Ann Robinson’s peaceful weavings
I sincerely believe that weaving teaches us much more than how to make cloth. Learning to weave provides focus and discipline and allows us to practice patience and endurance. These skills, I believe, are necessary to maintain one's sanity in this chaotic world – a world of constant noise, information overload, and a lot of bad news.
In my own work, I design and weave one-of-a-kind textiles using traditional looms, respecting and preserving an ancient form of art. I have three looms in my home studio and use only natural fibers, primarily plant fibers (cotton, tencel [wood], bamboo, soy, linen, hemp) and silk. The weaving process is itself an art, and I weave not to create a picture but rather to express a feeling through color and structure. I hand-dye the yarn in a variety of color combinations and then choose a structure of repeating patterns, resulting in a visual rhythm that is evident in each piece.
I felt “stuck” in my view of color because I kept returning to the same colorways: blues, purples, reds, oranges. I decided to expand my color consciousness by traveling to Guatemala in 2016. I visited weaving coops in the highlands to study their weaving traditions and to learn how to manage a backstrap loom. I spent a great deal of time talking with the weavers about how they combine different colors. The thought of using pink and brown together, for example, had never crossed my mind until I saw how they make it work.
I came home with 212 spools of colored cotton and am using my newfound knowledge to create different combinations. My goal is to weave pieces that would be of interest to small fashion houses in San Francisco. If I am successful, my hope is to be able to turn a request for yardage over to Mayan Hands or Mayan Traditions. Those coops would then weave the yardage, and 90% of the payment would be given to the weavers themselves.
To learn more about Ann, visit www.annrobinsontextiles.com.