Weaves for the Wall, Elle Decoration, March 2019
All copy as provided to publication
Expect to see blankets migrating from beds and sofas to the walls of your home this year. As our homes become more digitalised and music, books, and photo albums follow cameras, calendars, and computers into the tiny technology in our smart phones and tablets, the question of what to fill our homes with becomes less driven by function and more about emotion. With less need for stuff, we can become more selective about the objects we choose to display in our homes and what they say about us. ‘We are surrounded by fabric from the cradle to the grave and yet it still has the power to inspire, stimulate and challenge us,’ says textile artist and designer Ekta Kaul. ‘The colour, texture, patterns and symbols of textiles all convey narratives and define identities.’ Quilts, blankets and embroidered textiles have a rich history of storytelling and have been used to mark special occasions such as births and weddings for thousands of years – and in more recent times have also been used for everything from therapy to protest. ‘Textile artforms are amazing carriers of meaning and expression,’ says Forest and Found’s Abigail Booth. ‘More and more artists and crafts practitioners are turning to textiles as a way to explore ideas through making – people connect more deeply to such a familiar language.’
Traditionally wrapped around our shoulders, or tucked over our beds, there is a warmth and immediacy to blankets that provokes an emotional response to art in this medium. ‘As well as being visually stimulating, textiles have a domestic quality that means people can relate to them in a way they don’t relate to formal art forms behind glass,’ explains printmaker Mark Hearld. ‘They can be used to soften the severity of architectural spaces and bring texture, richness, depth and often a sense of playfulness to contemporary interior design schemes – in times of uncertainty, people need their homes to feel like a sanctuary and textiles offer that warmth and comfort.’ In our ever more harried lives, they also argue for a slower pace. ‘There is a palpable sense of time in textiles-based art,’ says artist and maker Maxine Sutton. ‘The time spent making – the slowness of the textile processes – can be seen in the final piece and enjoyed by its owners, encouraging them to slow down too.’ Invest in a piece of blanket art you love and we’re sure it will be cherished for generations to come, just like the heirloom quilts of the past.