The Promise of a Sheep to Shoulder Economy


The Surface Design Association awards Kyla Mucci, MFA ACD '13 for her efforts to revolutionize the garment industry.

MFA Candidate Kyla Mucci, MFA ACD ’13 was recently recognized for creative and technical excellence by the Surface Design Association (SDA), with the Creative Promise Award for Student Excellence. SDA awards a single graduate award each year, which makes Mucci the sole graduate recipient. Mucci, who will earn her MFA in Applied Craft and Design in May 2013, has a background in fashion design and a take-no-prisoners passion for transforming the garment industry.

“Simply put, I’m on a quest to live within the boundaries set forth by nature,” says Mucci. “My exploration of various resources and media is directed toward environmental sustainability, which is an integral part of my creative process. Because I perceive the environment and design as mutually constitutive elements, I tend to work with materials that are close to their primary sources. Indeed, resource provenance is a critical aspect of my work, with regard to both natural and regional sources.”


During her first year of grad school, Mucci experimented with developing natural fiber dyes from plants that she encountered along Portland streets. Multi-varied shades of gold, brown, ocher, and one brilliant fuchsia were the result. She has also worked to rehabilitate an computerized AVL Dobby loom at Oregon College of Art and Craft. The result was a length of golden wool fabric (dyed with onion skins) destined for a partnership with Portland designer Adam Arnold. Mucci’s work has been featured in multiple craft shows around town, most recently at Union/Pine. Recently, she developed an innovative and fool-proof indigo dye recipe.

From her artist statement:

“To that end, my design choices are always informed by tactile interaction. The materials I use range from wool, linen, and cotton, and vegetable dyes. Using materials as my vocabulary, I aspire to produce works of art that tell engaging stories. The way an item finds its way into my hands provides context for what happens when thought and kinetic energy interact symbiotically during the creative process. While I try to establish a destination for every project, I also attend to the interesting ways that things evolve as the process moves from start to finish.”

Mucci’s not the only PNCA mover and shaker in the surface design world: Amanda Brennan-Melbostad, MFA ACD ’12 was recently appointed Oregon’s regional SDA representative.

You can see more of Mucci’s work on her portfolio, blog, and Tumblr. You can also follow her on Instagram: @kylacmucci.


Clockwise from top left: Mucci’s loom in progress; Just setting up the loom is an effort; This detail of a wall-hanging was dyed entirely with natural dyes made from plants from the Pacific Northwest; Setting up a Dobby loom can mean individually placing more than 500 separate threads. All photos courtesy of the artist.


The result of Mucci’s collaboration with Portland designer Adam Arnold. Model Lia Woolf in an Adam Arnold dress, hand-woven by Kyla Mucci. Photo courtesy of Adam Arnold.

by Killeen Hanson, MFA ACD '12

— Posted on 09/25 at 12:59 PM

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