Meet the Artist is a series here to help, inspire and discover fibre artists from all around the world.
Whether you're an intermediate knotter or exploring the world of textiles for the first time, this series will shine a light on the beauty of fibre art whilst being a space to share ideas and learn from other artists.
For the first in our series, we spoke to Brazilian fibre artist Samantha Capatti, now based in Ireland, to find out more about her connection with weaving and the inspiration behind her work.
How would you describe your work to someone exploring it for the first time?
My work, at the moment, can be described as a study of lines, colours, textures to explore a silent language. I write, I draw, and I weave a lot and I connect all these three things to see if I can express myself. My work tends to be more sensuous than rational, and I tend to either do something very bold or something very delicate, never really something in between. But most times they come out more delicate than bold.
Before you begin a new piece – what is the thought process behind creating it? Do you follow the same method every-time?
I feel like every piece I make is somehow connected to my last one – like as if they were a continuation, even if they don’t look like each other that much. So in that sense I have one method: I write a lot about my feelings and thoughts, I draw a lot about things that I can’t put into words, and then I weave it all together.
The drawings influence my weavings but not in a direct way. I don’t follow my drawings, but they give me an atmosphere of what I have inside me at the moment so they are like a rough dreamy guide to my next weaving.
What is it about the art of weaving that you connect with so much?
I graduated in graphic design, and I used to spend a lot of time working in front of the computer. I knew that that lifestyle wasn’t really my thing and I wanted to work with my hands, so I decided to listen to my intuition and start something different.
When I decided that I wanted to learn a craft, I thought that ceramics would be my thing. I’ve always flirted with ceramics because it looks so poetic, earthy and free. But when I had ceramic classes I didn’t really like it because it was way too messy for me and it was perhaps too free for me, haha!
During the same year I had my first contact with weaving. I remember entering the weaving room and feeling my heart filled with joy! My soul felt so peaceful, the yearns were all organised by colour and all the wood table and floor looms were so strong and elegant. I had never had contact with weaving before and I was suddenly very intrigued by it because it looked like something very precious that would take a lot of love and patience, a lot of time and care, and I think that I felt attracted to that. It was love at first sight for sure.
I feel like my mind is a little bit messy and that my thoughts are a bit confused most times, so I need something that helps me to organize them, something with a structure. The loom gives me a structure to be free.
I think that what connects me to weaving that much is that I can build a structure (warp) and within that structure I can be free to do what I want (weft). So in a way I love it because of the infinite possibilities it gives me, but within a certain limit…maybe I love it because of that. To weave is to be held and to be free at the same time.
Which piece have you felt the most proud of to date?
I'm not sure if I have one piece that I am most proud of, maybe my latest one! I think I have been progressing a lot with my work lately so my last one is always the one I am more in love with.
You have an interest in both visual poetry and weaving - could you tell me more about how you feel the two are linked within your work?
They are 100% linked to one another because I see my weavings as an extension of my drawings and my writing too. In my current work I have been consciously exploring weaving as a language and therefore as a way of expressing the words I can’t. I use writing and drawing as part of the weaving process. Not because I choose that way, but because it is a way that I found to work in a more integral and complete manner. I’ve always drawn and written before I learnt how to weave, and now, with weaving I feel that my work is more thorough.
What types of materials do you like to use and why?
I would say that 95% of the material that I use are made of natural fibres and are second-hand yarns that I buy from an old carpet company here in Ireland. They have a huge warehouse with yarns that they don’t really use anymore and I buy most of my yarns from them. This is a very important thing to me, that I am reusing what is already in existence in the world.
Has the current pandemic affected your work at all and if so how?
I have already been living in a kind of isolated village for the last seven years or so and because my studio is in my home, it didn’t affect my work directly. Perhaps it was affected in more subtle ways like being able to go to exhibitions to get inspiration, to see friends to share ideas, so in that sense, I think it has affected me a little bit.
Where would you like to take your work in the future?
I am hopefully starting a post graduation in Manual Arts for Therapy in 2021 so I hope to take my work into teaching and therapy. I also want to explore it more as a weaving language and to be able to more and more truly understand the medium and to explore weaving as an expressive art.
Finally, for anyone thinking about attempting weaving for the first time, what would be your best advice?
My best advice would be to go for it without fear, to embrace with love all the mistakes that you are going to make during the process and to concentrate on the process rather than on the final object.