In Conversation With Le'Ecia Farmer
Le’Ecia Farmer is a multidisciplinary artist based in Seattle, Washington. Read about her process and inspiration below.
Modeled by Alex Irvine
What would you consider your first experience with the art world?
For me, being around art goes back to childhood. My dad was an artist so I have a lot of early memories of going to art supply stores, painting, or playing around with clay. When I went to school at The Evergreen State College in 2011, I first saw what art shows and exhibits could look like. With both college and childhood, I experienced making art in a usually safe and experimental environment. When I started showing work after I graduated, is when I first experienced the art world without the safe bubble of being surrounded by family or peers. I first showed a few paintings and a short film installation at King Street Station in Seattle with The Onyx Collective. I love group shows because you learn so much about other people’s work as well as how your work can be in conversation with various themes that are relevant to that group.
What inspired you to start making clothing?
Inspiration for me also started in childhood. I remember being as young as 5 saying I wanted to be a fashion designer or supermodel. I grew up in the 90s so supermodels were still big back then. I just remember thinking that they looked like moving works of art and I wanted to be a part of that somehow. My mom owns a hair salon and growing up she would always have magazines around for her clients. I would take home old issues of Vogue, Seventeen, Blackhair Magazine and even interior design and landscaping magazines. I would collage them or write in my own commentary on how to style certain outfits or make trend predictions. Throughout my youth, everything we wore was usually handed down or thrifted. I can only remember a couple times I felt embarrassed or like an outsider because, before it was a trend, thrifted clothes were often associated with poverty. I quickly got over that though and saw the endless possibilities of working with a wide range of options. To this day I still love baggy clothing, layers, and eclectic pairings.
In college, I had a roommate who let me play around on her sewing machine and showed me basic skills, but I was honestly slightly afraid of the sewing machine. My desire to make clothes never left though, so eventually I started seriously making my own garments in 2015 or 2016 by watching Youtube tutorials.
How would you describe the process of creating your garments?
My process can definitely range. I am a visual person, so sometimes I sketch out an illustration of my vision before I start anything. However, it's often more organic where I pull fabric first that speaks to me. I’ll then briefly study how it moves and feels and if any patterns present themselves in conjunction with other fabric. Other times, the textile construction takes precedence. I love natural colors and texture, so I may start by weaving or dyeing fabric or playing around with textile manipulation. If I am more obsessed with a structural element, I may draft garments from muslin and experiment with the patterns. Honestly though, each time I create it might involve a mixture of all of these processes. It really just depends on how the vision came to me, and what the focus is (silhouette, color, textile, pattern, a vibe or a combination of these things).
Aside from making clothing, how do you spend your days?
I am a mama to a sweet 3 year old so we are pretty tight most days. And I mean very tight. My kid, Indigo, sleeps about 1cm from my face at night. It's nice though, as Indigo gets older, I’m slowly but surely getting to see what my time looks like when Indigo is off playing independently or when we are away from each other. I like to play banjo and pole dance and a lot of other things that are rooted in joy and expression. I also run a community space and boutique in Tacoma with my sister and cousin called Parable, so you can catch me there often.
What are you looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to deeper connections. There are a lot of folks I haven’t seen in a while or relationships that have been tossed and turned by the pandemic and everything that comes with navigating life during these times. I am a very loner type person but when I am open to sharing space, I love very intimate one-on-one connections and sharing physical space. Honestly I look forward to just being with other beings.
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