Weaving is one of the oldest crafts in human history – even older than pottery! The first findings date back 32.000 years – though nowadays weaving is regarded as handicrafts and has only been mastered by some people. In our video series Tell me how you learn we ask our interview partners questions about how they learn and their most memorable learning experiences. For this purpose, we visited the danish artist and master weaver Martin Nannestad Jørgensen in August 2020, who told us more about his journey as an artist, learner and preserver of an almost lost tradition! Click here to watch the fascinating interview!
„I can only keep up my spirit, if there is a chance of failure!”
“Each time I make a sketch I try to avoid the perfect composition.”
Don´t go for perfection!
Jørgensen who was born in Sweden, learned his craft in workshops from masters around the world. In Kopenhagen, Guatemala and finally from Shizuko Oshiro in Japan. He got his first loom when he was four years old and since then continued tirelessly with his passion for the next sixty years! In order to stay motivated for decades and not give up easily he thinks it is very important not to be afraid of mistakes! On the contrary Jørgensen takes the risk as a motivator to create his unique works of art. His biggest learning, Perfection is not worthy because it is the little imperfections and mistakes that turn a project into something completely special.
The wild 70´s
Jørgensen counts himself lucky to have grown up in the vibrant 70´s. The revolutionary mood, joy in experimentation and creativity of that special time transformed the teenager. From the beginning he was fascinated with natural colors and textiles and the craft of weaving – but he didn´t dare to call himself an artist. Yet the exclusive art world seemed too far away and unreachable for him, who had grown up with middle-class parents in provincial Sweden. Somehow, he got in through the back door: by combining his two passions weaving and art!
Nature and coincidence
Coincidence plays a big part in his art: Jørgensens unique compositions seem to be taken from nature and are not the result of an analytical approach. First, he captures natures phenomena on his camera. Once those pictures pass through his mind and his computer the future artwork manifests itself slowly. It´s only then when it turns into a conscious composition, but the source lies in nature´s innocence and cannot be created by humankind, says Jørgensen.
“My biggest challenge: To make a tapestry that is worth making it and is not just a repetition of what I am good at. “
From a small idea to a big piece of weaving art
The sketching process can take 14 days or up to several months depending on the size of the art piece. He dyes his yarns by hand in all of the colors and shades he needs, which is an elaborate and time-consuming process. He then brings the original sketch to life at the weaving loom. It is important to say that the piece becomes a constant interpretation of the original sketch, while he is weaving. Suddenly it can happen that patterns appear which weren´t planned and show natures whim. If you ask him how he can stay at the loom for such a long period of time, his answer is quite simple: He never gets bored! His work occupies him so much that even on the weekends he can´t stop weaving. And that´s fine for him! Because he can´t take breaks from the weaving piece and therefore risk visual breaks in the pattern. He almost works at a feverish pace and knows that the end of all his efforts is close: Cutting off the weaving from the loom and seeing it in its whole size for the first time himself. It then feels like he can let go finally and prepare for the next project.
Jørgensens biggest challenge always is to create an art piece that is not just a repetition of what he has done before and stretch his skills every time a bit more.