Wow! indeed. That was my first reaction when I saw these pictures of the work of Bristol-based textile designer and weaver Angie Parker.
It goes without saying that I have to really, really like all the things I choose to put on this website. Every now and again, though, some particularly colourful beautiful things get me doing my extra excited, EXTRA happy dance. And this was definitely one of those occasions.
I’ve come to realise it’s a certain magical combination of colour, pattern and craftsmanship that make me grin like an idiot, squeak with excitement and run around shouting “Look, look, JUST LOOK AT THIS!”.
So look we will. In fact we’ll feast our eyes.
Angie’s beautifully detailed and vibrant contemporary woven textiles are derived from Scandinavian rug weaving techniques, and her talent was evident from the get go.
Right after graduating she won the New Designers ‘Floor-covering Designer of the Year’ award for her innovative and distinctive pieces. The accompanying prize money was spent on a Glimakra Floor Loom that enabled Angie to set up her practice and develop her ideas.
Angie continued using traditional Scandinavian weaving patterns such as Krokbragd, (pronounced crow-brod) – ” the possibilities of which she can’t imagine exhausting in this lifetime” – but swapped the thick wool used in rugs for fine cottons and silks.
The result was these exquisitely exuberant textiles which she describes herself as ” often fabulously gaudy”.
And what’s behind these exciting colour combinations? It turns out that the vibrant palette is very much influenced and inspired by Angie’s surroundings, both past and present:
“Each piece I create is a one-off and much of my designing is done at the loom. My use of colour is instinctive but definitely influenced by a time spent living in India and more recently the graffiti in my neighbourhood in Bristol.
The guys round here put out something new every week and the school run is never ending source of inspiration.
Some days are an idillic mix of trips to the park, getting a warp made during Balamory, and usually end with a few delicious hours at the loom when the kids are in bed!”
A lot of Angie’s work to date has involved matching her contemporary woven textiles with old, unwanted and unloved furniture to produce striking modern pieces, as her website explains:
“Salvaged and restored chairs are one of the uses Angie has found for these original and durable handwoven pieces.
She has elves all over the country helping her to find abandoned, forgotten pieces of furniture that are crying out for a little care.
Unfazed by the complications of upholstering with fabrics that can’t be cut, and the challenges each piece brings, Angie has found creative fulfilment in producing these labour intensive and original pieces of contemporary craft as well as a receptive audience in her customers.”
Whilst continuing with these projects, Angie is also working on new ideas and told me a little about them:
“I’m currently establishing my business having being selected for the Craft Councils Hothouse programme for emerging makers, which I can embrace now my kids are almost all at school. At the moment I’m adding the finishing finishing touches to the Mikado Collection”. (As seen on the Console chair below)
“A 1950’s footstool in this pattern is almost finished and I’ll be showing framed wall-hangings for the first time.
For the future, there’s the possibility of returning to my roots and working on a range of traditional Scandinavian handwoven rugs using my trademark vibrant colours.”
Angie’s work can be seen by appointment at her studio in Bristol, and she’ll also be at the following events later this year:
6 – 8 June: The Bovey Tracy Contemporary Craft Festival in Devon
2 – 5 July: New Designers 2014 One Year On (Part 2) in London
9 – 12 October: The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester
Angie’s work will be on sale at all these events, and she’ll be more than happy to discuss commissions too. I’m definitely going to be queuing at the doors of New Designers in July, and am working on a plan to make it down to Devon to the Bovey Tracey show too.
I don’t think it’s possible to get too much colourful beautiful therapy, and I wish there was a way to bottle Angie’s work and make it available on prescription. They definitely would be happy pills.
Images: Angie Parker Textiles