The Art of Weaving

Loewe Weaves Project

「工藝、藝術、設計,或是創作,一直以來都是非常重要的。某程度上,這些東西提醒了我們還是一個人。因為最終地,這關乎你怎樣與物件互動。」Jonathan Anderson在談及最新的Loewe Weaves Project時說到。他談到手工藝是他最大興趣之一,亦是他為Loewe建立的形象個性中重要的一環。因此,他積極地尋找世界各地的藝術家合作,使傳統工藝在當代社會裡繼續發放著光芒。

Loewe Weaves Project旨在探索傳統的編織手藝,其中包括以編織作為裝飾或塑造結構。這系列的主角是西班牙傳統的利西亞烤栗子陶鍋(Galician Chestnut Roaster),這種手製黏土陶鍋由陶藝大師Antonio Pereira以人手製作,陶鍋上的孔眼除了有實際的功能,亦能融入不同的編織技巧。品牌找來不同的藝術家參與創作,運用實驗性編織手工裝飾為陶鍋帶來全新的面貌,由講求功能性的鍋,變成裝飾性、甚至是帶超現實感的花瓶。其中參與的藝術家有日本的Arko、中國的陳旻和西班牙的Laia Arqueros,他們創作的編織陶鍋更於紐約蘇富比「印象派與現代藝術拍賣」中展出及拍賣。

在這系列中,不少藝術家都以天然物料作為創作的原材料,如自稱為稻草藝術家的Arko,她把稻草以獨特的縫製方式結集起來,並運用古老的技術,把稻草重新地帶到現代生活之中,帶出鄉村與城市的連繫。另一位藝術家陳旻則被他故鄉杭州的緩慢節奏和寧靜氣氛所啟發,把竹𠝹開成為一個個圈,再把它們放在一起,像綻放的花一樣。一層層竹片模糊了新舊之間的界限,組成富現代美的設計。與其他的作品不同,西班牙的藝術家Laia Arqueros所創作的陶鍋是整個系列中最有趣的。眼睛、嘴巴和舌頭等圖像化的表現形式來自古典肖像畫,帶點拜占庭、希臘羅馬和日本式的懷舊風格,是完全反映她內心的創作。

除了展出的7個陶鍋,另外有84個陶鍋由西班牙工匠Idoia Cuesta、Belen Martinez及品牌的工匠一起發揮創意,把布條、皮繩、羊毛線、羽毛和稻草等物料穿在陶鍋的孔上,使質感粗樸、講求實用性的陶鍋瞬間變成抽象的器物。當中不少的物料是Loewe以往系列用剩的材料,工匠把本來無用的廢棄物賦予新生命,使作品變得充滿趣味性之餘,又加添了特別的意義,表達裝飾與功能互相影響的意念。

Jonathan Anderson想藉這系列來向大眾展示一些讓人驚喜的東西,而大部分的陶鍋都會放在店裡售賣,好讓工藝走到最前面,讓它們自己說話。他在設計今季配飾系列時,一脈相承陶鍋的裝飾意念,於經典的Balloon手袋、手提包和網袋上綴以品牌的剩餘物料,又以酒椰葉纖維編織了標誌性的大象手袋,擴闊了這種天然物料的功能。訪問中最讓人印象深刻的是他說:「藝術提出了一道道問題,而我認為我們提出的問題越多越好。」這些編織陶鍋既是答案,也是一道提問吧。

“Craft, art, design or creative output has never been more important. It’s something that reminds us that we are humans somehow. Because ultimately, it is about how you interact with an object.” In an interview on Loewe’s latest project, Loewe Weaves, Jonathan Anderson shares his thoughts on the importance of craft, art and design in the modern world. Craft, as one of Anderson’s main interests, plays an important role in shaping the identity of Loewe. The numerous collaborations of the brand with artisans of every stripe have weaved traditional craftsmanship into the contemporary world.

Loewe Weaves is a project that explores weaving as both a decorative and structure-building craft. A key element of the project is the Galician chestnut roasters handmade by the master potter Antonio Pereira. These clay pots have multiple holes punched through them, and these holes – originally to allow the chestnuts to roast – serve as the backdrop for artists from around the globe to reinterpret the pots with experimental weaving techniques. The once-functional pots now become decorative artisanal objects with a surrealist energy. The participating artists of the Loewe Weaves include artists Arko from Japan, Min Chen from China, and Laia Arqueroes from Spain, and their work will be exhibited and auctioned at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Sale in New York.

Most of the artists chose to weave with natural materials for the project. Arko, who defines herself as a straw artist, made use of rice straw and age-old techniques in weaving tradition into contemporary life, reforging the bond between countryside and modern living. Inspired by the slow pace and tranquil atmosphere of his hometown of Hangzhou, artist Min Chen reinterpreted the chestnut roaster with intricate, stratified bamboo veneers that resemble blossoming flowers. His contemporary design blurs the line between old and new. Last but not least, the whimsical design by Spanish artist Laia Arqueros is characterized by the very graphical eyes, lips, and tongues emerging from a hole-punched pot. This graphic approach noted from classical iconography generates a personal discourse with Byzantine, Greco-Roman, and Japanese reminiscences.

In addition to the seven pieces of work auctioned at Sotheby’s, 84 chestnut roasters were given to Spanish crafters Idoia Cuesta and Belen Martinez as well as Loewe’s own in-house ateliers so that they could experiment and embellish them with materials such as cloth strips, leather cords, wool threads, feathers, and straws — transforming them into an abstract artisanal object. Many of the materials used for embellishment are surplus from past Loewe collections. The reuse of materials not only gives these excess pieces a new life, it also brings more fun and meaning to the art piece itself, rewiring function through decoration.

It is Jonathan Anderson’s hope that the Loewe Weaves project can speak for itself and surprise the world with their arrival. Most of the chestnut roasters will be displayed and sold in select stores worldwide. Along the same vein, the accessories from Loewe’s current season also incorporated the elements of embellishment and distinctive decorative features; the signature Balloon bag, handbags, and mesh bags are all decorated with upcycled materials from previous seasons, while the iconic Elephant bag is featured in woven raffia. Anderson commented, “Art opens questions, and I think the more we question, the better.”  I suppose the Loewe chestnut roosters might well be a question with an answer.