Sunday, 21 September 2014

Eccentric weaving and Coptic techniques with Louise Martin

Caption: Amara looked at the sun
and the lay of the land
Here Louise Martin talks about her Woven Tapestry courses on Eccentric weaving and Coptic techniques (with some stunning examples, click image to expand)

Over the past 20 years I have produced work that is a response to the countries I have lived and travelled in. At first I incorporated superstitions, traditions and folklore, however, latterly I have become interested in capturing the essence of the land and my feelings towards it. As I walk in Mongolia or Turkey or Iceland, I clear my mind, open my senses, and allow the surroundings shape the result. When beginning a weaving I choose my palette, but I do not  interpret from an image or cartoon, preferring to work from my internal feelings, trusting in my experience and technical expertise. As a result my work has become more meditative and joyful in production, and the surface livelier, due to the exposed warps and eccentric wefts.

(Caption: Near the land of dinosaurs)
Caption: Eccentric weaving
Amara looked at the sun and the lay of the land and near the land of dinosaurs were both inspired by my travels in Mongolia and are both constructed with wefts woven at different angles to the warps - eccentrically. Another image, eccentric weaving, was woven during a two month residency in Turkey last year and clearly shows the movement of the weft threads. This is one of many eccentric methods which will be covered during the short course.

In Coptic bird and Coptic flower I have used Coptic imagery and techniques, including eccentric weaving. These were woven for a British Tapestry Group exhibition titled Tapestry Mischief, where images from old tapestries were interpreted in a contemporary way. Conventional tapestry is weft faced, but in many of my new works the warp is exposed.

I have been lucky enough to see many Coptic tapestries over the years in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Cluny Museum, Paris, the V&A, London and the Islamic and Coptic Museums in Cairo. The tapestries are often exquisitely woven, with a refined palette. For the course I aim to bring my collection of Coptic publications and a couple of small Coptic pieces I am lucky enough to own.