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A collective round-table discussion with 5 artists of the class of Konstfack's CRAFT! master’s graduating in 2021.

8 min read

When did you decide on the art profession? Is there a specific time / event? 

I began to take art seriously at the age of 21 (x years ago). on a two-day train ride from Kerala to Delhi. 

In two years, I had five different jobs. I was working as a teacher substitute. I decided to become a rug weaver. I began to paint and create textile collages, but my rugs rather became portraits of rugs than functional rugs for the floor. I decided in that moment to go for it.  

Where does the art interest come from? 

I have no idea. My grandfather was a painter. I used to follow him to his studio. Art is expression, and unlike other forms of expression, it gives you the freedom to find your own vocabulary. From longing to belonging. you can be standing outside, observing, pretending to be smart and pretending to see things that hide from others. 

Any of you who have a view on anything other than a profession as an artist, guess that there are more career paths for your skills? 

I’d love to be a pattern designer for fabrics and wallpaper, I used to teach textiles and still really enjoy the community building from this. I have and could see myself continue working as fashion designer and textile designer but I would also love to work for theaters and film with costume or be a part of a creative process in a company. I would love to continue my artistic and craft research to PhD level. what is the profession of an artist anyhow? Isn’t it all and nothing? I want to be all and nothing! I would like to continue working with education and research. Costume designer, interior designer, creative director, writer, concept designer, pattern designer etcetera. 

How did your fascination for textiles grow? 

My fascination for weaving stems from that it allows you to construct a surface from individual threads, and that the way in which the threads could interconnect are limitless. My mum used to do a lot of crafts in our home growing up. There is literally no human being that does not grow up and live without textile on its skin, every day! It became an avenue of extreme interest as I was learning more about the community, history and the great tool we have in these skills. I truly believe in a connection between humans and textiles that comes from the really beginning of everything. It became a great bonding facility for us. Sometimes I sit still, and just becoming aware of the touch of textile on my skin, I feel great support and care from its presence and the softness yet functionality with which it accompanies my body.  I like how the textile field is so complex. Everyone has a relationship to textiles, most of us connect it to a domestic setting, like bedding etc. That is why it is so interesting to take that thing and twist it to absurdity.  

Ballast/Coolest textile artist? 

For me, the most important ingredient in textile art is honesty, it has nothing to do with being cool. When I meet elder weavers who started to weave during the 60’s and 70’s I often find them to be very cool women though, like Helena Hernmarck. If we would measure work in textile in categories like “coolness” we would also have to talk about the notions of “women work” and “granny crafts”. Do we need to use the weapons of the past to fight the devils of today? 

You work with materials that for many people feel are a bit outdated.  

Is there a sense of wanting to prove the surroundings the opposite? 

This is interesting to discuss, working with craft and textiles comes with a heavy cloud of traditions. The fun thing about traditions is that they are easy to relate to and can be twisted into something new and fun. I try to mix up the old with contemporary aesthetics and themes relating to my own life. I like that textiles could give that impression. I work with ideas that could be considered by many today to be outdated. Does that implicate they should not exist? The only thing that is outdated with these materials is perhaps other people’s thoughts about those materials. Yes. I really like to examine craft that is considered to be old fashioned or cheesy or domestic and try to unravel these assumptions. For which reason are popular associations to craft typically negative?    

What do you most look forward to after completed studies? 

Being able to continue research into community and craft. Re-finding our human connection after these digitally enforced times will mean that art and craft will be an important tool. We hope to be able to exhibit and have interesting collaborations. It will be nice to have more time to work in studio. 

How come you just chose Konstfack? 

I made my way here by intuition. Konstfack was an option amongst many. I thought it would be inspiring to have Bella Rune as supervisor. For this reason, I never saw there being any other option. At my previous school, we had a lot of great industrial machines. I sort of wanted to force myself into working more with my hands, which activates my brain and my creativity in another way. Also, I just wanted a change of scene.  

What have you done before Konstfack? 

 I worked with costume for theatre. I discovered teaching and I taught textiles for the past five years. I finished my bachelor at Konstfack 2016. Since then I’ve been working in my studio, participating in exhibitions and collaborations with other weavers. I have a BA in fashion design and worked in fashion and costume industries before deciding to return to education. I did an apprenticeship as a bespoke tailor, did some tailoring jobs for theater and film, and then started a Bachelor in Architecture. I have done many things.   

Does the school live up to the expectations you have for the education (please develop the answer) 

Konstfack is truly amazing. You have access to various workshops, which enables you to broaden your practice, and the professors really help you to see things in new ways. It is also great to meet daily with all the other students, which are such fascinating people. The organization itself is very flexible and responsive. I am impressed, and I am really happy that I got the opportunity to be there.  

If I am interested in textile art and learn more about it, which gallery or similar do I turn to? 

There are two galleries in Stockholm that focus on textiles: Fiber Space gallery and HV Galleri. If you’re into all kinds of craft there is an artist run gallery called dotdotdot. The Nationalmuseum, Nordiska museet and Historiska museet have extensive collections of historical textiles.  

Do you have something for sale that you think our readers should take a look at now? 

Yes, we do. We are all very different in how we work, which, I suppose, in a funny way is a good image of society today. Everyone is stretching out towards different directions, which makes us as a group extremely strong. I would like buying things from others in this group, it would be special as I know the person behind and the way she thinks and works; I would own more than the work itself. 

Art is too difficult and inaccessible to many, do you like it or do you like us that art should be appreciated and enjoyed as much as ex music? 

That’s quite a complex issue, connected to cultural capital, social structures etcetera. Art can also be so many different things. I don’t think it is the artworks that needs to be less difficult, but rather how we talk about art or where it is presented and present. This bothers me a lot actually, there is a lot of elitist art out there. Using materials that people have a daily relationship to, like textiles and ceramics, help a bit with that I think. And internet is just like a massive gallery these days, right? We’re getting there. This is where the platform of craft is so important. Art should be accessible to all because it offers freedom through expression. Skills considered as craft allow for accessible skills to be utilized in this format. It’s an important discussion because societally enforced hierarchies will take away much from people and community. I think it is important that art feel accessible. All don’t need to like it or even have an opinion but it’s important that its possible for all to be able to get interested. I think the art museum have a big role to introduce and open up and to get people curious. All creative industries should be accessible to everyone. I don’t think that art should be easy, then what is the point with it? Artist should do what is the most interesting for them, and hopefully someone else will get something out of it. Like music, there are types of art which are more or less accessible.