LOEWE CRAFTPRIZE FINALIST (2019)
FEB 6 2019
Since 2016 to promote and honor contemporary craftmanship, Jonathan Anderson the creative director of Loewe, has awarded the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize. The 2019 competition was the third edition and resulted in a group exhibition of the 29 finalists in the stone garden at Sogetsu Kaikan building, Toyko in June and July 2019. Among the finalists was Berlin based material designer Sophie Rowley, who is represented by Side Gallery. The final show was a diverse demonstration of contemporary craft taking a myriad of forms. The works of the 29 crafts-men and women were set amongst the cool satanic stones of Isamu Noguchi’s indoor stone garden, a suitably tranquil setting in which the visitors were able to enjoy the rich diversity of hand-hewn works on display. The New Zealand born, Berlin based designer qualified as a finalist with her playful Khadi Frays textile wall pieces. Khadi Frays is a series Rowley developed during a one-year stay in India. They are inspired by the Khadi Spirit, an Indian term which describes the state of illimitable patience. In ‘Khadi Frays’, the repetitive actions of conventional handweaving techniques were reversed.
"They are inspired by the Khadi Spirit, an Indian term which describes the state of illimitable patience"
Instead of building up the material thread by thread, a solid block of multiple weaves forms the starting point. Each layer undergoes a carefully calculated destructive process, during which over 10,000 threads are patiently removed, leaving frayed finishes behind. Through eating into these material blocks, multi-dimensional textures are created, gradually dwindling down to the base layer. The differences in weight and tension of the warp and weft lead to subtle variations in shade and dependent upon the perspective angle, reflections on the surfaces occur. Through this technique simplistic and modest materials were transformed into intricate arrangements and elegant wall pieces, endeavoring to give a modern twist to textile craft. The experiments with stencils led to three different design outcomes made from natural canvas cloths, rough linen fabrics and cottons hand-dyed in Indian turmeric.