Circular textile artwork in shades of purpleI was lucky enough to see one of Ptolemy Mann’s joyous, vibrant, colourfield textile artworks at the ‘Crafted: Makers of the Exceptional’ show earlier this year at Somerset House.  You can get a very good idea from these photos of the stunning colour combinations that she creates, but to actually see the fine detail of the delicate, lustrous threads as they slowly change colour and one shade merges into the next is truly breathtaking.  The colours may be bright but they’re never garish or gaudy.  There’s also a real elegance and refinement to the work, testament to Mann’s mastery of colour theory.

Pink and Orange textile artwork by Ptolemy Mann from 1st DibsImage via 1st Dibs

Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1997, Mann has created a series of one-off, architectural artworks using her signature ikat-style weaving technique.  Based in her London studio, she hand dyes a selection of fibres and then hand weaves them on her upright Dobby loom.  The textiles are then stretched onto wooden frames, which often vary in depth within the same piece, thus creating a three dimensional finished work.  Mann’s textiles have been placed within public, corporate and domestic spaces throughout the UK and abroad, and as well as creating her textile artworks she also provides colour consultancy services to architects and designers.

Colourfiled textile artwork in red, purple and yellow by Ptolemy MannImage via 1st Dibs

There’s another chance to see her work on show, this time in Derbyshire at Chatsworth House, as part of the recently opened “Modern Makers” exhibition which runs until 23 December 2013.  Mann has created ‘Chromatogenous’ (meaning “to generate colour”), a series of nine panels inspired by the the colours that she observed in Chatsworth House, and she describes the work as follows:

A mile stone for me… the largest installation I think I’ve ever done. Very difficult to photograph to convey the true scale of the piece. More of an experience, something you move through, than a traditional installation that you view. Each panel embodies a certain colour that I found in the house itself and is a deep exploration of what I call Chromatic Minimalism.

ChromatogenousTextile installation by Ptolemy Mann at gallery of Chatsworth House

If you’d like to know more, you can also find this very brief but rather poetic essay she wrote about making the piece on her website/blog ‘Significant Colour

Vortex fabric from John Lewis
More prosaically, we can now also have Ptolemy Mann’s colourful textiles in our own homes, thanks to her limited edition designs for John Lewis. They’re available as fabric by the metre, shown above, or as cushions, below, but I don’t think they’ll be available for long, as I imagine demand will be high – it’s far too good a chance to miss to possess our own little piece of this very special colour alchemy.
Yellow, red and blue striped cushion

And hot off the press is the announcement on her website just yesterday that Mann has produced a new collection of rugs, called ‘Mid Century Modern’, in collaboration with Rugmaker. There will be lots of different shapes, styles and weaves, from circular pile rugs to flatwoven runners, and at prices to suit all budgets.  The circular ‘Red Vortex’ rug below looks just stunning, don’t you think?  Colourful, beautiful, and truly uplifting – I think that sums up the work of Ptolemy Mann perfectly.
Brightly coloured circular rug by Ptolemy Mann for Rugmaker


Images: (unless otherwise credited) Ptolemy Mann, John Lewis, Rugmaker



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