Crosspolynations : The Back Story

Crosspolynations : The Back Story

On the 10th of May 2018 I left behind the contained and comfortable life which I had been crafting for myself in my beloved hometown Cape Town, heading east. I couldn’t quite articulate what what my intentions were, what I was seeking or hoping to learn, but it was pretty clear that this would be more than just a physical departure.

In 2014 I graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, South Africa with a Bachelors of Fine Art Degree. The majority of these four years was spent developing a studio practice which included research, conceptualisation, exploring a broad spectrum of artistic media and then contextualising ones own practice within the academic and social environment which drew from art history, philosophy, anthropology and discourse of the contemporary art world.

The majority of my professional background is in the my hometown’s thriving film industry. I have been engaged in several interesting indie projects which explore local narratives and have been immensely socially and spiritually fulfilling. the majority of this work however, has been in servicing international advertising campaigns for TV.

Through this work I have learnt and honed invaluable skills of research, conceptualization, interpreting briefs, sourcing, styling and set decoration as well as management of teams, logistics and budgets and an ability to work within high demand, high stress, tight deadline and often physically uncomfortable environments.

While at times this industry has found me edging burnout in bouts of existential quandary and despondency driven by the immensely capitalist nature of the industry, the freelance lifestyle has also afforded me an incredible lifestyle for a creative and several international explorations. Nurturing an itch which seems rather to become more stimulated than satiated by the scratching. On my return home after each of these trips I found myself the owner of a growing collection of textiles and brimming with an inspiration which fuels my personal artistic practice.

Slowly these sometimes disparate major threads of my life have been woven together through a growing obsession with all things textiles. My childhood was full of craft art of course textiles, but my exposure to a tradition of hand crafted cloth was something I discovered only through my travels as a young adult. On an extended trip to India of 2018 I quickly became obsessed with the massive wealth of textile traditions and the cultural richness imbued in them by the communities by whom they were created. Through my research and engagement with artisans it became clear to me that these textile traditions were not simply beautifully crafted materials but told rich stories of the culture and their shifting relationship to the environment, heritage and economic forces.

It became apparent to me that the value of cloth extends far beyond daily and ceremonial use but into the ideological, as a tool for interrogating capital, systems of power and sustainability of culture, agriculture and ecology. More than the metaphorical value that is often ascribed to it, I am interested in delving into the notion of cloth in its very structure as a means to interrogate systems of connection and to nurture greater alignment.

After a year of reflection, research and a slow navigation towards crafting a life aligned with my values and focus (and of course surrounded in piles of beautiful handcrafted textiles) I took up weaving classes and have developed an immersive obsession. Originally developed as a platform to collect and share my travels and research into a variety of handcrafted textile production traditions, Crosspolynations – much to my surprise and immense delight – is quickly transforming into a fully fledged professional weaving studio.

I took my first weaving lesson on a small frame loom in January 2020 and as the pandemic hit in March, lessons moved online. In July I secured my first floor loom and have been weaving ever since !

Thanks for joining me on the journey, I am so grateful for your support !

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