How It's Made: This NYC-Based Weaver Shares Her Creative Process
Ever since I stumbled upon NYC-based weaver Maryanne Moodie on Instagram around two-years ago, I have been obsessed with her incredible handmade creations. I often spend hours scrolling through her profile to admire her woven works of art (which even inspired me to purchase a loom of my own!)—the intricacy, use of vintage textiles, and material combinations are an inspiration for every self-confessed craft-lover. The once Melbourne art teacher and now Etsy seller splits her time between designing and creating woven wall hangings, creating beginners weaving kits, and teaching sold-out workshops across the world. Moodie couldn’t be more perfect as the subject of our next installment of How It’s Made if she tried. Read on to find out how her creations are brought to life.
How did your love for weaving begin?
I have always loved vintage textiles. I used to sell vintage clothing and I have always been an avid op-shopper and flea market-thrifter. I am drawn to the embellishments and intricate hand work that makers put into their fabrics—such a far cry from the mass produced fast fashion that we have today. I was an art teacher and I found an old table top loom when I was clearing out the store room. It was serendipitous as it coincided with my first pregnancy. I spent many mornings at home teaching myself the ups and downs and overs and unders of weaving as my little babe slept nearby.
How has your weaving evolved since you began?
I consider myself a lifelong learner. I am constantly trying new materials, skills, and techniques. I have a design process and I make small samples of my works now—it feels much more intentional and design driven than when I was first learning.
What is your inspiration behind your designs?
I have curated a schedule that allows me to visit NYC museums and galleries every Monday morning. It has been a revelation in my understanding of the art world, manipulation of materials, art history and context, and blur the lines between design and art.
What materials do you use in your weaves? And where do you source them from?
I use mostly vintage fibres from textile factories. I source these by scanning Craigslist and Ebay for listings of factories that have closed down or estate sales. I also use a lot of small batch, ecological and high welfare, hand spun and hand dyed natural fibres like alpaca, silk, wool, and mohair. I source these from Etsy—it feels good to be supporting women run small business owners. I also source experimental components from hardware and plumbing stores and art and craft stores—you never know what you might find.
What do you love most about weaving?
It is meditative. You get in the zone and time passes in way that does not match the ticking of the clock. Sometimes it can pass slowly and sometimes it quickly disappears.
Where is your studio located?
In Sunset Park in Brooklyn NYC.
How long on average does it take you to create one of your woven wall hangings?
It depends on a lot of factors including the size and intricacy of the needle work as well as the behaviour of my children! A large piece (24"x24") usually takes about 34 full days of weaving (24 hours at the loom)
What is the most rewarding aspect from creating woven wall hangings?
Each one is conceived, planned, selected, and woven by me. I love the manifestation of an idea. I love working with clients to find that sweet spot between their intentions and ideas and expectations and my artistic expression.
Talk us through the process from start to finish of creating one of your designs.
If I am working with a client, we have some email exchanges discussing where the piece will sit, the audience, the reason for the curation of the piece, preferred elements, and colour way. Then I make up some designs based on the client inspiration. Once we have worked out the design and colour way, I select the fibres and I warp up the loom. I weave the piece in intervals whilst I am thinking about the client and the happy home and the good vibes it will bring to its new life and home. Once it is woven, I cut it off the loom and hang it up whilst I finish the back and weave in all the ends. I usually have it hanging up on my home or the studio for about a week and trim the fringing and look at it at it from different angles and decide if it is perfect. I have a photoshoot and send the final photos to the client.