As an artist working primarily in printmaking, illustration, and recently photography, weaving has always been a peripheral interest, rather than an integral part of my practice. My goal during my residency at Gather was to integrate weaving into an existing body of work, while challenging myself to learn a new technique-- double weave.
I started out by familiarizing myself with the structure of double weave by completing the 4 and 8 shaft samplers from Jennifer Moore's book "Double Weave." Through this process, I discovered what techniques appealed to me and what I wanted to explore further during my residency. I was particularly drawn to the checkerboard pattern and its variations, which allowed for the most colour vibrancy, while also creating these fun little pockets and tubes within the structure..
In my first piece after the sampler, I experimented with making large pockets that I stuffed with discarded wool from the nearby skirting table. I could see this technique being used to create a garment, like a quilted vest! At this point in my residency, I was completely overwhelmed by the many possibilities that double weave presented, and I had to stop myself from making a pair of pants on the loom, no matter how impractical, just because I could!
In all of my work, I am drawn to textiles and the way that colour and pattern interact to convey emotion and meaning. For my final piece, I took inspiration from the complex and layered compositions of my printwork and reproduced them in a large wall hanging using checkerboard double weave. The result was a trippy, op art like weaving that incorporated new techniques and tactility into my art practice. I’m still figuring out where to take it from here (this isn’t a “finished” work in the photo), but I’m positive that the knowledge and experience I gained during my time at Gather will be a springboard for a new body of work.
Prior to the residency, my art practice was primarily sculpting with clay and wood and doing mixed media oil paintings with a recent interest in making my own textiles. I began printmaking, screenprinting and block printing on hand-dyed fabric with the goal of eventually learning to weave.
My practice is focused on my cultural identity as a Jamaican woman of Afro and Indo-Caribbean ancestry. I show the beauty of merging these cultures as well as the complexities of not fitting the mould of “looking Indian” highlighting hair and skin tone, two major factors that affected my sense of belonging to this group as my hair was too thick and skin too dark. Textile has been used in my work to signify each culture sometimes replacing my skin tone.
My goal in entering this residency was to learn a new skill that I could later implement as a part of my practice. I wanted to learn how to make textiles that I could use in my paintings versus only purchasing them. By making them myself I am able to further my research and know more about their origins and how they are made.
I learnt how to weave linen and cotton on a four-shaft loom. I made three samples experimenting with combining the patterns of Okene cloth from Nigeria and Ilkal from India as self portraits of my mixed identity, as well as, two final samples and main pieces that were primarily one culture.
For my final two pieces as with the others, I was inspired by the patterns and techniques of multiple pieces of textiles that I combined into one. I replicated the stripes prominent in Okene textiles as well as the vibrant use of colour. The Okene cloth local name "Ita-Inochi" woven by the Ebira people of Central Nigeria. For my Indian textile I researched Ilkal from the Indian state and chose a check pattern for the body and a decorative border using the colours red, green and gold which are prominent colours throughout Indian culture.
These final pieces will be shown in my upcoming show Desiderium at The Southern Alberta Art Gallery from December 2 to February 12, 2023. I will be using the samples to create new work in the meantime.View Raneece's website
This exhibit features a series of patterns drawn from historic garments alongside their muslin recreations. Carefully measuring the original garments, drawing the patterns, and making the recreations served as a slow meditation on the forgotten labour and knowledge required to make clothing. By presenting patterns beside the garments they make, this exhibit invites viewers to consider the relationship between two-dimensional patterns and the three-dimensional bodies they cover.