Today the spotlight goes to Vinca Brown of Loomiere Weaves… her work is so gorgeous, I can’t believe she’s only been weaving for four years! I just love it’s vibrancy.
She talks about splitting her time between the East End and Kent and weaving her way through lockdown.
Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I split my time between Hackney, East London and Dungeness on the Kent coast. I love Hackney because of the many cultures that it is influenced by, there’s always loads going on and you can get a Vietnamese takeaway whenever you want one. And I love Dungeness because of the space – the early evening light is amazing, as are the sunsets. You’re much more aware of nature and the seasons. In the summer it’s great to be on the beach and in the winter it’s quiet and has a really atmospheric quality to it. I work in different ways depending on where I am. In Hackney I like to weave while listening to podcasts, whereas in Dungeness I just listen to the birdsong.
What do you make/create?
I am a weaver and mainly make merino wool scarves as well as some framed woven pieces.
How would you describe your work?
My work is all about the meeting of the ancient craft of weaving, my contemporary interpretation of patterns and the exploration of colour. All my pieces are unique as I only make one of each colour combination and I really enjoy coming up with new ones.
What do you love about what you do?
Weaving is a mathematical process, especially when you are designing patterns and setting up the loom. When I first started it would really make my brain hurt and I like how you have to be incredibly focused at the start of the process – one wrongly threaded heddle can cause you a lot of stress! But then once you are weaving it becomes very repetitive and in turn, this feels more meditative and you can zone out.
What/who inspires you and why?
The contrast between the vibrant East End and the quiet, unique landscape of Dungeness are definitely strong influences in my work. It could be a piece of street art or the wildflowers, but for me it’s all about the colour. Also there are some really great British independent hand dyers creating some beautiful yarns with great tonal range and they are a big influence on me.
What’s your favourite piece and why?
My favourite piece is the original Graduated Scarf that I made as it was the first scarf that I designed from scratch, in a deep blue and pink. I still wear it pretty much every day three years on – it reminds me of what I have achieved.
How did you get into doing what you do?
About four years ago I went to a two-hour weaving session just for fun, really enjoyed it and decided to do a weekend course. I got the bug and started going to a class one day a week at the Handweavers Studio in London. A couple of weeks after starting there I bought a table loom for at home and I just got obsessed. I learnt so much from my teacher, Bobbie Kociejowski. Then the pandemic happened and I have basically woven my way through lockdown!
Where would you like to see your business in five years’ time?
I have just taken part in South East Open Studios – which was a 17-day event where customers can come and see you working in your studio, as well as buy from you. This was the first in-person event I’ve done and I’d like to do more of these. It was really great to meet the public and chat with them about my work. I’m hoping to do a couple of pop-up studios in Dungeness later in the year, and I’d also like to put some time aside to focus on creating some framed woven pieces. I’ve also just been selected to be part of the Find A Maker family, which I’m really excited about! But I’m still very new to weaving, so I hope in five years time I’ll have learnt a lot more. And I hope my work will reflect this.
Who is your dream customer – if you could pick anyone (dead or alive!)
It would be the best dream if Anni Albers walked into my studio so that we could chat weaving. And if she bought a scarf, then that would be the ultimate accolade!
To find out more about Vinca and her work, click here.