Urban Weft

Urban Weft

18 September - 24 October 2010

Location: Almgrens sidenväveri, Repslagargatan 15 A, Stockholm

Opening Saturday 18 September 12-4 pm

Artist talks with Ismini Samanidou (GR/UK) and Grethe Sørenson (DK) 3-4 pm on the opening day


Artistic jacquard weaving has made great advances during recent years. From an impractical technique within the textile industry that was difficult to adapt to a more artistic expression jacquard weaving can today be found in small textile workshops. The software has developed so that it is possible to create weaving instructions on a home computer that are easily transformed to industrial machines.

This development is strongest in North America one often works with jacquard weaving at textile colleges and there are several textile centres where artists can have their work woven.  As the textile industry moves mass production outside of our borders new collaborations arise between artists and the textile industry to creat textiles in small editions for site-specific works.

Jacquard weaving has made a comeback as a trextile technique in an artistic context. In Sweden the digitally woven image has few practitioners while jacquard weaving enjoys a stronger position internationally. In this exhibition artists will be presented and a meeting place will be created for this field of interest.

Participating artists: Lia Cook (US), Ismini Samanidou (GR/UK), Grethe Sørensen (DK), Anne Størseth (NO) and Johanna Schartau (SE).

Artist Statements

Lia Cook (US)
My current practice incorporates concepts of cloth, touch, and memory. I use the detail, an intimate moment in time, often woven in oversize scale to intensify a shared emotional and sensual experience. I use a digital loom to weave images that are embedded in the structure of cloth. The digital pixel becomes a thread that when interlaced with another becomes both cloth and image at the same time. This woven image brings with it many of the sensual experiences that we associate with cloth. Childhood family snapshots and video stills are some of the raw materials that I draw on to investigate small, intimate details of the body or to capture a fleeting human expression. My practice involves research into new technologies and new ways of translating my images that make the structure visible and physically felt, attempting to create the image as physical object.

Ismini Samanidou (GR/UK)
Athens born Ismini Samanidou trained at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art in London, specialising in woven textiles. Her practice involves designing and making textiles for exhibitions, commissions and collaborations focusing on the use of digital technologies and craft making. Ismini has travelled and researched textile techniques worldwide, most recently spending nine weeks in Bangladesh as an artist in residence with the British Council New Silk Road project. She is the recipient of the Next Move residency and the Crafts Council Development Award and in 2009 was jointly awarded the Jerwood Contemporary Makers award for a large scale textile installation. Ismini’s work is held in private and public collections.

GretheSørensen (DK)
Since I started working with digital thread control my work has developed into projects over various themes, series of tapestries with motifs as well as weave-constructions based on digital technology.

My work Millions of colours, 2009 is based on pixels of 8 colours. The motifs come from a blow up of hard edged pixels so they become “liquid”. A subsequent modelling of the colours morphs and blurs them and by pressing and stretching them from different angles they end up with a very plastic expression. Experiments and samples are made on a Tc-1 loom, and some of the tapestries are hand-woven, but for bigger works I make them as one-off products on a digital jacquard loom. At the beginning it was merely a requirement as I do not have access to a digital thread controller big enough to weave the large pieces with high warp-density. But now I see it as a new possibility of enormous potential.
New technology has provided a bridge to the contemporary production machinery which was inaccessible before. I can finish my experiments on handloom, prepare the files and have it woven exactly as I have planned on the jacquard loom. For me as a weaver/textile artist this is a miracle.

Anne Størseth (NO)
With her loom that includes 2,640 longitudinal threads, Anne Størseth experiments with the meeting of digital textiles and installation and animation. Personal stories and depictions are the starting point for what may be perceived as expressive portraits. Størseth’s presence in her work is evident in the selection of motifs as well as in the digital processes the images have been subjected to before completion. For a number of years, Anne has worked with design and production and reconstruction of furniture textiles, both for private and for public spaces, nationally and internationally.

Johanna Schartau (SE)
"Loom monotonous thump, the shuttle going back and forth, foot pedal, up down up down up down. The pattern is formed as flowers, stripes, birds. The thin silk threads lie one after another, the fabric becomes longer and longer, so a fabric is formed. Maybe it will be a tie, a flag, a fabric for a fashion house in Paris, a towel for a kitchen somewhere in Sweden, or a black silk-scharlett for a church lady a long time ago ..."
I am a visual artist and filmmaker, working with photography, sculpture, video/film. Often I work with historical themes, my own history but also what belongs to all of us. Perhaps my work with photography got me interested in jaqcuard weaving, with this techique you can weave pictures with huge photographic sharpness. I am fascinated by this old technology with punched cards which was an early application of binary digital technology. It is the beginning of our computer system today.

Curator: Petter Hellsing (SE)
Petter Hellsing likes to create a tension between the safe and the distressing. Through dislocations and relocations of motifs and shapes, domestic textiles turn into a mysterious map of memories and social rituals. In a number of exhibitions and public works, Petter Hellsing has also explored the relationship between manual work and digital technology, as well as the possibilities of artistic work to collect and pass on stories. Petter Hellsing was educated at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design Stockholm, Sculpture department.

Lia Cook. Su Series: Lips, 2008, Jacquard weft
Lia Cook
Lia Cook.
Grethe Sørensen. Millions of colors
Grethe Sørensen. Millions of colors
Anne Størseth. The cost of flexibility, 2008 Jacquard weft
Anne Størseth
Johanna Schartau. 4800-trådar, Video installation 2009
Ismini Samanidou. Wallflower, 2008 Jacquard weft
Ismini Samanidou
Ismini Samanidou

Pils Design