Sew and the city: Artist makes a skyline in cloth

Deeply felt: Textile artist Ann Cofta will show off her embroidered cityscapes at Greenpoint’s Yashar Gallery starting on Nov. 2.
Photo by Jessica Parks

She quilt this city!

A local artist has stitched a series of patchwork, pop-art visions of the New York City skyline, which will go on display at a Greenpoint gallery next week. The textile artist behind “You Are Here,” opening at Yashar Gallery on Nov. 2., said that she did not intend to make the Big Apple her muse, but the endless opportunities of the city gave her little choice.

“The city structures have just continued showing up in my art,” said Ann Cofta, a native New Yorker who says that she notices a different facet of her hometown every day.

Brooklynites who visit the gallery show might recognize their own neighborhoods in the embroidered cityscapes, but Cofta, who lives in Queens but works at her studio in Greenpoint, says that she is just as likely to incorporate elements of both boroughs, and the skyline of distant Manhattan, into a single piece, as the inspiration takes her.

“It’s funny because a lot of times I start with a particular place,” she said. “But then, as I am sewing pieces together, it just evolves.”

In addition to her hand-sewn quilts, Cofta also creates Native American–inspired beaded pouches in the shape of city icons, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Wonder Wheel, and the Empire State Building, along with three-dimensional watercolor pieces she calls “tunnel books.”

Water towers are another iconic image that is speckled throughout Cofta’s art. Sometimes the structures serve as the focal point in a piece; in others, they help to make an abstract piece more identifiable as a cityscape.

“It can be very abstract until I put the water tower in,” she said. “It is that structure that makes you say ‘Okay, now we have a skyline.’ ”

“You Are Here” at Yashar Gallery (276 Greenpoint Ave. at Jewel Street in Greenpoint, brooklynartstudiosnyc.blogspot.com). On display Nov. 2–10; Sat–Sun; 1–4 pm. Opening reception Nov. 2; 5–8 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Jessica Parks at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jparks@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @_JessicaParks.

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