Woven Energy: Heather Marie Macali


Heather Macali will join us to discuss her work and answer questions. She will speak at 5PM and 7PM.


As a contemporary fiber artist, Heather has focused primarily on color, pattern, texture, distortion and memory. Her frequent use of colors and patterns is a product of a childhood rich in experiences from the 1980’s and 1990’s Midwest material culture. Macali grew up in Munroe Falls, Ohio and received her Bachelors of Arts (focus in Crafts) from Kent State University. She continued her art research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison receiving a Masters of Fine Arts in Textiles in 2009.

Macali’s work has recently been published in the books: Art Yellow Book #1, by Leejin Kim, Digital Jacquard Design, by Julie Holyoke, and Textiles: The Art of Mankind, by Mary Schoeser. She worked in the fashion industry for four years as a print and pattern designer at Abercrombie & Fitch and La Senza. Macali currently resides in Detroit, Michigan working as a fiber artist and a professor at Wayne State University.


As a contemporary artist my work focuses on memory and the innocence of childhood, also the purity of the creative spirit and energy throughout this era of ones life. I remember the feeling of discovery and exploration as a child and that is something I always try to keep in mind when creating. 

The use of vibrant color and pattern stems from my recollection of the colors from the 1980s, more specifically the cartoons from this time period.  For example Rainbow Brite and The Carebears had many characters that were each associated with a specific color and responsibility. Whether it was to make all the green in the world beautiful and vibrant or to provide people with sweet dreams each night, they all had a job.  These cartoons have stayed with me especially the positive feel good spirit of them. 

My art crosses the boundaries of fine art, textile and interior design, upholstery, and craft. The decorative qualities of my pieces and the sound absorbing character of them create an interior application.  By stretching them over foam, I am able to generate a bulging effect that resembles an upholstered look, which is associated with interior and textile design.

Pattern is a significant subject matter in all of these fields and the underlying theme in my work. I view pattern as a visual language that can cause physical reactions to the viewer. The use of pattern is interesting because it can be chaotic and busy, but it is still a form of repetition and order.  The repetition and rhythm of a pattern generates visual movement, a central characteristic of my work that will keep the viewer visually engaged.  After spending countless hours doing independent research and tediously trying to link the gap between my three interests of fine art, craft, and design, I believe my work highlights and integrates the best aspects of all three.

Ultimately I am attempting to create fabric that carries ideas of color and pattern that I have had in my imagination for as long as I can remember; that are part of the visual world I was surrounded with as I grew up.  I am hoping to put these visions into a concrete form for both myself and for others to enjoy.  If I could choose, I would be surrounded by ordered color at all the times; it both exhilarates and comforts me.

I still have a physical reaction to color and pattern as an adult and want to create work that can provide this reaction to others and myself.