Celebrating our Studio Artists!!

Sonya Yong James is an alumnae of Atlanta Contemporary’s Studio Artist Program. Sonya is a sculptor and multi-media artist whose work focuses on exploring rituals experienced through the process of repetitive labor and intensive making. She is influenced by the landscapes of the South, personal narrative, and the history of mourning in America. Sonya uses contrasting visual textures (gentleness and violence, animal and human, and beauty and the abject) representing opposing sensations and active emotional tensions. Learn more about Sonya’s work at atlantacontemporary.org or her website.

Sonya’s work involves repetitive processes, differing textures, and unusual found objects.

Sonya focuses on repetition in her art making by creating multiple series of objects and using processes like weaving. Weaving is a process in which the maker moves materials through a warp over and under, over and under to create a large block of textile. These photos show off some of the unique ways Sonya uses weaving in her work.

Atlanta Contemporary is changing the way we all see art.

Our pop-ups are designed to inspire you to create using whatever materials you have and incorporate your artist practice into your daily routines. Art is everywhere and artists do not need fancy materials to create. We want to empower you to be an active part of our arts community.

        Let’s explore weaving with recycled materials.

        Nearly any material that can be manipulated into strips can be used for weaving. Reclaimed cloth from old clothing, long blades of grass or vines, or even materials from the recycling bin can be used in weaving. In this tutorial we will be using reclaimed plastic bags from the grocery store. They’re waterproof, free, and easy to acquire. When trying out this technique think about how this process can be useful to you.

        Materials you’ll need

        • Plastic grocery bags (consider using different colored bags)
        • Scissors
        • Paper plate OR any material you’d like to use as a weft (anything from a tomato cage to a porch railing can be used as a warp for weaving)

                Step 1: Prepare your weft materials

                The weft are the long strands from which your weaving is made. Smooth out a plastic bag on a flat surface. Use scissors to cut off and discard the seam at the bottom of the bag. Cut across the bag to create a series of one-inch plastic loops. Tie the loops together to create a long strand of plastic. As you weave, you’ll continue to attach loops to each other and keep the strand growing. Think about any other materials you’d like to use in your weaving, such as, cardboard strips, backyard vines, or old unwanted clothing strips.

                Step 2: Prepare your warp

                The warp is what you’ll be creating your weaving on. For this tutorial the warp will be a paper plate (Our video tutorial for this pop-up showcases weaving on a tomato cage from the garden). The size of the warp will determine the size of your weaving and will become a part of the weaving. When deciding upon a warp think about the purpose of your weaving or a problem that can be solved by weaving and go from there.

                  Step 3: Time to weave!

                  The weaving process is repetitive, you’ll be repeating the same motions again and again to make your weaving. No matter what materials you’re using for your warp and weft you’ll use the same procedure. Begin on the bottom most corner of your warp. Pull through your first loop moving over and under, over and under across the warp. When you reach the end of the warp, turn the corner without breaking the pattern and keep going. Continue weaving and adding loops to your weft until you complete your weaving. Think about using a variety of textures and consider your color scheme.

                  Share your work!

                  We love to see how you use these prompts in your artist practice. Share your work with us on social media using the tag #ACMakes.


                  Elisabeth Herrera-Very

                  Elisabeth Herrera-Very is a teaching artist and art educator working in Atlanta. A former public school visual arts teacher she now focuses on community engagement and museum education. As a teaching artist she develops programming that provides inclusive, thoughtful, and relevant art experiences for participants of all ages and skill levels. Her programming at Atlanta Contemporary encourages patrons to explore their own creative process through contemporary art making practices and exploratory art making.


                  Share your creations with us! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @atlantacontemporary and use the hashtag #ACMAKES.

                  Upcoming Events

                  April 27 / 2:00pm
                  Special Event

                  MuSEA Slow Reads


                  Folks get to activate MuSEA’s mobile library by relaxing at the Atlanta Contemporary and reading selected texts out loud to each other.

                  April 28 / 12:00pm
                  Contemporary Kids

                  Contemporary Kids


                  A free and interactive family-friendly program, Contemporary Kids introduces children to contemporary art and artists through approachable media and hands-on activities.

                  May 2 / 6:30pm
                  Contemporary Cocktails

                  Crafts + Cocktails


                  Join artist and educator Sherrice Adams for our adult craft night, Crafts + Cocktails.

                  Imported Layers Created with Sketch.

                  We encourage you to share your images using #atlantacontemporary. Read our full photography policy.