Gabriela Serigatto

Brazilian designer Gabriela Serigatto has been living in Seattle for a year and creates bizarre and wonderful crocheted garments. They're typically embedded with unruliness and twisting patterns, and have forms sprouting up, resembling the beings found in a coral reef. Many of these details emerge as she's working: "It's like when you start to do a sculpture and you're not sure what you'll end up with," Gabriela says.

Her recent projects include a conceptual neckpiece with a set of snap-on knit objects to rest upon the wearer's shoulders. The objects are valved and puffy and modeled after the human heart. There's also a headwear series, presumably designed to hold the wearer's thoughts in place, and it features absurd shapes suggesting coiled animal horns, or monocles, or bulky flowers, all wilted and otherworldly.

Maintaining this tone, Gabriela's line of crocheted gown structures are overlaid with bundles and lumpiness. Some have dense tubes in tribute to pitcher plants (these are the creepy ones that murder insects using decoy odors, escape-inhibiting barbed hairs, and pools of body-dissolving enzymes). One gown pairs spindly anatomical forms and bilateral symmetry, taking on an upholstered- skeleton-of-mythological-creature look. And in Gabriela's other designs, even familiar items seem strange, such as the pair of pleat-front khaki pants she flipped upside down and reappropriated into a dress. (The legs splay open to make a plunging neckline, and the fly becomes a vent at the skirt's front hem.)

Meanwhile, in a Wallingford teahouse, Gabriela and I flip through the pictures she's stored on her laptop for inspiration. There are fruit platters after fruit platters, with varying and precise arrangements, and then several drawings of a man with bulbs and leaves and vines growing up through his flesh, but it doesn't seem as unpleasant as it sounds. There's also a shot of an ordinary lettuce salad, strewn with vegetables, and Gabriela replicated the uneven texture into a yarn swatch by positioning the knots to build jittery wads, and this turned out very charming. Then Gabriela says, "I don't like only pretty things," and her other photographs are a panoply of nature's horrors, such as a squirrel, dead, in a jar, suspended by clear liquid. She was drawn to "the white of the chest fur and the bumpy shape in the front paw." Next comes a pair of foxes, dead, smashed-looking and lightly smeared in blood: "The image can touch you. You feel it inside." recommended

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