Artist Statement:

My work divulges the inner oddities and wisdom of my childhood mind. I work with the bright colors I thought I was supposed to outgrow, so I can knit pieces for my subconscious to grow into. Vibrant yarns are knitted into abstract shapes. They return me to the part of myself I ran from: A child who felt completely content without any answers.

I talk to her, knitting ceaseless twisty roads and cryptic mazes. An endless pink squiggle wraps around itself in loops, while I stop myself from crossing burned bridges. I knit the unfortunate timing in friendship: two zig-zag pieces that almost fit together, sharp from wounds yet embracing warmth. I conceive new compositions that surpass my expectations, and it feels like I’m learning to draw again. I invent, bend, and warp the knitting rules I learned so I can manifest my own orderly disorder- just like when I was six knitting for the very first time.

Although I find empowerment in uncertainty, I still take missteps.The stitches I am forced to unravel at times comfort me, as I unlearn distortions from adulthood. Within the scope of reminiscence, I knit my sweaters to embody my fears and find familiarity with my inner child.

Artist Bio:

Marta Nowak is a multifaceted knitwear artist. As a first generation Polish-American, she questions the boundaries of emotional vulnerability between her cultures. Amidst her unpredictable relationships, Marta sought comfort in knitting’s persistent nature. Subconsciously in search of inner peace, this led her to pursuing a Textiles BFA at RISD.

In 2020, she became a resident at the Textile Arts Center. Here, she pioneered an illustrative knitting technique that embodies her work. For Marta, knitting shapes forms parallels with drawing as a girl. She knits traditional yet evocative sweater silhouettes for her past younger selves as a bridge of comfort.

Marta’s work is gaining recognition in the fine art and design world. This year, her work won 3rd place in By Hand 2024– a fine craft competition hosted by Blue Line Arts Gallery. In May 2023, Marta was one of thirteen selected fiber residents at Pentaculum- an invitational residency at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She has exhibited nationally- most recently at the International Fiber Arts XI Biennial Fiber art show. She continues to break the rules of knitting in her Jersey City apartment.