Ann Richards, Lotte Dalgaard & Other Weavers: Exhibition Review – Stacey Harvey Brown

A celebration of textural textiles to accompany the launch of Ann Richards’ book “Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves”, and Lotte Dalgaard’s related book Magic Materials to Weave, is currently on show at the Handweavers’ Studio and Gallery in Finsbury Park, London until 13th June 2012.

After exploring both structure and high twist yarns for over twenty years, Ann Richards was finally persuaded to put her considerable talent and research into a book. Richards came to weaving from a biological background, and this science-based research discipline has been the ground-work for her explorations into this fascinating field. Systematically and rigorously, structure, yarn, and elements of yarn construction have been considered, utilised and combined to create a collection of incredible textural fabrics. Richards does the brain work so that the fabrics shape themselves once off the loom and finished.

The exhibition contains many of the fabrics that have charted Richards’ progress in this enquiry, including some that were originally featured in Ann Sutton’s influential Ideas in Weaving. There are some handlooms set up with sample warps that visitors to the exhibition can try their hand at to see for themselves the amazing results that come with the combinations of active and passive yarns, and weave structure.

Lotte Dalgaard from Denmark has also been investigating in the same field for many years, but with a fashion fabric approach. In collaboration with Danish fashion designer Ann Schmidt, she develops cloth that can be manipulated around the female form to create pleated garments in various silhouettes. Utilising the shape-fitting propensity of the fabrics to mould around the body, and to gather in pleats where the fabric is relaxed, ingenious forms can be made using non-traditional shaping, often without cutting into the cloth.
The exhibition features many examples of these two accomplished weavers’ work and is supplemented with pieces from weavers from around the world – other contributors to Richards’ book, and the exhibition, include Junichi Arai, Reiko Sudo, Deidre Wood and many others from the UK, US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

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