We caught up with Amanda Lwin, one of our Venice Fellows and a multi-disciplinary maker interested in exploring the interface between landscapes, buildings and people. Read this interview to find out how the techniques she learnt whilst in Venice led her to create a map-inspired woven canopy for a deli in Deptford, south east London.
During the research period of your British Council Fellowship in Venice in June, you chose to learn macramé weaving. What is this technique and why did you chose it?
Macramé is an ancient art of knotting rope to create textiles – invented by Arab caravanserai traders, later, adopted by sailors who added their knowledge of nautical knots to make fishing nets or hammocks, often sold at the next port – so it’s always had this embedded material history of trade. The material it creates can be dense or open, and I wanted to explore how I could use the many metaphors it brings up, that relate to and tell stories of networks, systems, infrastructure and exchange.
Venice has a rich history of textiles and weaving. How did your time in Venice inspire your weaving project? Did you see any interesting examples of weaving?
I visited the Lace Museum in Burano, which reminded me that before it became machine-produced, lace-making was an incredibly labour-intensive activity, most often used on the fringe or trim, such as on a neckline or cuff. Macramé is a crude form of lace-making (originally of leftover warp threads on a carpet) and I like the idea of the fringe element becoming the main event – like the Edinburgh Fringe for example. One of my Venice maps uses this idea of the outgrown-fringe as a metaphor for the islands of the Venetian Lagoon – founded by Roman refugees as a ‘fringe’ to the mainland, no ground is natural in Venice, everything has been fabricated and woven together.