Halfway between artisanal work, in the most literal sense, and art, the textile work of Australian designer Tammy Kanat has sought to rediscover near-forgotten techniques and methods of work that were close to disappearing.This new creative impulse has managed to reinvigorate the value of products such as carpets, rugs and blankets that are no longer being manufactured using the traditional artisanal methods of handweaving and looms.
It began as all stories do… Once upon a time there was a restless young woman filled with imagination. Fascinated by the world of jewellery, she began to create her own designs. She quickly found success, but six years later, Tammy decided to close her jewellery workshop and focus her attention on the unknown world of handmade textiles, a field in which Australia has many great masters. “I was decorating my house and needed a textile piece to hang on one of the walls, and I couldn’t find anything I liked. Right then I decided that I could do it myself, and set to work,” says the renowned weaver.
A particular predilection for the world of fibres, for the traditional and natural aspects of manual work, and a number of courses and workshops at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, an internationally renowned creative centre, have all helped to position Tammy Kanat’s work as some of the very best. This year the artist presented her work at the Milan Furniture Fair, to an overwhelming response.
1. ¿Whats behind the work of Tammy Kanat?
Basically Im a person who enjoys a great artistic freedom. Creating imperfect designs experimenting with textiles, textures and techniques. I hope to bring a new life and fresh ideas towards contemporary woven art in the marketplace. New, shapes, textures , materials and colours are all areas I would like to continue to explore and develop further.
2. ¿Ecology, sustainability and a good manage of resources.., are these priorities or important in all your project?
Recycling wool and fibers is always a high priority with my work. My studio is covered with so much material! I can often find what I am looking for on the floor of my studio. Recycling adds to the creative process as you use what you have available which makes you push the boundaries.
3. ¿In which role plays quality and desing in the projects?
The quality of my work is about the ability for someone to connect with my design. It is not about the perfect technique or the most expensive materials. It is the ability to move or touch someone.
4. ¿And the material? Are you more interesting in some special material to work whith?
I currently enjoy working with New Zealand merino wool, alpaca wool which is sourced from a local Mill in Australia , copper, bamboo and silk. However, I am keen to explore weaving with many more interesting materials.
5. ¿Which one is the part of your work that gives you more satisfaction, and which one is instead the one that you like the least?
The process of weaving is similar to meditation. I get lost in the rhythm of my work. It clears my mind, slows down my breathing and makes my heart feel calm. Watching the piece evolve and grow on the loom is very satisfying. When I am weaving I am very messy. I throw material everywhere in the creative moment. So when I finish the design the worst bit is cleaning up the mess I have left on the floor.
6. ¿Which are the main features that identify your work? Is it possible to summarize them into three representative key concepts?
Colour this is an essential part of my work. Playing with shades and tones of colour; Shapes with imperfect shapes is very important for my work to feel organic and not contrived, experimenting with many techniques and Texture knots and twists creating a woven sculpture
7. ¿Synthetically, how do you organise the creative process that leads to the definition of your projects?
Each project I develop becomes a new experience. When I start a project I have no intention or vision for the result. It is developed internally and evolves instinctively. Each design is a new adventure.
8. ¿Where do you look for your inspiration’s main sources?
Everything around me is stimulating for creativity. However nature and other art play a huge role in inspiring me.
9. ¿Do you think your work is connoted by a specific expressive language and do you believe that formal recognition is important for a designer’s work?
My main reason for my work is for personal expression and satisfaction. However, recognition is rewarding and encouraging. My best work is done when I feel connected with the process not for the end results.
10. ¿Who is the next in your projects?
I am creating a large piece to celebrate Creswick Woollen Mills 70 year Anniversary. This is the oldest woolen mill in Australia and they have commissioned me to work with their Alpaca wool to create a piece in celebration of the occasion. I am honoured to be involved in the project.
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