MEET THE REVOLUTIONARIES: Mandisa
Detroit Fiber Works
Mandisa Smith has explored the arts since childhood. She has worked in many mediums, including textile design, painting on fabric, marbling on fabric, papermaking, bookmaking, glass fusing, glass beadmaking, jewelry design and metalsmithing.
For the past five years, Mandisa’s focus has been felting. This is a unique fiber art, practiced by only a few artists in the Detroit metro area. Mandisa creates wet felted wearable art as well as wet felted home accessories. The primary felting techniques that she employs are Wet Felting, which uses 100% wool, and Nuno Felting, in which wool is fused with another fabric. (Mandisa prefers silk gauze.) These are very labor intensive techniques, which result in beautiful garments and accessories which can never be duplicated, not even by the artist herself! Frequently, she dyes her creations using plant materials, another non-repeatable technique.
Recently, her work has been included in the Grosse Pointe Art Center National Fiber Show. Her work has been shown and sold locally at Savvy Chic, 14 East Cafe, Dell Pryor Gallery, Arts Extended Gallery, Jo’s Gallery, Mac Galleries, Lawrence Street Gallery, Michigan Artisans, Naka, Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Association, The International Bazaar, The National Conference of Artists Gallery, The Birmingham Temple, Detroit Institute of Arts, Tulani Rose, and Detroit Artists Market, and has been featured in HOUR Detroit Magazine.
Mandisa has expanded her felting expertise through workshops with Vilte Kazlauskaite , of Lithuania; Irit Dulman of Tel Aviv, Israel; and Leiko Uchiama of Japan. She is a former member of Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale, MI. Academically, Mandisa holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and worked in the automotive industry for many years.