment. She exhibited her tactile, woven creations internationally, at venues such as the Singapore Art Museum, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art and La Triennale di Milano.
“There is a number of artists and designers I admire – Dora Maurer, Bridget Reily, Chitose Abe – but I wouldn’t say that they defined the trajectory of my career,” reflects Tiffany.
Graduated from Royal College of Art
Indeed, after graduating from the Royal College of Art with a Master’s degree in Textiles, the designer sought to set up her own studio early on in her career to have the freedom to work on projects in different fields and assume different roles, whether it is that of an artist working of a commissioned artwork, a materials researcher experimenting with yarn structures and materials for weaving, or an educator leading a project with design students.
“As my career developed my interests became more diverse,” she muses. “The books I collect now range from artbooks to books about education and psychology. They may not sound related but I enjoy this mix of nourishment.”
Experimenting with Heritage
Often referencing traditional techniques and re-framing them in the contemporary context, Tiffany builds her work on exploring heritage in experimental ways.
Armed with techniques learned during her studies in Singapore, England and Japan, the designer finds joy in discovering the micro and the macro duality in her textile projects – the up close interaction with and the perception upon observation and appreciation of the works.
“I’d like the viewing experience to be rewarding – it’s delightful to encounter something draws you in and makes you observe and discover with your own eyes,” Tiffany says.
Constantly Pursuing New Techniques
Viewing her process of making textile pieces as moving along the always evolving trajectory, Tiffany remains tireless in her pursuit of new techniques, new materials, new perspectives and new lessons learned.
In her words, “As I develop my art and design practice, I’m constantly searching for educational value in these domains. I hope to do more research in the role of art and design in education, and vice-versa. These research activities may take the form of dialogues with practitioners, or collaborative projects that explore forms of art education.”
Supertextures, The Rugmaker (2016)
In 2016, Loy was commissioned by Singapore brand The Rugmaker to design a collection of woven rugs. She prototyped her designs in-house and worked with The Rug Maker and VM-Carpet to refine the collection. The resulting collection utilises wool, cotton and paper yarn to celebrate materiality and structure in woven textiles.
The Weaverly Way (2020)
The Weaverly Way is a textile sculpture completed in 2020, which was initially a site-specific installation at citizenM hotel, Bankside, London, shown during London Craft Week 2020. It was a collaboration with Gainsborough Weaving and a result of rigorous experimentation in colour, weave structure, and form-finding. “This project was crucial in broadening my body of work, to include Jacquard-woven textiles, on top of my existing hand-woven work,” Tiffany explains.
A couple of years after graduation, Tiffany was offered a design residency at the National University of Singapore, where the designer was given the freedom to explore a subject of her choice. The result of her exploration was a body of materials research that led to textile-embossing instruments. It was the first textile-based project Tiffany published and it was shown in group shows at Triennale di Milano and at the Singapore Art Museum.
Lines in Space, Tiffany Loy (2023)
Lines in Space is Tiffany’s most recent solo exhibition at Art Outreach, during the Singapore Art Week. “I wove an installation in-situ and it’s the largest one yet. In this new body of work I explored weaving in an exaggerated scale, using the room (floor and ceiling) as a three dimensional loom,” she says.
The designer foresees this project as a start of a whole new trajectory of exploration for other works to come – weaving in alternative forms of looms.