Benjamin Shine is one of today’s leading fabric sculptors—receiving the Enterprising Young Brit Award in 2004 and the Courvoisier Future 500 Art & Design Award in 2017. He has collaborations with John Galliano, Bergdorf Goodman and Givenchy under his belt, just to name a few.
He describes his work as painting with fabric and it is very important to him that it not look like fabric but rather like smoke. His tulle portraits are hauntingly beautiful, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and each portrait takes between 50 and 100 hours to create. Depending on the nature of the piece, he can spend 15 to 20 hours on a single eye alone. Shine describes his creative process as a lot of trial and error and a lot of tweaking. It is also very important for him to work with the direction the fabric naturally takes and not simply bend it to his will. He wants the fabric to tell its own story while it’s also telling the story he’s asked it to tell.
Monica Hutchings is a Canadian writer and translator from Toronto who has worked on everything from technical descriptions to academic journals. She is our copy-editor and our in-house DirectIndustry English translator.