Nature in the Studio, Cynthia Fusillo

Nature Shoes

I am intrigued by the act of creation as a human necessity and as a means of reconstructing our relationship to Nature.

Through my ongoing research into this act and this relationship, I have discovered the writings of eco-feminist philosopher Carolyn Merchant. She reminds us that, pre-Enlightenment, Nature was viewed as the benevolent mother of all things.  It was the ‘dominion’ model of Scientific Revolution that replaced this perspective, rationalizing and dissecting Nature to reveal all her secrets. In having such secrets exposed, Nature became more vulnerable and, hence, easier to control.

My intention is to reclaim a pre-dominion relationship to the nurturing and life-giving presence of Mother Nature by respectfully creating work that underlines her beauty and spiritual potency.

Here, my studio becomes the space where I immerse myself in those materials that I collect through my connections with Nature, such as leaves, feathers, dirt and branches.

I marry these materials with my interest in working in a vein between artistic and artisanal – sewing, collaging, gathering, saving, collecting, recycling and patterning – emphasizing the functional as well as the aesthetic. These are all practices that are rooted in the heritage of the feminine.

Installation in Shangyuan Museum, Beijing, China (2018)

5 thoughts on “Nature in the Studio, Cynthia Fusillo

  1. Dear Cynthia,

    I can’t stop looking at those shoes! If you have more works from this series, please share. Are the larger ones in the middle made of soil? Could you maybe give us a short insight into your technical process?

    Recently I though a lot about how eco-unfriendly the contemporary art system actually is. With all the travelling (mostly flying), many large-scale pieces produced out of unecological materials, a lot of building and constructing often for one-time usage. Some people are talking about a global slowdown after the crisis. I’m eager to see how (and if) it will affect our field.

    I love how you work with natural materials and this very gentle, respectful approach to nature.

      1. Whoops..hello again Anastasia…thank you for asking. I have been making these shoes for some years now. They seem to have come after I started making paper dresses. The truth is I don’t buy many materials but see what is around in my environment wherever I am and use the “fallen nature”, etc.
        My foot is the measurement usually to begin with but then it changes, gets bigger, smaller,pointy, square.
        The base is always paper, many times recycled or older works that didn’t “make it”. …I try to make it thicker or stronger buy layering it and maybe adding a matte medium.
        They are made of so many different natural elements: dirt, tea, flowers, shells, sticks. Mostly things that I collect. The process is quite intuitive there is not much planning but a lot of manipulation of the materials. I especially like to sew them first if the material allows it.
        Today I will post something I made with old, dried flowers(I am running out of materials ) I am interested in small intimate fragile acts that become stronger and meaningful when put into the realm of observation and Art.

  2. Dear Cynthia,
    I’m in love with your nature shoes! The way how you combine such fragile materials together is amazing, so delicate. Reminds me of Cy Twombly’s paintings. Keep posting. I’m looking forward to your new projects.

    1. Thank you so much Elizaveta. I am in love with Nature although quite a “city” woman. At the moment I am creating a “garden” in my studio with the dead/dried flowers I have from my daughters.

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