Elena Meneghini

I am a textile designer and hand weaver based in Milan, Italy. Through different threads, textures and weaving patterns, I explore the possibilities that the gaze and manual ability have in relation to paper yarn. My research into paper yarns is fascinated in particular by the rhythm and textile structure that this humble material brings and the stories that each yarn carries with it. A material usually associated with the concept of two dimensionality, once filtered through the mechanics looms, come to life, acquiring weight and volume once extracted from them.

Q&A

Artist Statement

My practice encloses in itself, stories, materials, and slow productions. Through a critical eye I try to reproduce with my textiles a search for experiences and feelings related to material culture. Quality, care and time become an essential part of my textiles productions, through which you can reactivate memories and open new paths. My artistic research is nourished by local stories, people, actions, spaces to be discovered and approached with my own gaze. Popular practices, local traditions are meant to be the basis of the research I carry on. I seek places where exchanges between different cultures and artisanal forms take place; I am especially interested in intersections and openings. Weaving, a silent and rhythmic practice, becomes my instrument of expression through which I can take care of, follow and choose the elements that will compose my work.

What craft do you work with? 

During the last year of university, together with my friend Nicola Chemotti, we discovered by chance an archive of original illustrations and hand screen-printed textiles from the collective Handdruck, a group of artists and designers active in 1970s in Bolzano (italy). In 2017 we launched the brand Neue Serie Handdruck with a limited edition of fabrics and puppets that reimagined and redesigned Handdruck’s archive, with the intention to share and extend the original project by presenting new objects and colour combinations.That was probably my first strong link with the world of textiles, after which I came to know the textile artist Paola Besana, from whom I took my very first basic course in weaving in Milan. I still remember how the rhythm of the loom bewitched me and how the infinite possibilities that the loom can give made me curious to continue my studies. It took a few years before I really got my head around where I wanted to go, but when I found out about the Swedish school of art and craft Capellagården, I knew it was the perfect place to immerse myself in the world of handcrafted weaving. I have spent two years learning and creating textiles and that’s is what I am doing now. Hand weaving is my main tool through which I explore and create my pieces.

What inspires you to work with this craft? 

The manual aspect, the tactility that I draw from my work allows me to be extremely aware of the production that I am seeking to create, intersecting traces of the past with an awareness of what it means to produce in the present day.

How do you start your creative process?

Both through sketching by hand or at the computer, but sometimes I do sketches on the loom, visualizing colors and texture while weaving is necessary and can make all the sketches made before irrelevant. The most enjoyable part is when the vision I had in my head, whether it was only hinted at or perhaps after much study to make it possible, slowly, thread by thread you see it begin to come as I had prefigured it, it is a wonderful feeling. Working on hand looms means that there is no overview of the whole piece while you are weaving, and sometimes you have to trust yourself and keep weaving while waiting for the most beautiful moment, which is when you cut the warp to unroll the whole fabric. Sometimes there are unpleasant surprises that it did not turn out as planned, but the opposite often happens and you are positively surprised.

How would you best describe your workspace and what tools could you not do without?

My workspace is surrounded by the looms and the different yarns I work with. I find it inspiring to have different materials at hand with which to try out new combinations. You obviously need a loom, but to weave you also need other small tools that make it slightly faster and more efficient, such as a warping frame, spools.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?

I would love to dig more in the basket weaving world.

What have you learnt or the best advice you have received that you would like to share with fellow crafters?

What I have learnt so far is that inspiration and knowledge of a new material or technique can come from a tiny detail, an unexpected encounter, a walk in the countryside. What I have learnt so far is that inspiration and knowledge can come and be born from the smallest detail, from an unexpected encounter, from a walk in the countryside and not just from standing in front of your work tool waiting for something interesting to be born. Be open to contamination is perhaps the hardest lesson for me but also the one that has brought me unexpected things.

What professional dream do you have?

I hope to continue to produce and get to know people interested in handicrafts to work with, and to create awareness around these practices and build a reference point for other people interested in textiles and craft.

Media & Contact

Representation

Elena Meneghini

 

Photography Credits

Emmi Roosling – Elena Meneghini

Location

Milano, Italy