In the Philippines, weaving is deeply ingrained in the culture of various indigenous communities. It's like a sacred family heirloom passed on from generation to generation. This tradition is such a significant aspect of our identity that some social enterprises in the country have vowed to help preserve traditional Philippine handloom weaving (my partner brand Habi Batangan is one of them!). That said, I’ve always revered weaving as the premier art form simply because of how valuable it is to my culture.
I appreciate how social media has made weaving more accessible and personal to a lot of people. Instagram has become a great platform to showcase the work of professional textile designers, fiber artists and even hobbyists, and I'm pretty sure you are following a bunch of them already. As for me, I’ve narrowed my favorites list down to weavers whose work instantly resonated with me, whether it’s because of the sustainability of the materials they use or the visual appeal of their work to my own aesthetic preferences.
WEAVER: Mary Ballard
LOCATION: Royal Oak, Michigan
BACKGROUND: Mary studied Fine Art and has had experience working in the fashion industry and an advertising agency. Goldfinch Woven was born out of her constant love for weaving which she has always been fond of since she was a child.
INSPIRATION: Mary’s work is greatly inspired by Japanese Saori weaving, which focuses on expressing oneself freely through the art of weaving. No rules, no mistakes — just pure expression!
WHY I LOVE HER WORK: As someone who cares about the environment, it's exciting to know that Mary utilizes sustainable materials like recycled silk and repurposed cotton to create undeniably unique, wearable art pieces. Her boho-style necklaces in particular are my personal favorites.
WEAVER: Emma Fallon
LOCATION: Bristol, UK
BACKROUND: Emma is the designer/weaver behind Kulu, a design studio based in the UK. Kulu specializes in hand woven cloth and screen printed textiles. She has been studying textiles intensively as a graduate student in Bath Spa University, taking up a master’s degree in Textiles. She has also taught at Notthingham University as a visiting Lecturer and is in the process of writing short courses in Woven Textile Design.
INSPIRATION: She always thinks about the social and environmental impact her pieces can positively make, and this greatly influences the selection of materials she works with.
WHY I LOVE HER WORK: Staying true to her philosophy, Emma's newest collection of screen printed fabrics uses fair trade, natural and organic materials. It’s also worth mentioning that her pieces include hand spun eri silk and are dyed with indigo and water based inks.
WEAVER: Freya Walker
BACKGROUND: Freya is a designer of sustainable woven textiles. She started weaving when she was a student of Textiles design at Brighton University.
INSPIRATION: Freya has always been concerned about the amount of textile waste generated by the textile industry. This inspired her to upcycle and re-use materials as part of her work. Through the use of color and design, she hopes to promote sustainable products and encourage growth and creativity through re-use of waste.
WHY I LOVE HER WORK: When I found Freya/Green Weave on Instagram, I was completely taken by her work right off the bat. My favorite thing about what she does is she weaves textiles out of recycled t-shirts, plastic bags, fruit packaging and denim off-cuts. She’s also designed throw pillows in which she used fiber from recycled plastic bottles as stuffing and backed them with hemp. Freya is a true innovator, and her creative choice of materials definitely makes her stand out!
LOCATION: New Mexico, USA
BACKGROUND: Shiri began weaving after moving to New Mexico.
INSPIRATION: Her work is inspired by a combination of Rio-Grande weaving elements and her own aesthetic sensibilities.
WHY I LOVE HER WORK: She has incorporated her woven designs as back panels of second-hand denim jackets which I think is a creative way to upcycle a pre-owned item. I’m also in awe of the choice of color combinations she makes! Shiri has a good eye for mixing hues that blend well together and even more so, she just intuitively understands how to match those colors with the right design patterns. Her design patterns evoke a sense of balance, making them so visually striking. Apart from the jackets, do check out her rugs, pillows and tote bags. They’re all so beautiful!
WEAVER: Sydney Sogol
BASED IN: Durham, North Carolina, USA
BACKGROUND: Sydney obtained a B.A. in Weaving and Minor in Biology. Determined to nurture her love for weaving, she took a step further and pursued a master’s degree in Fine Art with a concentration in Textile Design at East Carolina University where she has also taught classes.
INSPIRATION: What inspires Sydney the most is nature and biology, animals in particular. In fact, she has a body of work entirely dedicated to endangered birds!
WHY I LOVE HER WORK: I'm the type of person who gets really emotionally invested in art forms that I love whether it’s music or film, so it’s interesting to me that Sydney believes in the idea of people forming a relationship with a piece. Apart from decorative woven paintings, she also weaves pieces like scarves and towels that encourage interaction from people since they can use these items in their day-to-day lives.
LOCATION: San Diego, California, USA
BACKGROUND: Krystyna works as a full-time UX designer. Throughout the years, she has found herself involved in creative work such as graphic design and art direction to name a few. She started weaving earlier this year as a result of her quest to find something else to keep her creative hands even busier.
WHY I LOVE HER WORK: I love the minimalist yet abstract vibe that Krystyna’s work exudes. The dominance of white coupled with basic and neutral colors is just a breath of fresh air. Also, I’m a big fringe aficionado, so the abundance of fringes in her pieces is giving me life! Not to mention, she uses organic cotton for them which is the better, eco-friendly choice.
This post contains background information obtained from each weaver's respective websites. This information has been summarized and reworded to the best of my ability. I do not own any of these photos. Each photo is directly embedded from each weaver's Instagram page.