When and what made you throw your love and professional life onto textiles?
I grew up in a small seaside town on the Danish island of Funen. As a little girl, I had a small loom, which I used to make gifts for my family. At the age of 19, I went to Provence to learn from the French weaver Jacqueline de la Baume Dürrbach, who worked with Picasso to create tapestries based on some of his paintings. She was a powerful and inspiring woman. There I learned not only weaving but also about life as an artist.
You seem to have a deep relation to nature through the materials you use. What role does nature play in your work?
Nature is one of my primary sources of inspiration. It is always in motion, ever-evolving, and changing. I love observing the moods that the moment hands us. The reeds in the water, swaying gently with every little puff of wind, taking on a new character as they reflect the light, their motion transforming the surface of the water and bringing up new shadows. Or the sea waves, continually reflecting the light when they wash eternally upon the pebbled shore.
Nature is alive, in an inspiring and dynamic interplay of tangible physical form. The dance of the sunlight, its immaterial and fleeting nature constantly reshaping structure. I try to capture the moment in a mood that I take home and seek to recreate in my textiles. Not as a fixed form but rather as a reflection of light and a moment in time. I aim to create fabrics that take some time to decode—inspired by nature and the precious moment with its dance of light and impressions that pique our senses.
To an outsider, a loom looks like an extraordinarily complex and challenging tool. How long does it take to master the loom?
There is an appealing sense of achievement in constructing and creating an object from scratch. Weaving is a craft of construction, and it takes years to master it. Picasso once said, “It takes ten years to learn, it takes ten years to forget, first then you can start creating.”
Anyone who masters a craft holds tacit knowledge that is conveyed through one’s hands and by example. Many of the old skills are disappearing today, and that, I think, makes us poorer. Craft-based objects take time to make, which leaves room for reflection, and in turn, gives us a deeper understanding of and respect for how the objects we live with are made.
Your collection for Frameworks Gallery is a collaboration with photographer Jeff Hargrove. When and how did you meet Jeff?
Jeff and I use to say that we met through a tea towel. Right after I had launched my machine-woven collection “Textile No. by Karin Carlander” in 2014, Jeff Hargrove, who lives in Paris, visited Louisiana Museum north of Copenhagen. Louisiana Museum shop was my first customer, and he bought a tea towel there. Coming back home to Paris, Jeff saw at my website that I was also selling bath towels and contacted me.
We started up an email conversation and realized that we share ideas, aesthetics, and philosophy about life and art, and visits to Paris and Copenhagen followed. And so, a profound friendship and a close working relation began.
What does it mean for an artist when another person captures your work?
It is a sensitive process to disclose the interpretation of your work to someone else. An artist often communicates through the creation and not through words. The photographer and the artist must have an inner understanding of expression, colours, light, and form. You often work for days without talking much, and it is a process of shared knowledge and concentration to make both media merge into one coherent expression.
Images by Maya Matsuura©