The gardener’s year (2012)
360 x 170 cms
woven tapestry in wool
Petra Kolinova has been weaving tapestries from her home studio in Prague for almost three decades. Her fantastic tapestries focus on the world around her which she portrays with incredible attention to detail, gorgeous colours and a sense of fun.
What is your background in textiles?
I was inspired to study at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague after visiting the permanent tapestry exhibition in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Jindřichův Hradec, mainly the tapestries of Bohdan Mrázek. Before studying, I graduated from the Gobelin Restoration Workshops in Prague, where I became more familiar with textile weaving and textile restoration. After that, I studied for six years at the College of Arts and Crafts in the field of textile art.
Why do you like tapestry weaving?
I like tapestry because its combines traditional craft with an individual creative approach. The creation itself is an adventure, often with an unexpected result. I enjoy working with colours, decorations and the constant discovery of how to transport my imagination into the tapestry.
How do you describe your work?
My work is based on my personality, I look for inspiration in everyday life, in things that surround me. I work mainly with gobelin technique – in that I’m a conservative craftswoman, but I do adapt it to my ideas. I enjoy humour, variety of colour and subtle exaggeration.
How do you work?
The foundation of my tapestries is always a painting. I draw on paper on a small scale. If I decide to weave a tapestry based on the painting, I would draw a larger sketch on to cardboard. I’m constantly thinking about the colours and the details in the middle of the process of weaving.
How long can a tapestry take to weave?
The duration of work depends on a size of tapestry and also on how much time I have for work. I make a lot of miniatures, with them the time span is somewhere between a week and a month. With bigger tapestries it is around six months to one year.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I feel proud when I see people having fun looking at my stuff and perhaps when they want to buy one of my miniatures for decorating their home. I am also pleased that I can pass on my knowledge to beginners and enthusiasts at my weaving courses.
What advice can you give to aspiring textile artists?
Have your own creative perspective and don’t be afraid of various crafts, ie. to get your hands dirty. You can learn by yourself by trying to just weave something…and remember that everything takes its time. If the end result isn’t what you expected it to be don’t be depressed, when you cut off the gobelin from the frame a lot of it can be saved. Also have a good masseur and physiotherapist for your back pain. After two hours of weaving I recommend taking a break and exercise a little bit.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I would like to state my admiration to everyone who carries on doing this old and remarkable craft, everyone who is keeping it alive in todays technical age. I’d also like to encourage you to continue to do so.
I also do courses for all skill levels of artists interested in tapestry textile art. Even though English is not my first language, with a little help of todays technologies, I’m able to give a private lesson via Skype/FaceTime.