Letting in the light
“When work is made with threads, it is considered craft; when it’s on paper it is considered art.”Anni Albers
I’d like to think that things are changing, thanks to artists like Anni Albers, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Shiela Hicks… the list goes on. Textiles are functional, nonfunctional, decorative, ceremonial, they hold memories and emotions. Every piece I make has an impression of me left in it. Using materials with history, vintage, waste and unwanted materials, I’m trying to give that material value and integrity whilst maintaining its integrity, giving hints to where it came from. I hope that this year will see more people moving away from the ‘disposable’ attitude toward textiles, and value them for their beauty, their tactility, their practicality. “Buy less, choose well, make it last”, as the inspirational Vivienne Westwood said.
A new woollen throw
For the first time, I’m able to offer larger pieces such as throws, woven on my small (50cm wide) loom. The lambswool throw pictured below measures 125x160cm, and was woven using a multi-layered technique which came off the loom folded like a concertina. It was a real sense of achievement to discover that my experiment had worked when I was able to unfold and open up the piece once it was cut free of the loom! If you would like to commission a bespoke piece, please do contact me.
New woollen scarves
After the winter break, I’m always keen to get back to my loom. I’m longing to feel the yarn between my fingers and to lose myself in the rhythmical passing of the shuttle back and forth. The first new warp of the year was a wool one, using up to 20 different colours and a variety of yarns. Combining thick and thin yarns and some synthetic and cotton ‘fancy’ yarns gives interesting textures and pops of colour.
Anni and Josef Albers at the Kunstmuseum, The Hague
“Circumstances led me to thread, and they won me over.”Anni Albers
As is my usual style, I visited the beautifully curated exhibition of work by Anni and Josef Albers at the Kunstmuseum, The Hague, in the very last week of its’ showing. I’m so glad I made it, as to see the two artists’ work side by gave a real insight into how intertwined their lives and art really were. As Anni Albers aged, she found the physicality of weaving hard to maintain and so she turned to graphic work, which really held its own alongside Josef Albers’. It was Josef Albers’ book Interaction of colour that informed my fascination with colour, and I am still captivated by it to this day. As a weaver, the way colours interrelate can be the make or break of a woven piece working. Some colours side by side will make each other pop… others will suck the life out of each other. Such is the challenge of weaving.
Guiseppe Penone at Voorlinden, Wassenaar
“The tree is a spectacular creation because each part of the tree is necessary to its life. It is the perfect sculpture.”Guiseppe Penone
I love trees; I always have. Throughout my life I’ve had favourite trees that I’ve come back to, to walk around, to visit through the seasons. So Guiseppe Penone’s exhibition at Voorlinden was a real treat for me. The artist brings to life the world that is a forest, a living, breathing organism, made up of many individual parts that work together in perfect harmony:
“I feel the forest breathing, and hear the slow, inexorable growth of the wood. I match my breathing to that of the green world around me, I feel the flow of the tree around my hand placed against the trunk.’
On the loom
I’ve just recently started working on a very special commission – I was approached to weave a series of decorative pieces that will be used as table top textiles in a wabi sabi interior style house, a house that has been fire damaged in the Californian wildfires of 2022. It’s a real honour that I can be a part of the owner’s journey to making the house a home again, whilst paying homage to the house’s recent history, the scars and burn marks. The brief is to work in black and highly texturally, and I’m enjoying using the structures of the yarns to full effect. Working in one colour is quite liberating, as I can concentrate simply on the materials and how they work together. I’m intrigued to see how these pieces turn out.
Part of my process is to work on paper using collage and mixed media art techniques. This allows me to play with colour, texture and form. A new palette is emerging in these early dark days of the new year. Fresh greens and soft dirty pinks sit side by side. The forms are reminiscent of the beachcombed pebbles and pieces of driftwood found last year on the Scottish island of Kerrera. More organic, plant-like shapes are creeping in, and the use of negative space is important.
The value of craftsmanship
I currently have collection of cushions with Draumr, inspired by the Scottish coastline and woven in organic GOTS certified Italian spun Echos alpaca and organic wool. Draumr’s curated collection of craftspeople showcases exceptional Dutch craft, and is part of the move toward informed purchasing, knowing who made your item, how they made it and the provenance of the materials; the story behind it. This trend is currently building in momentum around the world, as people move away from cheap mass-produced goods which are easily discarded and look to the skills of artisans to put value into their purchases, giving them longevity and integrity.
…so much for your support. Your kind words, follows, likes, commissions, purchases and recommendations spur me on to keep creating and pushing my work to new levels and in new directions. Thank you for joining me on my creative journey through the seasons. If you’d like to see more of my work and inspirations, I post regularly on Instagram @veronicapock and my work is available online at LiminalWEAVE on Etsy.
Looking forward to seeing you again in late February,