- - - - - -  - - - Spring 2017 - - - - - - - - - -






Gilbert MunizFans of the long-running (and since retired) Bernina Fashion Show will likely recognize the name Gilbert Muniz, whose work was included on two occasions in the final years of the fashion show. Muniz may be best known for his ornate and gorgeously tailored wearable art garments, but he also previously taught pattern making at a college in Houston and has had patterns published in SewStylish and Threads magazines.

These days, Muniz teaches beginner workshops in embellishment, dyeing, Polymer Clay, and pattern making, including classes at International Quilt Festival in Houston.

But visitors to the show this year will have the opportunity to see his work in a different capacity—on display as part of a solo exhibit that will include fourteen of his elaborate garments.

For this edition of Friends@Festival, we spoke with Gilbert about his inspiring work, the upcoming exhibit, and his online collection of
“Sad Patterns.”

Friends@Festival: First, can you please tell me a bit about yourself.
How did you start sewing, and what type of projects or garments did you make initially?

Muniz: I learned to sew when I was in high school. Both my mother and my grandmother taught me a few things. I made a lot of my shirts and pants for school. I was a bit experimental back then, so most of what I made was rather garish. I’m not sure I’d want to wear any of it now.

Friends@Festival: How do you think your work has evolved from the time you started to what it is now?

Muniz: I would say that the quality of my work has improved greatly. I also appreciate workmanship more. I think when I first learned how to sew, I was all about cranking pieces out, but now I’ve slowed down my approach to how clothes are made. I’ve learned to enjoy the process.

Friends@Festival: Can you tell us a little bit about your previous experience as a patternmaking instructor at HCC?

Muniz: I began teaching at Houston Community College right after I got my degree. It was a good opportunity to watch students develop their skills and adapt them to their own designs. I taught patternmaking, draping and some construction classes.

Friends@Festival: How did teaching other students impact you and your own art? And how did it prepare you to teach at venues like International Quilt?

Muniz: In every class, I learn something from my students. I think it’s important to keep an ongoing dialog with your students. That dialog always fuels me, creatively. I would say that teaching at the International Quilt Festival is on par with teaching at a college level, only I don’t have to grade anything.

Friends@Festival: You currently teach workshops in embellishment and dyeing. Do you focus on garments, or include other types of projects as well? And how can one-use embellishments to change the entire look of a garment or work?

Muniz: I focus on the techniques themselves. I think it’s important for the students to adapt the technique to their own work, whatever that may be. Some students are interested in wearables, others only quilts. Hopefully the students see that inspiration can come from a wide variety of sources. I just try to provide them with a few tools to help them evolve creatively.

I think adding even simple embellishments to your work can give it an edge. It just depends on how much work you want to invest in the piece. Going the extra mile will often end in spectacular results.

Friends@Festival: So, we had a chance to look through your blog,
Sad Patterns, and we must say it is hilarious! What was the motivation for starting the blog? How did you decide on its theme?

Muniz: I love vintage patterns, but some of them defy logic. I started the blog to poke fun at the styles of yesteryear. Just when I think I’ve found the worst sewing pattern ever made, along comes another that tops it.

Friends@Festival: You are going to have your own exhibit at Quilt Festival in Houston this year (congrats!). Can you please tell our readers a bit about what the exhibit will include?

Muniz: The exhibit will showcase fourteen of my wearable art pieces, including my two submissions from the Bernina fashion show. I think it will be a good opportunity for people to see, up close and personal, all the details I put into my work.

Friends@Festival: Also, the exhibit will be seen by tens of thousands of people…what is the message that you hope or would like conveyed to them?

Muniz: That enjoying the process is just as important as the
finished product.



Photo Cutlines:

1. Detail from Rojaku

2. Detail from Forgotten Traditions

3. Detail from Diamond Cocktail

4. Detail from Raja Redux

5. Detail from Composition



Q&A: Gilbert Muniz






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