Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Ptolemy Mann

Well, on the advice of my tutor (see below) I have had a look at the Ptolemy Mann website.

Now this doesn't look like any other textile art website I've seen so far.
An architectural textile artist whose particular strength is colour.
Strong interesting and certainly unexpected colours and combinations of colours.

There is a reference to her use of Ikat weaving, which I have seen in some rugs. Briefly looking up Ikat technique on wikipaedia, I am reminded that I read about it before in a book about ornament - that it is a highly skilled technique where the yarn is dyed with resist patterns from binding the threads, and only then woven.

I see now that her textiles are made by dying the changes in colour on the threads first, and then woven, which gives them an irregular transition of colour which is distinctive.

Looking further on the website, I definitely remember seeing the John Lewis cushion design and noticing it as something new and different and strikingly colourful.

I enjoyed reading some of her journalism - the review of Josef Albers 'Interaction of Colour' in which she says, 'We all see colours differently which is exactly why it's so interesting and impenetrable.' I didn't know before reading this that he was married to 'the unsurpassed weaver' named Anni Albers. Someone else to look up.

Another textile artist whose work she reviewed in Selvage magazine was Sue Lawty, whose focus is on the tiny organic details. I loved the piece at the top of the article, and want to see more of her work. Not much overt colour in it, but lots to look at. In some ways more than in Ptolemy Mann's work.

'Clever and eye-catching textiles depend entirely on how colours work together.' Certainly relates to her own work especially. They really are clever and eye-catching. I read elsewhere that the colours change as you move around them. And the whole buildings she has been a colour consultant for are overtly different, interesting and bright.

These two textile artists are clearly making pieces for very different reasons.

One of the things that struck me looking at this website is how she works in a variety of different ways - textile art, textile design, colour consultancy and architectural pieces, and that this seems natural in someone with a love of and skill in using colour in the way she does. So it's not a question of either/or.

I also found, personally, that this website and the articles in it revealed that there is no 'right' way to do colour, and that experimentation to find my own preferences and tendencies is the way to go. Which is very helpful and for that I thank my tutor.

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