Woven Works (Elle Decoration)
Expect to see weavings alongside paintings, photography and illustrations on the walls of homes and galleries alike this year. It’s no secret that craft is enjoying a bit of a renaissance, at least partly driven by a disillusionment with mass-produced perfection and the instant gratification of the internet. ‘Hand weaving is a very slow process, done with simple tools and mostly natural materials,’ says weaver Genevieve Griffiths. ‘Woven artworks are imbued with a very human sense of time and effort, which is rare and magical.’
Our love of the handmade seems unabated, and weaving, in particular, is being put into the spotlight by next year’s centenary of the Bauhaus – a reminder of the women artists of the weaving workshop at the influential German art school. A recent Tate Modern retrospective of Anni Albers showed how her woven works transcended the boundaries between art, architecture and utility, and almost 100 years later those boundaries are being challenged again. ‘Elevating textiles from the everyday objects we wear and live with at home to artworks shifts our perception of what fabric is for and what is involved in its creation,’ says designer and maker Jo Elbourne. ‘There’s something really exciting about that.’
One of mankind’s oldest crafts, weaving involves interlacing two sets of threads (the warp and the weft) at right angles to one another to create fabric – a seemingly simple process, and yet one that yields endless possibilities. ‘I use bold geometric forms as a vehicle for exploring colour, proportion and perspective,’ says woven textile designer Margo Selby. ‘I like the crisp precision I get by weaving with fine yarns to get sharp lines and accurate measurements.’
In contrast, textile artist Judit Just’s fat, noodle-like yarns and ribbons create a riot of texture that cries out to be touched. And it’s the tactility of this art form that really makes it stand out from other disciplines. ‘Textile art can be enjoyed tactically as well as visually,’ says Just. ‘People don’t just respond with their eyes, but with their hands too.’ Elborne agrees: ‘Even when I show framed work in a gallery setting, people want to touch it and even try to manipulate the surface in a way that they just wouldn’t with a painting,’ she says. ‘There is a three-dimensional quality to textile art which comes from the inherent “over-under” of weaving.’ As pleasing to touch as it is to look at, we’re certain this art form will be gracing the walls of your home soon.
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