Photo credit: Christine de León.
This is Carolina Melis, a London-based artist whose current solo show ‘BLOOM’ is being exhibited at the Italian Cultural Institute. It features a collection of tapestries, illustration and film that is rooted in a design collaboration between Carolina and traditional weavers from a small village in her native Sardinia. I love the idea that Carolina has reacquainted herself with her Sardinian heritage through her art. It’s also quite interesting that her artistic endeavours help to keep the traditional skills alive by using a contemporary, collaborative approach.
Carolina agreed to meet me the day after the private view to chat about the closed loop system of artisan weaving which inspires her current show. The wool is sourced, spun and woven in the local village. “These weavers have been doing this for about 50 years,” she tells me and goes on to explain how the the artisan skills are fast disappearing despite some commercial interest “sometimes you have designers who try to commission a tapestry without really knowing the limits of the materials and what is possible with a loom and it just doesn’t work”.
BLOOM found a springboard in the form of a dance film which Carolina devised entitled La Fiamme di Nule. Commissioned by the Sardinian Institute of Ethnography, it was an exploration of traditional weaving using choreography, dance and film animation. After finishing La Fiamme di Nule, Carolina spent more time with the weavers to learn exactly what tools she had to work with in order to create the tapestries she wanted: the dyes, the textures and what graphical limits presented themselves within a hand loom.
Carolina’s designs are steeped in her background and training as a dancer and choreographer, these influences come alive through the graphics in the textiles themselves. You can see BLOOM until Saturday, December 31, 2011 at the Italian Cultural Institute which is located at 39 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8NX. Opening times: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat-Sun 10am-4pm