Emerging Design Each month we’ll spotlight a distinctive Triangle designer

Emerging Design: Gabrielle Duggan is a blend of fine artist and fashion designer

jleonard@newsobserver.comMarch 26, 2014 

Gabrielle Duggan is that lovely blend of fine artist and fashion designer who makes a scarf so interesting that you don’t whether you should wear it or hang it on the wall. All of Duggan’s pieces are meant to be experienced with both the eyes and the hands running across the rich textures and organic patterns.

This is how Duggans takes in the world.

“I can trace my relationship to textiles back to a young age,” said Duggan, who learned how to sew from her mother when she was in middle school. “My mom would take me to a fabric store sometimes and I just remember that my senses would just be totally heightened. It’s kind of like how I feel when I go outside and I haven’t been outside in a while. It wasn’t just the colors you know, it was definitely the textures. What I really like is that they can be applied to almost anything and they can change the experience.”

Duggan finds her inspiration in the natural world and in her connection to animals and the fibers they produce. Her own creativity and drive to learn every aspect of her craft led her to learn how to spin, knit and weave her own fabric. She has even helped with some shearings to be more connected to the source of her raw material.

“Wool has been really magical to work with,” Duggan said. “If you know how to work with it, it works with you. I can nerd out about wool a little bit ... it’s kind of exciting.”

Duggan, who studied fashion design and later pursued her masters of art and design in fibers and surface design at N.C. State University, goes between creating clothing and art exhibitions. She is mostly making winter accessories these days, such as scarves and hats and one-off knit sweaters, in addition to her ongoing art installation pieces. Her intricate installations and accessories, currently sold at Quercus Studio in Raleigh and online at her site ( gabrielleduggan.com), beautifully coexist in technique and sophistication.

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