Meet the Artist
About This Artist
Grace Engel is a handweaver and multi-disciplinary artist based in Asheville, NC. She is a 2021 graduate of the Haywood Community College’s Professional Craft program in Fiber, where she began exploring production methods in weaving. She weaves large, cocoon-like Wrap Scarves, which she developed as part of her graduation project. These embody some of her favorite qualities about weaving: pleasing marriages of color, simple design, and a soft, warm hand to the fabric.
Q&A With This Artist
A: Each Wrap Scarf begins with the selection of the colorway. Then, using a CompuDobby (a partially-computerized loom), I design the pattern and use the program to assist my weaving. Once several scarves have been woven, they are carefully removed from my loom, cut to size and hemmed, and washed. The washing process pulls the wool fibers in tighter in a process called fulling, which results in a bouncy, full texture.
A: I have had a lifelong love affair with textiles. Working with cloth, thread, and yarn is an inherited passion, stemming from generations of embroiderers, weavers, quilters, and clothing-makers. I have found the call to work with fiber irresistible all my life and at any given time, I am working on multiple textile projects at once.
A: Sometimes, it takes folks a moment to notice that the Wrap Scarves I make have two separate patterns woven through them. While a color pattern dominates the eye at first glance, there is a structural pattern with a variety of designs present in the cloth underneath. The interplay of the two patterns work together to create very unique pieces.
A: When I am testing out colorways for my work, I often wait to see if two colors "sing" next to one another. Every time I introduce a new color and try it in relation to others, there is a moment when either the combination resonates or doesn't. It's incredibly surprising and often unexpected, but I have learned to simply follow my gut and let materials lead the way.
A: It's hard to pinpoint a specific individual who has shaped my artistic practice but one person I think of very often as I make my work is my paternal grandmother. Although not a weaver herself, she was an avid quilter and knitter. Beyond her textile work, she was an incredibly fun, loving person full of encouragement for my growing love of all things fiber. I frequently wish I could share my work with her now.
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