While exhibiting at Craft Central recently, I had the opportunity to hear both Margo Selby and Ptolemy Mann talk about their work as modern weavers. I love seeing contemporary designers who use traditional crafts. To me it feels important as well as innovative to preserve centuries-old crafts an techniques that could so easily be washed away in a tide of postmodern technology. But combining traditional skills and knowledge with the best bits of modern thinking can create some really magical results, as these wonderful weavers demonstrate.
The finished work of both artists is beautiful yet simple. The art is in the process, which is indeed laborious. Days are spent hand-dying wools and setting up intricate looms before the actual weaving can even begin. I truly admire the patience involved. Most of us wouldn't dare to begin but I'm sure we're missing out on quite a therapeutic and rewarding experience. Photographs seldom do justice to the final pieces and I think understanding the process is a huge part of appreciating these woven canvases.
It was fascinating to see Margo Selby actually weaving a piece at her loom, carefully directing six different colours into finely blended blocks of colour that just sang with their every thread.
My favourite words from Ptolemy Mann were around bauhaus colour theory. I rushed right home to a happy afternoon with my Josef Albers 'Interaction of Colour' book.