This fiber-based apprenticeship will focus on the creation of knit wearables as the primary medium for Emily O’Neil to mentor apprentice artist Grace Foxen. Together they will explore the use of a ribber to expand upon Grace’s current knowledge of knit garments, allowing her to utilize new techniques for more complex and sophisticated fabrics which she will use to design and complete a sweater. First, she will learn how to set up and use the rib attachment, next Grace will learn how to shape fabrics within the confines of the ribber, and finally she will take the skills learned to draft and design a garment that will be constructed over the remainder of the apprenticeship. The pair will accomplish this through 100 hours of one-on-one training and careful guidance at Grace’s studio at Engine in Biddeford, Maine.
Emily O’Neil (Portland, ME)
Emily Nora O’Neil is a knitwear designer, whose namesake brand is inspired by the romance and beauty of the world around her. Each design is informed by humble elements in nature, fine art, film, and clothing of the past. Using natural materials, she produces small batch and bespoke garments that are slowly made using a hand operated antique knitting machine.
Emily is adjunct faculty at the Maine College of Art and Rhode Island School of Design.
“Grace and I met about 5 years ago when she took my Maine College of Art machine knitting course as a USM student. Since observing her practice from student to postgrad in her own studio practice, I admire Grace’s approach to the medium as she deeply investigates one technique at a time. To me, there is brilliance in these thorough investigations, and I am very excited for the opportunity to teach Grace advanced techniques on the double bed for her to then interpret and fully explore..“ – Emily O’Neil
Grace Foxen (Scarborough, ME)
My mother gave me two unique gifts—the tools, at age four, to sew, and the disregard for a ready-made pattern. She filled my head with empowering mantras and encouraged me to trust in the world I was creating in my mind.
My work is an expression of the spiritual bliss I find in creating. Deeply inspired by nature and the touch of the human hand, I find beauty in the infinite vibrating palette of flowers, sensory satisfaction in natural cycles, reusing materials from the Earth, and in the muscular memory in my own hands. Tuning into the natural rhythm of the Earth’s cycles, it is my goal to bring a healing flow through the opening of our collective mind toward a culture that sees beauty in the flaws of our humanness and in the process of making beautiful things by hand.
“I want to work with Emily because I really connect with her teaching style. She was my instructor for most of my undergrad education in learning the knitting machine, and I think she really encouraged and pushed me to a limit I might not have been able to go to without her. She is extremely skilled in her own practice and uses the ribber frequently in her own work. We had a great student/teacher relationship, and I think a mentorship is a very fitting and necessary next step.” – Grace Foxen