Hong Kong-born, UK-based artist Nora Fok creates wearable textiles inspired by science and math, using nylon microfilament. Hand-woven, knitted, braided and knotted, a single piece can take weeks to finish! See more of Fok’s ethereal work below or on display at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City until May 28th.
Born in Hong Kong, Nora had to leave school at 12 to work in a factory assembling toys and compu ter components. Nora says the experience gave her the structure and discipline which stillunderpins her work. “It also made me determined to leave the factory and have a career inart and design”. She studied in Hong Kong and worked there as a graphic designer. In 1978 she was accepted on the three-dimensional design course a Brighton Polytechnic, which emphasised an experimental approach to materials.
Nora – “The new jewellery movement was all about looking at and using different non-traditional materials and I was really taken with it. Lots of new, interesting materials were being used on the course and we experimented with different materials like resin, fibre glass and acrylic and one tutor, who was a keen angler, bought in some nylon fishing line. I spent a lot of time playing around with the fishing lines and experimented with knitting and knotting it. I also learnt to use dye to colour it.”
Nora works at home in Hove,on the sunny south east coast of England, she uses no mechanical equipment, all her work is carried out by hand processes, with only basic tools.
She is intrigued by the world around her; she also asks questions and tries to find answers to them. She is fascinated by different aspects of nature, structure, systems and order, and the mysteries and magic which she sets out to capture in her work. They are often quite complicated requiring many hours, days or weeks to produce and she has the necessary dedication to see her ideas through. She likes to draw attention to the very ordinary to make something special by presenting it in her own way. Her approach is not scientific; she combines her discoveries intuitively with her personal technical skills to produce her unique pieces.
The artist has established herself as a pioneering maker. Nora makes her work by hand using techniques she has taught herself: knitting, knotting, tying, weaving, plaiting.
Fok has artwork that is currently being shown in the Jewelry of Ideas exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, which is up through May 2018, and she shares exhibition dates and a small archive of jewelry on her website.