Material Things Presents Danny Varillas we are and will be dust

By East City Art Editorial Team on August 29, 2022

Sat, September 3 2022 — Sat, October 1 2022

Danny Varillas, DEFACEMENT (what used to be so pure), 2021; Handwoven cotton and silk, hand-dyed with logwood and madder root, bleach, polyester thread; 19 x 42 in. Image courtesy of the artist.


Opening Reception: Saturday, Sep. 3, 2022, 5-7pm
Closing Community Party with Hands-on Natural Dyeing and Screenprinting: Saturday, Oct. 1
RESCHEDULED to Saturday, October 8 from 2-5pm


Material Things presents we are and will be dust, an exhibition of new, handwoven works by Maryland-based artist Danny Varillas.

we are and will be dust will be on view in The Pallet Rack, an experimental gallery space at Material Things, from September 3 through October 1, 2022. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held on Saturday, September 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. A closing community party, featuring communal natural dyeing and screenprinting with the artist, will be held on RESCHEDULED TO Saturday, October 8 from 2-5pm.

In we are and will be dust, Varillas focuses on the idea that all plants, animals, and humans are linked in a complex pattern of energy exchange. All living things eventually die into each others’ lives, and then live into each others’ deaths. The soil that living things return to is one that is full of death, but also fully alive. Fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms restore decayed matter for the next organism to be born into––they lay to rest and also rise. This natural model is a complex but perfect regenerative system. Referencing microscopic qualities of living soil, Varillas’ work dwells on this magnificent system where all things are poetically connected in an indefinite cycle of exchange.

Materially, work in we are and will be dust combines fibers naturally dyed by the artist with traditional floor loom weaving and digital TC2 Jacquard weaving––a process involving a computer-controlled loom that is manually-operated. Varillas often manipulates the natural dyed fibers in his work using unconventional materials like bleach and spray paint, as a way of examining tensions between the natural and unnatural, the pure and impure, and the residual consequences of human interference in nature. One such point of contention that Varillas has started to study is the impacts, byproducts, and coping strategies associated with pest species.

About Danny Varillas 
Danny Varillas (he/him) is a multidisciplinary artist and designer from Rockville, MD.  He experiments across media in printmaking, textiles, and graphic design to explore ideas around culture, language, and the agrarian and craft roots of his own family history. Most recently, Varillas has used hand-weaving, natural dyeing, and sewing to create intricate works that reference the recognizable and microscopic qualities of natural processes. His background in digital design has lead to an interest in connections between traditional weaving and modern computer technology, and a respect for interplay between the handmade and the automated.

In his design profession, Varillas focuses on brand identity for the art and cultural sectors. He currently works with the internationally-recognized design studio, Pentagram. Varillas received his B.F.A. in graphic design from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2019.

About Material Thing and the Pallet Rack
Material Things is the creative workspace of Francisco Rosario and Katie Aldworth, plus many other friends who make the Material Things creative community possible. Francisco works primarily in wood and metal to create sculpture, and on occasion, utilitarian ware. Katie works in clay to create utilitarian ware, and on occasion, sculpture. Limited classes in clay, wood, and welding are also offered.

Material Things is located next to NE DC at 4531 Rhode Island Ave, North Brentwood, MD, 20722. To learn more, visit and @materialthingsstudio.

The Pallet Rack is a 24 sq.-ft. exhibition space inside Material Things. we are and will be dust can be viewed Fridays 5–8 p.m. and Sundays 12–3 p.m., or by appointment.