If textile design moves you like it does us, you won’t want to miss this year’s Residency programme from The Experimental Weave Lab which runs until September. The project curated by the City of London began in April as the first innovative, experimental and contemporary textile weaving lab. The programme showcases a resident textile artist each month where they push the boundaries of creativity. Join us as we take a glimpse at this fascinating exhibition and showcase some of its residents.
One of the project’s curators and long term resident at the lab, Elisabeth Ashdown had her work featured at London Craft Week in May. She created her playful and contemporary design using one of the oldest (and now endangered) weaving practices called ‘passementerie’. Passementerie weaving uses unexpectedly unique materials in bold colour combinations, woven into intriguing designs. Elisabeth intends to preserve the craft by passing it onto patrons through her Passementerie Masterclasses.
Elisabeth’s colleague and fellow long term resident and curator Philippa Brock, did most of her primary research in woven textiles and materials. Her creations bridge techniques that use traditional hand loom with those using digital industrial engineering. She explores 2D and 3D self-folding / assembly concepts with the textiles collapsing, gathering and setting into a shape creating spellbinding 3D effects when taken off from the loom. Her residency project ‘The Devil’s Cloth’ is an exploration of material, hand dyeing processes, stripe patterns and volume.
Another woven textile practitioner and long-term resident Sally Holdich also explores jacquard weaving, adapting it for her commercial and couture projects. Her works are brightly coloured, witty explorations of everyday objects executed using complex woven techniques. Sally’s project ‘LOOM’ is a series of textile works, graphic pixel images created utilising 24 shaft looms.
In contrast Amber Roper, expresses her art through colour, texture and composition. In April, Amber’s showcased work intended to reconnect her with her childhood. Simple geometric shapes and vivid, bright and playful colours reflecting the aspects of child’s play and imagination was expressed through these works. Experimentation with a combination of fibres and drawing mediums also portray child- like spontaneous creativity.
Sarah Ward’s work focuses on sharing her knowledge and passion for the environment with craft. Through her woven work, Sarah champions weaving as an art form in its own right as well as drawing attention to environmental issues such as waste and the impacts of the textile industry. During her residency month at the lab, Sarah created hand woven selvedge denim from scratch using textile industry waste, scrapped yarn dyed with natural indigo and plant based non-toxic Dye Vat.