May  2018

StArt @ The Wolfshack

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‘Mind to Hand’ is a collection of three different series’ of miniature textiles by Namibian fibre artist Lynette Diergaardt. The ‘Experimental Weaving Collection’, the ‘Recycled Weaving Collection’, and the ‘Adinkra Weaving Collection’ are all results of the artist’s exploration of different weaving techniques.  In the ‘Experimental’ collection, Diergaardt has put to test “the idea that there is a direct link between the mind and the hand”. Attempting to work spontaneously through her artistic process, this series of hand-weavings showcases the results of an internal reflection by the artist about her own thought process. Prioritising the mechanical process of weaving by hand over more cerebral pre-planning, these artworks are formed out of lines and gestures made “in the moment”.

The ‘Recycled Weaving Collection’ is made up of miniature textiles created using old, recycled materials which formerly cluttered the artist’s home. Working with these materials, the artist is able to reinvent and give new life to items that clutter up drawers and storage space. The artist writes that these weavings are her “contribution to cleaning up our Namibian environment by not throwing materials away, which contribute to landfills, but instead to turn what would normally be considered waste into something beautiful that can speak for the environment.” 

The ‘Andikra’ series is inspired by the Adinkra symbols used by the Asante people from Ghana. Adinkra means ‘goodbye’ or ‘farewell’ in Twi. Diergaardt has drawn on this pictorial language to pay tribute to ten individuals who have left a lasting impact in her life. These artworks are made with a Digital Dobby Loom, which is a computerised loom that allows the weaver to design and create digital images which are woven into a tapestry. Diergaardt explains, “each weaving is a testament of my gratitude, love and respect to each individual for the wisdom, love, guidance, leadership, etc. that they have imparted to me”.

The physical nature of the weaving process imbues the artworks with the artist’s sensibilities. The manipulation of wool and other materials in a repetitive, meditative process provides a bridge between the artist and viewer. Perhaps through this process we are able to visually explore Diergaardt’s thought processes. This process reveals not only the character of the artist but also a new character, that of the artworks themselves. The ‘Recycled’ weavings grapple with the procedure of repurposing materials which themselves have their own existing connotations, histories and baggage. Rather than transforming the character of the objects used in these weavings, Diergaardt has created artworks which hold these objects together, offering them a new context and liberating them from their status as waste. No item is broken down or used in a way that changes it too much, highlighting the simultaneously sentimental and ubiquitous nature of these items. 

We are given insight into Diergaardt’s exploration of her own relationship with spontaneity in her creative process through the ‘Experimental’ collection. Choosing only the colour of the wool before she starts this hand-weaving technique on a small, handmade loom, the artist allows the nature of the wool and quick decisions to dictate the pattern that emerges. Conversely, the ‘Andikra’ series is created using a much more calculated process, using a Digital Dobby Loom. A digitally manipulated image is created in software like Adobe Photoshop, which is then transferred into a weaving by this technology. In terms of content, this series provides us with understanding of personal relationships held by the artist. 

Though stemming from a private plane, these weavings are relatable as they play to experiences familiar to many of self-reflexiveness and honouring important bonds. Diergaardt reaches to our understandings of interconnectedness, as her wool and thread weave and loop to create unique linkages, patterns and combinations. 

Lynette Diergaardt received her Bachelors of Art from the University of Namibia and her Masters in Textiles as a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. Diergaardt currently works as a lecturer at the University of Namibia in Arts Education. Diergaardt’s dedication to the technologies of textile production has led her to experiment with hand-weaving in terms of its technical as well as conceptual processes.