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You Can See This Textile Artist at Work This Month at the Mingei International Museum

Denja Harris talks about her love for "painting with fabric" and prepping for her first workshop demonstration ever

By Erica Nichols

Denja Harris

Denja Harris

Playful nostalgia and sensory stimulation are the foundation of Denja Harris’s approach to art. The self-taught textile artist has been crafting large-scale fiber works since she bought her first tufting gun two years ago. Inspired by texture and cheerful patterns, Harris has stitched together a style that’s bold, funky, and versatile.

“Creating a conversation between color and pattern has always been a common theme in my style,” she says. “I love playing with texture—different pile cuts, lengths, and depths—to create a dynamic, layered contrast.”

Harris is also keen on sustainability, sourcing dead-stock yarn and incorporating natural fibers like cotton and wool as often as she can. No matter the medium, most projects start the same way—stretching monk’s cloth over a frame to create a blank canvas. Then she waits for intuition to prompt her first move—sometimes it’s inspiration from a particular texture, other times it’s an organic process of just starting and seeing what happens. 

Her portfolio consists of stand-alone work, rugs, an ultra-cool car dashboard cover, and mini collections, like her debut exhibit Soft at Mortis Studio in Golden Hill this January. That experience led to her next event, a live demo and workshop at the Mingei International Museum March 5–6. See the artist at play, and pick up a tip or two to inspire your own “paint by yarn” creation.

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