Reveal: Aquagalactic by Aeva Handmade!

As I mentioned before, I submitted a hand woven wrap into the Australia and New Zealand Weaving Competition. The entries are submitted anonymously, so I can now finally reveal my piece!

NOTE: It is currently for sale via auction HERE till Saturday, 21st September, at 5pm AEST / 3pm MYT!

AQUAGALACTIC by Aeva Handmade

- The Details -
Length: 3.44 meters
Warp Fibre: 50% pineapple bast, 50% cotton - hand-dyed by weaver
Weft Fibre: Silk noil - hand-dyed by weaver
Supplementary Warp Fibres: Recycled, hand-spun sari silk yarn (commercially sourced)
Fringe: 12cm twisted fringe on both ends
Weave: Pointed twill variation

-Auction Details -
Aquagalactic is being sold via auction at the High End Baby Wearing FSOT Australia and NZ Facebook Group. You can find the auction HERE! Please go and bid at that link if you'd like to own this competition Aquagalactic wrap!

There is about 4 meters of this warp left on my loom, and I’m excited to start weaving on it soon. It will have charcoal Tencel weft and will be coming up for draw in my chatter group - ForAeva After -by the end of October.

- The Inspiration -
Growing up, I kept hearing that we know more about outer space than we do our oceans. This turned out to be complete rubbish. BUT I was immediately reminded of this when I saw this image by Coral Morphologic of a Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi coral (who I will call Jeff, because I never remember how to pronounce Geoff), and happens to mostly be found in the oceans of the Indo-Pacific region, which is where I’m from!

The vibrant colours look like they’d be more at home in a sci-fi movie than underwater. Their texture - these coral are also called open brain corals - reminds me of the Hollywood depictions of intergalactic creatures. And sadly, corals just like Jeff here will one day be as hard to find as extraterrestrial beings. Much like a lot of beautiful underwater creatures, the Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi coral is marked as “near-threatened”, mostly due to habitat loss and over-harvesting for the aquarium trade.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise - human beings have an insatiable need to collect beautiful things, regardless of the consequences. But in making this piece, I hope to remind us that sometimes beautiful things need to stay where they belong, where their beauty shines the most - in this case, the deep, dark ocean.

Although I still think they wouldn’t look out of place in outer space.

- The Process -
I think that finding inspiration was perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming part of the entire process! I changed my mind several times, mostly because the images didn’t resonate with me, or I just didn’t feel inspired by the concept I had chosen.

Strangely enough, I came upon this photo of coral while I was casually perusing Instagram! I wasn’t even looking for it, but it found me, and made me stop scrolling. I saved it and screen-shotted it, and kept looking at it over and over for days. I find the image so breathtaking and otherworldly and, well, inspirational!

Dyeing the warp yarn was quite the adventure. I had never dyed with so many colours before, and I spent a good deal of time deciding on which colours to use. While some colours are obvious, I wanted to make sure that the colours had depth to them, which is why I ended up using a dozen different colours! This is the most amount of colours that I’ve worked with for a piece, and it was really exciting to see them all coming together.

Aquagalactic has a pineapple-cotton warp that was dyed with commercial dye in a dozen different colours, including lime green, turquoise, teal, violet, raspberry, and several shades of blue. The entire warp was dyed in undone chains. For the weft, the silk noil was dyed cerulean blue, with black speckling throughout. It was dyed in skeins.

Searching for the right weave took a while as well, but I’m glad that I took the time to find the right draft for Aquagalactic. The pointed twill variation emphasises the vertical lines of the warp, which in turn emphasises the dye work throughout the piece. I also included supplementary warp threads for this same reason, and I am happy that these design elements really worked well together.

All fibres used in Aquagalactic are sustainably sourced. The pineapple bast in the warp yarn is made using the the leaves of the pineapple plant. The weft yarn is silk noil, which is made of the short fibre left over from spinning silk. The supplementary warp threads are spun from leftover threads in the making of sari fabric. All these fibres are leftover or waste products that would have been otherwise disposed of, and might have possibly ended up in the ocean where Jeff and his friends live.

It was really important to me that the fibres I chose would gel with the spirit of the competition. As with a lot of other weavers’ entries, the theme ended up being more closely related to the destruction that is wrecking the ocean and all those Under The Sea, and I felt called to make decisions that won’t contribute to the harm that the human race has already caused to our precious oceans.

Aquagalactic was a joy to work on, and I’m so glad it’s in good company with all the other amazing pieces of wearable art produced by my fellow weavers from Down Under! We’ve got incredible talent here, and this competition has been such an important platform to showcase that!

- Wrap qualities -
Aquagalactic is medium thick, and has a blankety drape. It is cushy and supportive, with more grip than glide. There is a slight recoil, but wrap jobs stay put thanks to the grip. Excellent for babies and toddlers, but might be too overwhelming for squish bubbas.

- Inspiration Photo Credit -
Coral Morphologic - @coralmorphologic on Instagram

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