152 x 156 cms
digital jacquard weave in wool
Born in Lithuania and now based in Norway, Krstina D. Aas works with a variety of textile techniques including embroidery, installations and collage. Digital jacquard weave is her main discipline, where she explores ‘themes that relate to the understanding of reality and surroundings’ and translates her findings onto different surfaces.
Can you tell us about your background in textiles?
I have been working with textiles since I was a child. My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was 7 years old. At the age of 13 I was designing and knitting my own sweaters. My mom let me use her old sewing machine and I was allowed redesign her old clothes.
My academic education is from Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway. I got my bachelor’s in textiles in 2009 and master’s in fine arts in 2011.
How do you describe your work?
I work with ideas, images on paper, sometimes with photos or mixed media. Later I use specialised computer software and in the end I have to translate it to a very simple binary file, which a digital loom can understand. Most of the process is trial and error: testing yarns, colours, density and textures. Sometimes it can take months until I am happy with the result and only then I am ready to weave the final piece.
I really like exploring themes that relate to our understanding of reality and surroundings and translating them on to different surfaces. Different textures, techniques and yarns have different impact on how people perceive the art piece. Convening those abstract layers of reality with physical layers of fabrics can be very satisfying.
What is it about digital jacquard weave that appeals to you?
I like the connection between old handcraft and new technology. You have to understand the basics of weaving. There are lots of mathematics in the way you construct a woven surface. There is warp and weft and many possibilities to combine them. Working with digital jacquard weave might seem easier at first glance, but don’t be misled. On one hand I am interested in the result, but on the other the process is equally important to me. New ways of constructing a surface is a big motivation in my work.
Where do you work?
I work everywhere it is more of a mental working space, I can be at the beach or at my desk or discussing subjects with my friends and suddenly get ideas, or start constructing textiles in my head. Then you have to approach the materials and I was doing that at my home for the last two years but it was really overwhelming and impractical to have everything at home, so I’ve moved all the textiles to another working space. When I am happy with it, I weave it at the mill where I work, in Innvik. I use a digital loom there when it is not used for production purposes.
Can you describe how you create a piece?
It can start with an impulse or a textile piece or photography… Many of my works have started in textiles themselves, or in construction of textiles. For example my work “Broken” was initiated after I found a textile piece from another weaving mill in Norway, that was closed years ago. It was a loosely woven woollen fabric that was no longer produced. The chain of production was broken. But at the same time textile production continues. It is alive. I am a part of it. The woven image you see is of the broken textile surface, but at the same time it is intact. It depends on what you want to see, how you understand and perceive things. It is always two sides of the same thing.
It’s a hard question to answer but how long does a piece take to make?
Whenever I am asked about how long it takes to create a piece, I answer: 38 years. It is the same as my age. Every piece is made from my personal experience. I couldn’t make this peace one year ago. It takes 20 minutes to weave one meter of fabric on a digital loom. But sometimes it takes three years of experiments to come to conclusion that this is the right binding and yarn and density and the composition. It can take up to three years to go from an idea to a stage when it is finished. Sometimes it can just take three weeks… it depends.
You also work as a textile designer at Innvik AS, what does this involve?
Innvik AS is a weaving mill in western Norway. It is a 125 years old factory that produces high quality upholstery fabrics made of wool. Innvik AS is one of suppliers for Danish Textile Company Kvadrat. I am a product designer there. It is a bit different from how I work with my woven tapestries, but I often get inspiration from my artistic work and vice versa. Sometimes I discover bindings or the way of construction of fabric that allows me to take my artistic work further and sometimes I take a tiny piece from my artistic discoveries and translate it to upholstery fabrics.
Do you have any advice for aspiring textile artists?
While studying I found many things exciting and interesting and I think it is the right way: just trying different things, not committing to some single technique or idea. Not being afraid of not having a voice. Be free, experiment. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to make bad art. Everything is a journey and a learning process. I think you have to make a lot of mistakes until you make something right. Look up to the people whose work you admire. Sometimes you have to let things go. Take a break. Let some musician or a writer or a dancer to look at your work, to make observations and make remarks. Listen, make conclusions and go back to you work. You will get fresh ideas.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I work a lot on my own, but I admire work of some of my colleagues as well. This September (2016) I will have a big exhibition in Hamar, Norway, together with a wonderful textile artist Karina Nøkleby Presttun. We have been good friends and colleagues since we studied in Bergen. I am looking forward to creating some work together. I am also taking part at World of Threads festival in Canada this year. This gives me a great opportunity to meet new inspiring people and to learn more about their work.