Maya Critchfield ’16 in front of "Text(iles)," a series of drawings that represent clothing composed of handwritten stories.Maya Critchfield ’16 in front of "Text(iles)," a series of drawings that represent clothing composed of handwritten stories.

Critchfield is interested in continuing a tradition of women working with clothing and cloth.

“I have been making things by hand all of my life which naturally affects how I approach creating artwork, and I feel very strongly about cloth because it holds time and history within its folds,” she says.

“I feel very strongly about cloth because it holds time and history within its folds” - Maya Critchfield ’16.

Critchfield’s journey at COA began with studies in sustainable agriculture and natural sciences and eventually, through a series of twists and turns, led her to visual arts. Through COA’s French program, and a growing familiarity with Louise Bourgeois, a provocative French artist who also used cloth as her artistic medium, Critchfield gained inspiration and focus for her artistic path.

“I identify as an artist, a maker, and a creative person, though it took me a while to be comfortable as an artist,” she says. 

Make/ Wear/ Mend is “a personal exploration of the importance of clothing and cloth as vessels that hold memories and histories,” Critchfield says.

She began the project by working to encapsulate the history of clothing and cloth in her pieces.

Maya holding some of her sewing toolsMaya holding some of her sewing tools

“I started in a more general sense and then narrowed my focus to become more personal,” she says.

She also labored to explore her subject while incorporating surprising mediums such as writing, photography, drawing, and embroidery.

“My challenge in this project has been exploring new mediums to address the intricacies of clothing and cloth without the use of textiles,” she says.

Critchfield’s project was inspired, in part, by experiences and relationships at COA. She has worked closely with Dr. Catherine Clinger and arts faculty Dru Colbert and Nancy Andrews since discovering her passion for art. Classes like Studio Printmaking, Contemporary Artist as Researcher and Activist, Activating Spaces, and 4D Studio have all helped bring Critchfield to where she is today. In addition, her internship at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston last summer situated her in a community deeply rooted in art.

Critchfield hopes next to pursue an apprenticeship in textile art or printmaking. She is interested in working to integrate visual communication with art education as she moves forward from COA.