I had one of those weeks, where I haven't woven anything! Absolutely zero. I had some grand plans of showing you some of my natural dyeing process, reflections on samples... but that will have to wait for the next update.
My time instead was taken up mainly by social media and planning teaching videos. In all honesty, I've been loving making and editing videos, but I am missing making. I guess that's part of trying to build a studio yourself; you're your own studio manager, business planner, social media coordinator, and then what you really want to spend time doing, which is to weave, sometimes has to be put on hold. And that's sometimes totally okay.
I have however felt incredibly inspired recently. Taking time to see shows, read and brainstorm is so essential in creating new work. Read on for a few brief thoughts.
Fire your sparks
I saw Magdalena Abakanowicz's show at the Tate Modern a few weeks ago, and I can't stop thinking about it.
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never heard of her before this exhibition, even though I’m a weaver AND I’m half Polish. Oops!
I felt a great familiarity with her - I don’t know if it was the shared language, the familiar landscapes of her childhood in the Polish countryside, perhaps the serious nature of her work that evoked a real sense of belonging in me when I looked and walked round the pieces. The scale of the works drew me in, and the sculptural-like pieces that are known as "Abakans" felt like aliens, full of trauma and hidden meanings, with some nostalgia of hiding in tree trunks added in. Her work was named "Abakans" because critics never saw anything quite like it, and decided to name them after her.
The pieces and how they were curated as a kind of alien tribe, haunted me. My mind was utterly blown by seeing an artist use weaving to evoke such strong emotions in the viewer. I find that sometimes woven tapestries can feel quite safe or 'perfect-looking', or just boring. Abakanowicz turned that on its head, she used the imperfections of the yarn to create feeling. The thicker rope looked like veins. It felt like she was creating different worlds to me, ones to get lost in or ones to want to escape from.
My favourite Abakanowicz quote was:
“I am interested in the feeling when confronted by the woven object.”
When I read that, I had a lightbulb moment. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about with my practice and she managed to express it in a way that I couldn’t quite finds words for.
I've also been reflecting on this quote by philosopher Calvin Seerveld:
As an artist we must "...fire your art until it emits sparks that warm or burn those it reaches."
That is such a challenge isn't it! How can we make objects that sit with people or make them think in new or unexpected ways? I don't know yet, but that's what I want to aim for.
Quick little note
I've been posting a few pictures on my Instagram from my recent collaboration with Albane from Hessia Studio who styled some of my past woven pieces. I'm selling some experimental pieces on my shop website, all of which are £50. I really treasure these, I like how playful they are as I was just testing out some ideas. Feel free to have a lil browse!
I've also been posting a few pieces that are not yet on my website. If you're interested in any of those, email or DM me and we can work something out.
Doritos: experimental sample
Chopped up and Sewn Together £50
Anyway, as usual thanks so much for reading. Let's hope that next time I can update you on some making process!
Have a great weekend,