Ali Holloway is part of Messing With Yarn showing at Textile Arts Factory, Greece on 10 December 2016
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Ali Holloway talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and what she loves most about her work
Who or what got you into making?
My relationship with cloth started when very young. My childhood memories are of rummaging through my grandmothers chest of drawers full of antique fabric and lace thrilled by the patterns, colours and the physical connection with the past. My mother taught me to embroider, knit and make clothes for my dolls and then for myself. I discovered weaving at an evening class in Islington in the 1980’s and was taught by Gwen Fereday amongst other people who ignited a spark and I then went on to study textiles at Central Saint Martins.
Tell us a bit about your work
I am a weaver interested in telling stories, most recently I exhibited a series of weavings inspired by the story of my great great grandparents into which I incorporated old maps and fragments of clothing and lace owned and made by the women in my family in order to tell a story of a journey, of love, loss and the threads that connect across time.
I am also driven by a passion for exploring and testing the possibilities of materials. These, often playful, manipulations are all about creating new forms, textures and structures. to complement these experiments I also use stitch, macrame and printing when making my work and am always hoping to break free from the linear and regimented nature of the warp. When dying yarn I often use space dying and cone dying to allow for surprises and random placement of colour.
What are your inspirations?
My work reflects my fascination with both the natural and manmade worlds and research for a new project will often start with a walk observing, drawing and taking photographs. Walking is a way of discovering forgotten corners and an attempt to find mystery in the terrain of the familiar, a sensibility I hope to bring to the final woven piece. I explore the idea that the mechanics of weaving a piece of cloth, the rhythmic passing to and fro of the shuttle through the warp echoes the rhythm of walking. Thus the process of cloth making tells a story much as a journey does with a beginning, middle and end.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I love all parts of the process from researching ideas, dying the yarn, the technical problem solving involved in setting up a loom and the the meditative rhythm of weaving.
What are you working on right now?
I currently have several projects on the go, two very different weaving and walking projects. One will be a series of woven work based on walks along the Thames estuary from Rainham Marshes towards the sea where stark industrial structures contrast with the big skies and flat expanses of marshland.
The other will be work recording an urban walk where my interest is in how the impact of centuries of human existence have left its mark on the city, how in the present the backdrop to our lives are the building, signs and street ephemera inherited from generations of human endeavour. These layers of history I find both touching and intriguing.