Warp and Weft was originally published monthly by Robin and Russ Handweavers, a weaving shop located in Oregon. The digital archive and in-print revival of this publication is the project of textile studio Weaver House.
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Fiber inclination: Natural fibers, recycled materials, film rolls
Current favorite weaving book: Weaving as Metaphor by Sheila Hicks
1. How did you discover weaving and was what your greatest resource as a beginner?
Six years ago while I was traveling around Europe I met a women weaving on handmade frames looms with secondhand fabrics. She was making carpets. I was very intrigued because it was my first time meeting a weaver. With her I’ve learned the basics of weaving and made a very small carpet to sit on for my travel (see photos at the end of this interview for a picture of this weaving).
One year after that I went back on this practice and did a lot of experimentations to find new techniques. I was (and still am) looking at books, tapestries, etc., and trying to learn from them. I have never been to a class or had a teacher aside from the woman I met.
2. How do you define your practice – do you consider yourself an artist / craftsperson / weaver / designer / general creative or a combination of those? Is this definition important to you?
I am not only a weaver; I have a large artistic practice (textile, painting, photographs, sculpture..) and in my textile work I am not only focusing on weaving traditional carpets or woven wall hangings. So, I would say that I am more a general creative. This definition doesn’t matter to me.
3. Describe your first experience with weaving.
My first experience was a few years ago now. I remember that I was very attracted to the practice and wanted to try it. At first, it was difficult for me to choose the right combination of colors. She had so many different types and colors of fabric, it was crazy. So I just looked around me — there was a woman breastfeeding her baby and at this time my practice was focusing a lot on painting and drawing nudes, so I was already fascinate by the colors of the body. That’s why I used some variation of pale pink, brown, red… I remember this short time weaving was very relaxing.
4. What is your creative process, from the initial idea to the finished piece? Are there specific weave structures, looms, or fibers that are important to your process?
First comes an idea out of nowhere I would say. Then I usually write down some notes, make researches and sketches of how I picture this idea and how I want to see it evolved. We can say that it is not very intuitive but when you work many days, weeks, or months on the same weaving, you want to be sure to have a good base. This saves me a lot of time.
For now the films rolls and the traditional technics are very present in my process. I am currently working with “new” materials and “ancients” techniques. I use the floor loom but sometimes work on handmade frame looms, and it depends on the scale or the idea.
5. Does your work have a conceptual purpose or greater meaning? If so, do you center your making around these concepts?
Yes. I am fascinating about the way our brain keeps a memory and how, with time, the form and meaning of this can change. So I basically work around memories, seen and unseen pictures, and the deterioration of both. For the past two years I have been working on this subject and experimenting with it through weaving. In many countries weaving was and still is a good way to tell stories, and I like this idea. I also want my textiles to be interactive so I make sure they say and show different things to you while you’re walking around them.
6. What is your favorite part of the weaving process and why? What’s your least favorite?
I have to say that I hate warping the loom…it takes such a long time and sometimes drive me crazy, but when you’re done with it and you can start weaving it is so satisfying! Here is the best part: it’s not when you’re done or when you warp the loom, it’s when you start creating your idea and see it evolving in the loom — starting from nothing. Despite that I think the whole process is an interesting experience. I often see it like a performance and love the idea of starting from zero and building everything with my hands.
7. Do you sell your work or make a living from weaving? If so, what does that look like and how has that affected your studio practice?
Yes I do sell my work, per period. It depends on the project I am working on. For now I am not trying to sell the weavings I am making because this is a long process and I am not done with it. I also want to make a series of this film rolls weavings in order to show them all together.
When I was selling a lot I had to spend more time weaving for others. I had many orders, which is of course nice and encouraging, but I didn’t have so much time to experiment and focus on my personal practice. I need both.
8. Where do you find inspiration?
For inspiration I try my best to focus on how I feel about what I see and have around me. I focus more on the feeling provided by a subject than the subject itself. These emotions are related to lightness and fragility. I’ve been inspired since the beginning by these concepts and try to build my textile work around them. When I see something that grabs my intention and that moves me in any way, this lightness and fragility show up. And this is this feeling that I want to transpose in my work. I want to recreate this moment, which is not a “physical event” but a feeling.
9. What other creatives do you admire – weavers, artists, entrepreneurs – and why?
I admire: Sophie Calle, Sheila Hicks, Louise Bourgeois, Elsi Giauque and Shihoko Fukumoto… all of them for the special atmosphere they can create and for the intimate or spatiotemporal areas they offer. I love the subjects they treat as much as the final piece they show. They all work on different things but have a kind of fragility in common.
10. If you could no longer weave, what would you do instead?