Christine Kopper is a senior fibers major at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, her high school was very encouraging in traveling to the states to attend SCAD. I met Christine at Pepe Hall, the fibers’ department building, and we discussed the process of designing a piece, as well as some of her latest work.
Mary Tres: Did you always want to study fibers?
Christine Kooper: No, I was originally a photo major. I took an Introduction to Fibers elective and I loved it. My professor was great and I switched.
MT: Can you describe what the curriculum of the fibers department consists of?
CK: It’s very broad. It basically covers everything that goes into making a piece of fabric. There's many ways or paths that you can take. You can go into digital prints and patterns or colorwork like dying, screen printing, or woven and knits. I sort of chose woven and knits and fashion.
MT: What are the different career paths that you can take with this major?
CK: Well I think you can do whatever you want. You can work in homewear and like I said repeat pattern, or wallwork. There's people that I hear are working for NASA; making the actual suits. So, there’s more like an engineer path or there’s a fashion path and that’s what I’m hoping to pursue.
MT: Some of your latest work features pom pom accents. What inspired you to use this detail?
CK: I guess I wanted to create something unique and that would call your attention and that would work as an accent piece. I also wanted you to think of Latin America when you saw it and sort of folklore. But, also to look modern. I used the pom poms once for a critique and everybody seemed to respond positively about them and I just kept using them. I really like them [laughs].
MT: What steps do you take prior to designing a piece?
CK: I am not a real sketcher, I don't really do sketches. I do lots of mood boards usually. Basically what's the hardest for me and what inspires me to make a piece is choosing the actual materials and colors. So I just spend a lot of time looking for the right material and the right color and pairing everything up together to see how it looks; sampling.
MT: How long does it usually take to create a piece and what does the process consist of?
CK: Well all of them are kind of different. Some of them are quicker than others. When I have my ideas clearer, everything works out better. But, it takes me like a couple days to narrow down what I want to make because it’s usually already in the back of my head. I do some mood boards, figure out the colorwork and materials, and it takes me probably, if i'm quick enough, it takes me like three days to get on the loom. If it's like five yards of fabric, it usually takes me probably five days to weave that and then another week to sew it up. So it's not a very long process if I...
MT: Know what you’re doing.
CK: Ha, exactly. If I don’t, then it does take a long time to weave.
MT: So then are you the one that makes the pieces into garments or do you collaborate?
CK: No, I made everything myself [laughs].
MT: There are pictures of knitted tops that you have posted on your instagram, are you planning on selling them at all? And if so, where can people check them out?
CK: Yeah, I’m planning on having them on my website! I’m planning on having 16 styles. They're all one size. Like I said, my new thing is knitting. It’s really quick and I love it.
MT: They’re super cute. So, what would be your ideal job after graduation or do you have anything planned yet?
CK: I am currently applying to big fashion houses, like Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, and so on. It would be amazing to get a job and still stay in the states so that I can take advantage of my one year student Visa extension. But ultimately, it would be ideal to have my own company and do something of my own. Design for myself [laughs].
Check out Christine’s work on her website at http://www.christinekopper.com/
Photography by Erin Wyrosdick