The Artist, Mettje Swift

Mettje Swift: Banner & Hanging Mobile Artist

“I think of my work as jewelry for architectural spaces. I seek the elegant line and use contemporary colors in fabric architecture. My style is characterized with free flowing lines and organic forms.

“Watching flags wrap the currents of the wind is inspiration for my art. The aesthetic comes from nature, indigenous design and modern art. The tradition of Banners, is, by nature, public art. Banners & hanging mobiles adorn architectural spaces, but most importantly, represent pride and human aspiration.

“Through the years, I have adopted new forms and structures for interior decoration, corporate workspace design and architectural spaces. I focus on balanced and kinetic suspended works. The installations are creatively adapted to the location. The use of natural and artificial light brings out the jewelry-like translucence of the fabric.”

Biography

Mettje is well known for her incredible nylon fabric banner art and large scale atrium fabric sculpture. Born in Golden, Colorado, she has lived most of her life in the American West adjacent to the high desert plateau of the Navajo Reservation. Native American art influenced her love of patterns and adornment of simple structures. She began making and designing fabric art banners in 1978, opening her studio in 1984.

Mettje uses her talent for many downtown districtsschools & universitiesgovernment municipalitieshospitals & doctor’s offices,recreation facilities, children’s centers and commercial properties. She discovered a whole new, and joyous, playground — the effect of outdoor light pole banners on community identity. She uses banners in landscape design, outdoor art, to unify urban design for streets, celebrations, and neighborhoods.

Interior architectural fabric commissions have become a focus of her work. The most intriguing recent works are large landscape tapestries and balanced, floating mobiles — suspended sculpture. Her clients include facility managers for universities, health and recreation centers, corporate offices and private individuals.

Just for fun, she made the “Legend Lodge” a 12′ tipi. This led to a purchase and commission from the Buell Children’s Museum in Pueblo, Colorado. This included 5 soft sculpture, stuffed lizards and 10 soft sculpture animal costumes. See our Children’s Centers page for more on this interesting work.

In 1995, Mettje relocated her banner production studio to Del Norte, Colorado where she
has sufficient space with high ceilings in a 120 year old adobe warehouse. Here she is free to investigate and develop new ideas. She employs from three to eight craftswomen at Banner Art Studio. New technology has brought the world to her and her commissions come in through the internet, allowing her to market to the world.

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