Koskela’s group show, “New World“, celebrates three weavers that have all landed in “New” world places: New South Wales, New Zealand and New York. More than that, these three weavers have modernised a very traditional craft, producing tapestries that suit contemporary interiors. We love the spirit of their work and their mastery of the technical skills enables them to dazzle us with their compositions, colours and designs. Each of these three super talented women have a massive following and fanbase and we feel so excited to be hosting them all in one show. We caught up with each of the three weavers to learn more about their process and their passion.
Shop weavings online and instore through Aug 2.
Koskela: Your woven work contains so many different elements – what influences them? Do you have an overall design in mind before you begin?
I am inspired by most things that pass by my eyes! I am always on the lookout for new shapes, patterns and colour combinations to incorporate into my weavings, both in the natural and man made world.
I was initially inspired to take up weaving by the incredible patterns and colours in the work of the Bauhaus weavers – particularly Anni Albers and Gunta Stolzl. Their work still influences me today, as does the work of many contemporary and modernist painters. I am an architect by trade (and day job) and this creeps into my work a well as I often find myself including architectural motifs in my work, from stairs and archways to brick patterns and drawing symbols.
I think my architectural training also influences the composition of my pieces – the overall arrangement is usually quite rectilinear… much to the irritation of my artist boyfriend who wants to see much more wild chaos in the compositions!
I have a vague idea of where I want a weaving to go before I begin, but usually that just involves picking a colour palette and sketching a few elements that I want to incorporate and then going for it. I try to keep in mind the overall balance of the piece in terms of colour, detail intensity and texture as I am going so that it (hopefully) comes together in some coherent way in the end.
Koskela: What brings you joy?
Taking a weaving off the loom.
Going for adventures to forests, mountains, rivers and sea in NZ with my boyfriend and our 1 year old daughter.
Visit Genevieve’s Instagram
Koskela: Can you tell us a bit more about #weaveweird and the wonderful community of weaving, both here and in the USA?
When i first began weaving, I was feeling isolated after leaving my teaching job and going on maternity leave. My identity was changing and i wasn’t so sure of my place in space. I was looking for something to fill my hands, my heart and my head. When i first picked up the loom, something just turned on inside me. Suddenly I felt so secure and grounded. Weaving was, for me, a way to channel my creativity and make connections with the past, the present and the future. I made and i shared. I shared my entire creative process on my social media. I was completely transparent and from the beginning. I never felt liked i owned my weaving, but i was a tiny part of this enormous and sacred process. That was the reason i wanted to share it with everyone i could who would listen. I felt so fortunate to be welcomed into this very open and honest craft that it really just called for a certain honestly in return.
I think a lot of people feel isolated in our communities. We spend so much of our time in front of screens, trying to connect but come away feeling empty. Weaving has spoken to so many people as a way to move away from technology, connect with their hands, their hearts and their community. But the irony is that is is actually the technology that has facilitated the growth of the community. There is a huge Instagram community of weavers who are supportive, encouraging and actively welcoming and engaging others. IT feels like such a positive space.
I talk in my classes about how this is our super power as humans – the ability to teach and pass on skills. We have been doing it as a civilisation for hundreds and thousands of years. But recently we stopped sharing our skills and knowledge and started trying to hide things away, afraid that the competition would ‘steal’ it or ‘copy’ it. This is such a sadness. There is nothing more joyful than being able to share you passion with another human and seeing the spark in their eye as the passion turns something on in them too. It is priceless.
We own nothing – it has all been done before – and so it is our duty to share it with others, to allow the process to grow and synthesise and become everything it can be. And that is where #weaveweird comes in.
I started the #weaveweird hashtag to celebrate the people who were pushing the boundaries of weaving. It takes everyone time to learn a skill (God knows i am still learning!), but once you become confident, I love the way that people begin to break the ‘rules’ and create newness. It is inspiring to see people making work that looks like nothing i have every seen before. Using the basic building blocks that they have learned and creating something completely new and interesting. Trailblazers that can push this craft forward and into something special.
I adore the work of weavers and makers from the heyday of weaving, tapestry and macrame in the 60s and 70s. I am excited to see if our generation of weavers can create something that can stand the test of time the way that their work has.
Koskela: What brings you joy?
Being in natural bodies of water with loved ones brings me joy. Our dream home to build is back in Australia somewhere close to the beach or river or lake. Within arms reach of water.
Teaching weaving workshops brings me joy. Being able to share my passion with a room full of future textile junkies is exhilarating. I love it so much – being able to talk about yarn and looms and tools with people who are as interested in it as i am. Because when i get home, I realise that my husband loves me… but he doesn’t love weaving!
My family! Joy is that intense feeling that boarders on insanity. We have a toddler and a newborn and we are living in NYC. I dont think it gets any more intense than this. And yet, with all the craziness, those moments of pure joy are all encompassing and make time stand still and the world fall silent. Bliss.
Koskela: What prompted you to start weaving, and what has it meant to your design and artistic practice?
I began knotting with macramé as a child in the 70s and then revisited crafting around 8 years ago. I am an architect and felt that my career was losing the hands on process, and it is dominated by computers. So when I moved to the southern highlands from Sydney I enrolled myself into Sturt art and craft centre and studied tapestry weaving for a year. I broke away from the more traditional crafting that I was taught and began to experiment with textural fibres incorporating these into radical large scale artwork. I now hand dye all my wool and rope and tend to play with bright, bold colours and thick fibres. I also marry the two crafting techniques, macramé and weaving to create unique contemporary textiles which is important in my design and artistic practice.
Koskela: What brings you joy?
Many things bring me joy but I would say definitely COLOUR, the bolder and the brighter brings me joy. Also being able to teach people around the world the crafting technique and using their hands again is extraordinarily important to me and brings me much joy, a throwback to the technology era. People want to make handmade not just buy handmade.
Visit Natalie’s Website