Maker Project - Thinking through practice

  Research Assistant / Maker

Ali Holloway

Weaver + Textile Artist

‘‘Walking lends
itself to the act
of weaving,
the rhythmic
movement of
putting one foot in
front of the other
corresponds to the
rhythmic traverses
of the shuttle
going back and

I studied weaving at Central Saint Martins, graduated in 2000 and set up a studio in Hackney where I’ve been weaving ever since. I have exhibited in numerous galleries and craft fairs, most recently Contemporary Applied Arts, Craft Central in Clerkenwell, 44AD ArtSpace, Bath, Forty Hall, The House Mill Gallery, Bow, One Church Street Gallery and Collect 2019.

I also run weaving classes from my studio and have taught weaving in schools. Much of my work starts with a walk and an exploration of the layers of human experience that have been imprinted over time on a particular landscape. These walks along the River Lea, out along the Thames estuary and urban walks through London all are intended to discover and uncover the traces left behind by the past and to respond in material form. Woven pieces are then made to recall the colours, shapes, textures, moods and the rhythm of the journey. Incorporating objects found on these walks is part of these investigations.

Walking lends itself to the act of weaving, the rhythmic movement of putting one foot in front of the other corresponds to the rhythmic traverses of the shuttle going back and forth. In this mechanical act the progress of a thread can be followed as it travels across the warp on the loom, back and forth, under and over, slowly revealing a bigger picture. And so the in the making of cloth the physical act of walking can be made material. I attempt to explore the idea that a piece of cloth like a journey and a story has a beginning, middle and end and in its creation woven cloth can be embedded with this notion of narrative.

I have engaged in several projects that have involved an element of a journey as their theme,I have exhibited at Forty Hall, a 17th century house in Enfield, a series of commissioned pieces made after several months of walks round the estate, taking photographs, drawing and writing a blog, the result of this is work which invokes the ancient trees found in the parkland, trees that have born mute witness to the history of the people who have made Forty Hall their home, the passage of time physically marked in the yearly increasing rings on their trunks.

I exhibited a series of weaving at Three Mills in Bow made after walking the entire length of the River Lea from where it starts just outside Luton to where it flows into the Thames at Limehouse. This river walk was a discovery of forgotten corners and an attempt to find mystery in the terrain of the familiar.

I am currently walking round all the remaining patches of common land left in Hackney, remnants of a time before enclosure when most of London was still rural. Making audio recordings as I walk I intend to translate the sound wave form into weave pattern and so the physical act of walking will be embedded in the very fabric.

instagram: @alihollowayweaver

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