I’m so excited for today’s Weaver Interview! I’ve been a long time admirer of Lisa Pate’s work. She is super creative and I always feel inspired by her work. Not only does Lisa weave, but she also paints, art journals, spins and dyes yarn, and teaches art to little artists (I wish I could enroll my kids in her class). Lisa has a great sense of texture, composition, and color and she isn’t afraid to weave big. Ok so let’s get to know Lisa…
How did you first come across weaving?
Probably in Kindergarten, though with paper not fibres. I vividly remember the teacher explaining “over and under” and we created paper works using the same techniques (though in simple form) which I still use everyday. More recently started to notice woven work when wall hangings started popping up from various makers on my social media feeds around two years ago, I did an initial beginners weaving workshop with Kel from Chief and Kewpie and I was off and racing.
Morning. I really love the early morning, cup of coffee, sun still rising, quiet potter in my creative space. The stillness allows me to focus, think, dream up ideas without distraction.
Do you have a creative ritual?
Depending on the time of day. Mornings are for coffee. Late afternoons for champagne. If I am working on a personal creative piece or in my art journal I generally like it quiet. I am a classic over thinker, I like to ponder while I work. Commission work tends to be different, especially if it is a big piece or a have a lot of fibre to process I might pop on a movie or some music in the background, to keep me working away without being distracted by ideas that pop up.
I work intuitively, very little planning happens so I guess that makes me spontaneous. My work area becomes quite chaotic when I am in the middle of a project. I happily snip fibres and let them fall to the floor, my table becomes a hot mess of wools and skeins. My studio is now set up so that I can clear and clean up very easily, and most mornings some time is spent clearing the space, I find a clear space lends itself to greater productivity.
What is your process for coming up with new ideas? Do you start with materials or an idea first?
Colour. Always colour. I might have a size of work in mind or perhaps a technique that I need to explore, but colour is always the start. Usually I grab my art journal and a handful of pencils and some paints and just start playing. Scribbling and splattering paint is such a happy joyful process and it grounds me ready to create.
Natural materials such as wool, cotton, linen, silk are my go to materials.
How is making things important in your life? What does being a maker mean to you?
I was born a creative, and come from a family where creativity was celebrated and encouraged. There is no time in my memory when I wasn’t making something. Stitching, sewing, painting, drawing, planning, designing are all things that my life is built around. Creating is my peace, it’s where I feel grounded and my true self.
My first large scale weave which affectionately came to be known as “beastie”. She was such an epic make from start to finish. I had to work around the technicalities of weaving so large, build my loom, work out how to keep the structure of the weave strong from the back while allowing the texture and quite crazy way I wove her to shine through. I worked just as much on the back of the piece as the front. She was an epic create from start to finish.
What advice do you have for those wanting to find their own style?
Don’t restrict yourself, and create what YOU love. It’s really easy when starting out in any art medium to want to replicate your fave artist, and there is nothing wrong with gleaning a little of their style, it’s just important to be mindful that allowing yourself to be brave and try your own ideas out will be beneficial to you long term. Also a little dabbling in alternate mediums and workshops is possibly the most fabulous way to find your own creative style, take away the “weaving” and try something different. It really sounds like the wrong way around, but if you delve into some creativity for fun in a different medium (ceramics, jewelry, sewing, painting) a whole new level of ideas will surface.
Are you a eat in or take out person?
Eat in. LOVE being at home, cooking and prepping great food while the tunes are playing and the wine is pouring.
If you could pick your last meal what would it be?
Roast Lamb, baked potatoes and smothered in gravy, and mint sauce over the lot. I am thinking that is a very Aussie answer!
What is your favorite color and why?
Do I have to choose??? Red. Such a bold colour. Red is strong, it has huge presence and a big personality. It doesn’t feature in my work at all, but I do have a few little pops of it in my home.
Are you a book or movie person? And what is a good one you’d recommend?
Books, I am an avid reader and read a couple a week. Recent faves have been “the light between oceans”, “the girl from the train”, “the nightingale” and “the winter garden
Do you prefer relaxing beach vacations or on the move sight-seeing vacations?
I am so spoilt to have grown up in Australia within short distances to the beach and lakes, and although I do love a good beach holiday my preference would be for exploring art galleries, museums and beautiful cities.
I love Lisa’s advice to take a step away from weaving to help find your own style. Trying other mediums of art helps you get past what you might expect weaving to be and opens your mind to a more creative approach.
Did any part of Lisa’s interview or her art really resonate with you? Is there a medium other then weaving that you go to for inspiration?
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