A Centuries-Old Decorative Tradition Inspires Michelle Robinson’s Vibrant Weavings
“Colour is my first passion,” says Sydney-based artist Michelle Robinson, who weaves textured fibers in vibrant hues into lively wall-hangings and accessories. The artist draws on more than twenty years of experience in the soft furnishings and upholstery industry, which instilled a deep appreciation for textiles. She began working with the medium as a way to further explore her love for decor and shares that the process “allows me to continuously play with all the colour combinations that wizz through my brain—and hopefully pass on some of the energy to others that colour can evoke.”
After weaving for four years, Robinson signed up for a masterclass in passementerie, the 16th and 17th century European decorative art—derived from passement, an archaic French word for “lace”—that centers on ornate trimmings like edging and tassels for clothing and furniture. Led by U.K.-based artist Elizabeth Ashdown, the class was an opportunity to learn traditional methods from a practitioner who is committed to keeping the craft alive. Robinson shares that she “was immediately besotted with the possibilities for this historic and beautiful technique and was reminded of all the beautiful braids I worked with in my decorating days.” Her pieces reference the ornamental plaits and trims of furniture and garments.
Robinson creates wall hangings and accessories like bookmarks on frame looms, employing traditional techniques to produce geometric works that have a contemporary feel. Recently, she has been exploring how to scale up the medium, examining how the different threads behave within the structure and retain a sense of nostalgia and playfulness. She explains:
I find myself constantly experimenting and learning new techniques, using primarily all-natural fibres. I also love adding repurposed items like knitting needles and re-spun fibres and finishing weavings with hand sewn details. It’s the details that draw you into an artwork that appeal to me.
Robinson often makes pieces available for sale on Etsy, and you can find more of her work on Instagram.
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The Blinged-Out Work Trucks of Japan Photographed by Todd Antony
For more than 40 years Japanese truck drivers have been piling on lights, patterned fabrics, and other over-the-top adornments to their work trucks, creating moving masterpieces covered in LEDs. This tradition of decorated trucks or “Dekotora” originated from a 1970s Japanese movie series inspired by Smokey and the Bandit titled Torakku Yaro or “Truck Rascals.” Drivers first began decorating their vehicles in the style of the comedy-action films in hopes of being cast in upcoming films. Eventually the extravagant trucks became a way of life for many workers, with decoration costs to produce such elaborate vehicles sometimes running over $100,000.
Although the art form is now seeing a decline after it reached its peak in the ’80s and ’90s, the Utamaro-Kai Association of Dekotora drivers has begun to help raise funds for various charity initiatives, including areas of the country that have been hit by the recent Tsunami. Photographer Todd Antony’s latest photographic series documents the men behind the association, taking a peek inside their cabs to view the personalization that goes into each piece of machinery. You can view more of Antony’s recent projects on his website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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Elkebana: Symmetrical Flower Wall Trophies Inspired by Japanese ‘Ikebana’ Flower Arrangements
If you enjoy the aesthetic appeal of animal antlers but hate the idea of taxidermy, Elkebana might be just the thing for your cabin walls. The wall-mounted system relies on symmetrical sets of flowers or tree branches and gets its name from ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. You can see more over on their website. (via Colossal Submissions)
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