One of the most exciting aspects of owning a shop is buying product to stock the shelves with. The act can be likened to being on a treasure hunt in which you're not quite sure of what you'll find, but you know it'll be good. That's exactly how we felt when we found Britt Buntain of Picot Collective's beautifully intricate wall hangings. We are beyond excited to introduce her weavings to the Cambie shop and asked her a few questions about her process and pieces. Hear what she has to say below!
What inspired you to first begin weaving?
I first got into weaving from taking a workshop with Terry Bibbi. She lives on Salt Spring Island and came to Victoria to teach a small group of us to weave. I fell in LOVE with the repetitive and meditative process. There was also such a beautiful mystery of the outcome because as you work the weaving wraps around the front beam, so as it goes on, you forget what it looks like and when you take it off the loom its such a beautiful surprise as a whole. I took another workshop with her, and then I went over to Salt Spring Island to spend some more time with her, learning more about the philosophy, weaving, and the loom. Once I bought a loom, you couldn't get me away from it. It was the winter and I would come home every day, listen to music and weave in front of the fireplace. I now have my loom in my shop and its so fun to have my studio function as a store front for other artist's work as well. Its a very therapeutic practice for me, and selling them is such a wonderful bonus.
What materials and tools do you use?
Materials vary and my style has really evolved. I feel like I've really come home to my own style now, whereas before I was really experimenting and going a little wild with the colors and fibres and design. I use mainly cotton now, and a little wool, and i try to keep things quite simple. I tie every weaving to a copper bar and hang by leather cord.
I use a Saori Loom, which is a Japanese loom and weaving philosophy. Its built on a freestyle weaving practice, embracing the imperfections and allowing them to be perfectly imperfect. This style of weaving allows me to get into a creative flow and be quite forgiving with the outcome and the process. It's so natural to criticize ourselves in the work we do, and this teaches me to let go and embrace the work without attributing a judgment towards myself or the art.
How long do you typically spend on each piece?
"How long does that take?" is one of the most common questions I get asked about the weavings, and I never really have a clear answer. There are a few steps to the process, winding the warp takes anywhere from an hour to 2 hours, depending on the width I want it to be. Once I have all the threads ready to be put onto the loom, thats another process that takes about 2 hours. Once its time to weave, it can go quite quickly. If I am trying to recreate a pattern I have done before, then I go a little slower because I am really paying attention to the design and materials I am using. In general, the weavings can take anywhere from a couple hours to a few days
Do your surroundings influence your creations?
I wouldn't necessarily say that the surroundings in Victoria factor into my design or inspiration, its more a reflection of my emotional and mental state, or whatever music I am listening to. When I first bought my loom, I listened NON- STOP to the band Joseph, these three sisters from Portland who have the most beautiful harmonies. I am trying to create space and pattern in my life, so I think my weavings now end up representing that.
Do you have a favourite piece that you have created?
My favourite one to be making right now is really quite loose and fine, I'm leaving a lot of space in it so that the threads naturally create a draped effect.
Large White, $135. 14"x43" from top of leather strap to bottom of tassels. (SOLD OUT)
Small on right (with bead detailing), $85. 9.5"x33" from top of leather strap to bottom of tassels.
Medium on left (black and taupe), $145. 9.5"x36" from top of leather strap to bottom of tassels.
Extra Large Black, $240. 20"x55.5" from top of leather strap to bottom of tassels.
Double Copper, $95. 16.5"x33" from top of leather strap to bottom of tassels. (SOLD OUT)