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SIENNA SHIELDS: AMERICAN CRAFT MAGAZINE

 

I photographed the artist Sienna Shields for American Craft Magazine (April/May 2013). Sienna is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose work ranges from quilting, sculpture and beadwork, to performance, video and photography. Currently she’s perhaps best known for her collage paintings.

When I first scouted her Dumbo studio, I was drawn to her down-to-earth openness and gentle confidence. We decided it was best for me to come back on a day when she was setting up one of her intricate bead installations, so I could document her working in her space, as well as set up a portrait.

On the day of the shoot, Sienna enlisted the help of her father and a few close friends to untangle and hang her delicate masses of beads, Q-tips and wire. Her bead installations are almost molecular in structure, yet maintain an amorphous fluidity that feels alive. Sienna relies her intuition to guide each recreation, letting the sculpture grow and adapt to the present moment and space.

The organic nature of Sienna’s process was magnetic.  Seeing it stretch and come alive felt open and inviting. It’s my job to read my subject and help make our way our way, together, to the right moment. When I asked Sienna to pose with her piece (above), intertwined with her installation, we had found that moment. She seemed at ease, her body language communicating strength, comfort and confidence.

You can view more photographs of Sienna on my website.