We’re excited to share with you our first ever weaving and textile interview! We have conducted this interview with Studio Bodhi who are a woven design studio based in Bristol. They have a very colourful and visually beautiful Instagram… go and give them a follow! 😉 @studio.bodhi
Let’s get to know Studio Bodhi…
What was your route to becoming an artist and what inspired you to start weaving?
We both had an interest in art and textiles throughout education, which led us to the Textiles with Business studies course at Brighton University where we met. We both chose to specialise in weave on the course and that’s where we learnt the craft. The course includes a placement year which is where we both worked in the industry and learnt a lot about the day to day running’s of a textile business.
What inspired you to start up studio Bodhi?
After we both graduated from university we moved back to our hometown Bristol. The jobs available in the textile industry were few and far between especially in Bristol, so we decided to look for an affordable studio space where we could both keep designing. We are both aware of the issues the textile industry faces and we felt the need to have sustainable textiles, so we explored available funding and government grants and began to write a business plan for Studio Bodhi.
Tell me a little bit about your design process.
We start our design process by looking in to future trends alongside collecting our own visual research and making regular visits to art and design exhibitions to inspire us. From that we create mixed media mood boards and colour concepts which help us choose sustainable yarns. All designs are then woven by hand giving us complete control over the design process.
Do you have a preferred material that you like to use?
The preferred materials that we like to use are sustainable, ethical or recycled. For example we use recycled silk selvedge’s from mill waste, organic cotton and recycled denim, locally sourced wool and peace silk which is an ethical way to harvest silk.
What was the first piece you created?
When we first started studio Bodhi we were starting from scratch, we had a tradeshow booked which we aimed to design a collection of about 100/150 designs for. Our first women’s wear collection was for A/W18/19, it was a real test for us to see which weights and styles sold best.
Tell me abit about the work and the services you offer
At Studio Bodhi our main line of work is designing trend-led collections (woven designs) for fashion and interior markets, we sell these collections at tradeshows, by appointment and through agents. Another service we offer is design support which is when we collate trend and design research for companies to use as inspiration for their own collection or products. We also do commission work, so we will design something specific for a client, this can range from fabric by the meter to helping a client turn a concept in to a mill ready woven design.
What’s your favourite piece you have created and why?
We don’t usually have favourite pieces but we worked on something different recently which was two large scale wall hangings. These were woven in a Memphis style using a clash of patterns and colours. (You can see their creation below)
What weaving and textile artists inspire you?
Anni Albers and Sheila hicks are both inspirational artists for us. Anni Albers shows a great technical ability in woven design and we love using a lot of colour in our designs so artists like Sheila hicks are really inspiring.
What’s your studio set up like? How many Harris looms do you have?
We have two 16 shaft Harris looms at the moment and hope to add more! We also have a George wood dobby loom for lengths of fabric. We would like to add two electric arm looms for the studio and potentially in the future a Jacquard loom.
Do you give talks, run workshops or classes? If so where can readers find more information about these?
At the moment, we are not running any workshops, this is something we would love to do and plan for it once we have more equipment. We are potentially doing a talk in the latter half of the year for West of England Design Forum.
What advice would you give to an aspiring textile artist?
I believe the most helpful advice would be to always keep an eye out for available funding and government grants, they really helped us kick start our business. Have patience as building a successful client list takes a very long time! Design with purpose and always be aware of the issues that the textile industry face.
How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Our design process has become more structured and the way we work together has become more fluid. When we started Studio Bodhi we both had very different styles which was hard sometimes to merge into one collection. Over the past couple of years, we have developed Studio Bodhi’s own style. Right now, we make sure all of our warp yarns are sustainable materials, we see our work evolving further through the materials we use, so we rely on suppliers to bring out more sustainable yarns. As this progresses we hope our designs will be made from 100% sustainable material.
How would you describe your work?
Our style is often playful and graphic using a mixture of soft wools, fine silks and fancy textured yarns. We update traditional structures using innovative techniques with bold colourways and like to focus on finishing methods such as cut floats or brushed mohair to create hand rendered collections of personal designs.
You can learn more about Studio Bodhi and their work at https://www.studiobodhi.com/our-story
If you liked this interview with Studio Bodhi and want to see more weaving and textile interviews please let us know in the comments below!