By Susan Kemp
Just along Taylor Street, Pepe Hall houses SCAD’s fibers department.
Fourth-year fibers major Molly Shea didn’t always know she’d end up within the yellow walls at Pepe, but like many other freshmen, fell in with the freedom of fibers once she got here.
So what’s fibers all about? District sat down with Shea to talk about her recent work, her process and what’s to come after graduation.
Name: Molly Shea
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
District: What made you decide to major in fibers?
Molly Shea: I was fashion originally and I took a few fashion courses.
And I mean I liked it — I’ve been sewing since seventh grade — but I just wanted to try something new so I took Intro to Fibers and fell in love with it.
I realized I could kind of do the same thing, but I’m really detail-oriented and I can be more detailed in fibers.
It’s not as fast of a pace because you can kind of make your own pace and I can rely more on all the little details and what goes into making the fabric.
District: How would you differentiate fibers from fashion?
Shea: It’s really free and open in fibers. You can make whatever you want.
We have studio production in fibers, we have fine art, and we have print and pattern as well. It’s just really broad.
If you want to make things for sale–kind of like lingerie and stuff–that’s more like studio production. Then you can make fine arts pieces that are for galleries.
I mean it’s just to create beauty and it’s kind of about the process with fibers, more than it is the end goal.
District: Tell us about the process. If it’s a Wednesday night and you have a final the next day, what are you doing to prepare for it?
Shea: I’ll probably be on the sewing machine or hand sewing.
The lingerie set was free motion lace which means which means it was free motion on the sewing machine and on dissolving fabric.
You just sew and make sure all the threads are connecting and then soak it in water and the fabric you just sewed on goes away and you’re just left with threads. That took a while and then beading and handwork. So I’ll just be sitting in my room with an embroidery hoop and threads and beads and sequins.
District: What was the inspiration behind the lingerie set you showed at the Open Studio?
Shea: I spent my summer in New York and I loved it a lot, but there were things about Savannah that I really missed — the whole natural aspect. Whereas, there was a lot of man-made nature in New York. And so it was kind of about the juxtaposition of the man-made and the organic/natural.
District: Is there usually a conceptual element to your work?
Shea: I have to start conceptually, then bring it back to studio production. I’ve always been interested in lingerie and intimates just because they’re some of my favorite things. I got into making some of them my junior year and then got really more into it my senior year. It was really kind of a cool way to tie in motifs that I didn’t really get to use before.
District: Lingerie seems to focus more on details, too.
Shea: It does. It’s easier to cover a piece of lingerie in a lot of detail than it is a huge garment.
District: Are there any studios out there that focus on this sort of technique in their lines?
Shea: There’s definitely a lot of lingerie places–I don’t know about embellished lingerie–but I mean, it’s definitely something that I can see being tied in. A lot of people are adding a lot more details lately to lingerie.
District: Do you see yourself continuing with this after graduation?
Shea: Definitely. I spent my summer embellishing at an internship in New York, so it’s really just a bunch of hand embellishing and that’s what I’d really love to do. As long as I’m working with my hands, I will be a happy camper.Contact Susan Kemp.