Just a quick background:
I have been working through a credited textile arts program here in Oulu for the past year. I initially entered the program to learn about weaving and textile design. It has always been an interest of mine, and expanding the range of my creative tools is the goal. It has been exciting and eye-opening to be in the studio-classroom again, getting my hands into everything. I was all set to continue the textile pattern design plan until I opened a book about art ryijy (tufted tapestry)…
After I had finished my first-ever weaving project (a floaty scarf), I was invited by the teacher to try räsymatto (rag rug) weaving. The last time I had done that was as a kid, visiting my grandparents in Finland. I had a bang-up time with it (and it’s a loud process). Now see, I don’t dare put it on our floor due to the cats.
My mind was fixated on learning how to weave a ryijy rug, and I timidly threw the idea into a conversation with teacher. Yes, my teacher is awesome. As you can tell from the photo, I was directed to a loom that still had warp left over from another student’s project, and shown where the coloured wool yarn was. I practiced mixing colours and knotting the yarn for a few rows before considering what the composition would be. Instead of creating a new composition, I went through the “forgotten” watercolours in my studio. I still have some from my time at university, and the just-off-the-boat days in Finland. So I chose one that had been hidden away, and revisited the past. It is a thematic continuation of my more recent bonfire paintings in acrylic.
I’m pleased and not a little bit thrilled to send out my first ryijy effort out into the world. It is invigorating to play with colour in a different medium. It has inspired me to re-examine other projects that I had to set aside last year, and incorporate them into ryijy. I’ve opened my practice and, literally, studio to ryijy weaving. I bought a used, Finnish-built loom and moved it into my (somewhat now cramped) studio space. I have plans, and I can’t wait to share them once I warp the loom.