Abby Leon, Paradigm Gallery Director
Macramé is having a major moment in the design world, resurging from its retro roots and unleashing the modern Bohemian in us all! It has taken on a life of its own in the 21st-century, but is still made with environmentally friendly textiles and materials such as cotton twine, hemp, and jute. Produced through the repetition of various knotting techniques, it makes you wonder if somehow this art form is what we are all craving right now in our fast-paced world. This organic and rhythmic medium can ground us and bring a sense of calm to any space; it certainly did for Paradigm Gallery’s newest artist, Natasha Mistak! Even though she’s always been a creative at heart, this past year really allowed her to express herself in new ways and incorporate her genuine love of nature in this featured series of work. Read on to hear her story!
Hi! My name is Natasha Mistak. I, along with my daughters Zophie and Olivia, create textile designs under the name OZ Art. OZ represents the two letters from their first names.
During COVID a lot of things changed for our small family. I have worked in the restaurant industry for over 17 years and started to have free time on my hands; I was not even sure what to do with it. My children were home often due to quarantines and school closures. My mother suggested I spend time on my artwork, as it has always been a passion for me. My mother knits and creates textile work professionally as well as teaches classes in the Detroit area where I am originally from. She has been a great inspiration for the work we have recently created. On one of her trips to Fort Wayne, she gifted me one of her larger looms and we took off from there.
I started studying patterns and working on new ideas while also gaining imagination from a weave my daughter created with classmates at Peace Montessori. This started to mix with our love of plants and the outdoors. I began gradually incorporating plants into our work, as well as bones, feathers, and wood that we have foraged for or had gifted to us. My great-grandmother was Native American and holds a special place in my heart. I believe she is with me through this journey, and that her spirit comes out through our pieces.
Some of our work starts with patterns that are followed and added to, but some pieces come together in dreams. I have dreams about pieces after being inspired by plants, nature, cuisine, or experiences. When executing these “dream pieces” I usually work for days straight, and the piece just comes to life on its own.
My partner runs the art wall at Henry’s (restaurant on Main St in downtown Fort Wayne) and offered me the March art show this year. The reception I received was extremely positive and slightly unexpected for me; I am forever grateful for that opportunity. Fort Wayne has become my new home, and I fall in love with the community in a different way time and again. I source all my plants from Honey Plant, located on Wells Street. Their shop inspires me often, and I am quite happy to see a place so unique and thoughtful in Fort Wayne.
What could have been a difficult chapter of our lives has turned out to be both beautiful and rewarding. I am so thankful for my family and friends (both past and present), my partner and his family, and the community of Fort Fun as a whole.
The FWMoA is so thankful for Natasha and her artwork! We truly appreciate the value she adds to the gallery. To see more of Natasha Mistak’s creations in person, come visit us at the Paradigm Gallery: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm; Thursday 10am-8pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm.