I am a Woven Textile Designer based in Glasgow, Scotland.
What craft do you work with?
Passionate about exploring new weave techniques, I am a Woven Textile Designer based in Glasgow, Scotland. I design silk scarves in my studio which are then woven in a traditional English mill. I also design and weave rugs and fabrics for interiors in my studio. I discovered weaving through my love for mathematics as I find weaving a fascinating combination of mathematical skills and creativity. I am captivated with the effects of colours in patterns and how they complement and contrast each other. I am interested in exploring how colours behave in relation to other colours and shapes. Being taught weaving from the rural artisans of Pakistan about 15 years ago, my expertise lies in the traditional art form of weaving; the binding of different types of yarns to construct different textures and patterns. I enjoy challenging my creativity by experimenting with scale and different weights of yarn to explore the diversity and handle of the final piece. My favourite weave technique is Double-cloth; the simultaneous weaving of two layers of cloth on the loom. The patterns can be designed by intelligently playing around with the intersections; where the two layers meet. What I find most intriguing about Double-cloth woven structures is the element of complexity and the endless design possibilities.
What inspires you to work with this craft?
My design practise encapsulates everything I am passionate about: weaving, vibrant colours, architecture and geometry. A mathematician at heart, geometric patterns are quite central to my woven designs and I love the challenge of constructing new weave structures from my primary research and drawings. Fascinated with the visual culture of my ancestral homeland Karachi, my geometric designs are a representation of the hustle and bustle of the city. I am in awe of the vibrant coloured Pakistani trucks set against the magnificent Colonial British Architecture in the old town of Karachi. Pakistani trucks look like giant kaleidoscopes of brilliant colours and patterns; much like an art gallery on wheels! I love the explosion of pattern and pop colours on the trucks and picking out geometric patterns from the city buildings. I strive to achieve the same boldness of colour in my woven designs and balance the vivid colours with earthy tones of the buildings. Working with my hands to create objects has always fascinated me and I find weaving extremely relaxing, invigorating and stimulating. The beauty of weaving is that it is influenced by a lot of factors like the colour, type and thickness of yarn, patterns, weave structures, etc. which makes it unique and personal to the weaver. Responding intuitively to the warp, weft, materials and moment in time makes the weaving process a spiritual experience for me. My favourite materials to work with are silk and wool. The vibrancy of silk reminds me of the beautiful colours of my childhood home Pakistan and wool is quite synonymous with Britain; my home now.
How would you best describe your workspace and what tools could you not do without?
My workspace is a converted garage in our garden. It’s tidy, organised and brimming with all sorts and varieties of yarns. I am a huge yarn hoarder! My loom, a 36 shaft Louet Megado sits at the middle of the workspace in all its glory. Its the loom of my dreams! My lined graph papers are the one tool that I can not do without. My graph papers are an invaluable tool that help me to transfer my ideas onto comprehensible structures; structures that can be fed onto my loom to be woven.
Are there new techniques you would like to try?
I am very much interested in trying new off-loom weaving techniques. I want to bring some diversity to my design portfolio by exploring form and structure. Weaving on the loom is disciplined and orderly: requiring adherence to a set of rules. The loom limits weaving of floral or organic shapes. Whereas weaving off loom on a wooden frame or without is like drawing on a blank canvas; there are no limitations to the design.
What have you learnt or the best advice you have received that you would like to share with fellow crafters?
The best advice I have received that I would like to share with fellow makers is that ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ You must be willing to take risks in order to achieve your dreams. Develop your own creative signature and your passion will shine through your work. It is important to enjoy and cherish your making process along the way! I would like to collaborate with a ceramist and/or glass artist as I feel that their art medium is very different from mine. It would be interesting to explore how the collaboration will shape up! It is my dream to achieve a doctorate degree and to further research Islamic art, design innovation, smart materials and the strong influence of mathematics in art. It is interesting how the history of art is also the history of math and I would like to make this knowledge accessible to the wider public. I like connecting with people; learning their stories, sharing and exchanging ideas. It is my ambitious goal to create a platform in the form of a creative hub or space for Pakistani and ethnic minority children to experiment with their creativity and to hopefully inspire young budding artists.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
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