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  • deamarianastasia

Meditative textiles

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Last week I was happy to spot my name in a Finnish Deko magazine. I was mentioned there as a textile artist worth checking out. Quite cool.

I graduated this spring from Aalto University as Master of Arts. In my thesis I worked with rya rugs and studied slow textiles. I define slow textiles as those, which ways of making are time consuming handwork, such as knitting, crocheting or making a rya rug. Each of these techniques are relatively slow and they demand time and patience from their maker. Common for each early mentioned techniques is also the process, which forces you to stop in your everyday life and take a deep breath.

My first rya rugs I designed for my BA thesis. I sketched the rug designs with watercolours, and my goal was to bring the sketches' flowy wet paint to the rugs. I made this by mixing lots of different yarns when knotting the rugs. This created colour areas, which seem to be fading to each other.

I loved making these! So when it was time to decide the topic for my MA thesis, I wanted to continue working with rya rugs. This time the process was a bit different. Instead of sketching with watercolours, I sketched with fabrics, which were chosen by people close to me. I gave an assignment for each person to choose a material, which somehow reminds them of me. By using these fabrics, I made textile sketches for the final rya rugs (pictures below). I have worked with this technique before and those wall pieces can be found here.

Sounds like a slow and long process, which could have been done a bit more efficiently, right? I was studying slow textiles and their process, so of course I had to slow down my own process too.

In the end I created two rya rugs, which I consider to be collective abstract portraits of myself.

Personally creating slow textiles provides a chance to stop for a while, reflect and just be there. It is said that constant rushing around prevents memories from developing, when the lived moments won't stick in our minds (Väre, 2008). Crafts can also be considered as sort of therapy, when they can distract you from negative thoughts and give a moment of peace in that way.

One of the most inspiring theories, about crafts positive effects to their makers, is that they can train the way we encounter problems in real life. In each of us there is creativity and making crafts can develop that. Crafts include often problem solving situations. For example, when you notice you have done wrong with your crocheting, you drop the loops while knitting, you run out of one specific yarn or you just loose the patterns or instructions. How to continue from there? You have lots of options and you start weighing them. Which one is the best, quickest, easiest... Problem solving while doing crafts can train the way you think and act, when encountering problems also in real life. (Vähälä, 2003)

Increased creativity might help you to see more possible solutions, when wondering what to do after dropping your keys in the elevator shaft in the middle of the nigh. For example.

I like to think, that while I have learned how to stay calm when dropping half of my knitting project's loops when reaching for the snacks, I have also learned some survival skills for the real world...


Dea Maria Anastasia Poljatschenko


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