While exhibiting at Craft Central recently, I had the opportunity to hear Margo Selby and Ptolemy Mann talk about thier work as modern weavers. Seeing modern designers and artists combine traditional craft with a contemporary aesthetic sense always excites me. In a postmodern world 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 technology. But combining this knowledge with the best bits of modern thinking can create some really magical results.
In many ways the work of these two artists is remarkably pared back. The art is in the process, which is indeed laborious, with days 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 simple geometric fabrics and woven canvases, reminiscent of Rothko.
It was fascinating to see Margo Selby actually weaving a piece at her loom, carefully directling six different colours into finely blended colour blocks.
The best piece of advice I took away was from Ptolemy Mann on bauhaus colour theory - I'm hitting the books!