Growing up in her homeland of Aotearoa (New Zealand), artist Caro Pattle watched her family pursue their own creative practices. ‘My uncle was an artist, my grandmother a weaver and my great grandmother made rugs,’ Caro says.
Little did she know she would go on to use weaving techniques in her own spectacular, contemporary sculptures. But Caro says it took her a while to find her ‘niche’.
Initially, the Melbourne-based creative studied a combined Bachelor of Fine Arts/Bachelor of Arts, and later undertook a Bachelor of Textiles at RMIT – graduating right before the pandemic hit.
‘I found I was really drawn to constructing textiles and working with my hands,’ Caro explains. ‘I had always wanted to create sculptural forms, and I had nothing if not plenty of time to experiment in my studio. The soft vessels were born out of these experimentations across a range of materials and techniques.’
Each soft vessel takes Caro between three to 10 days to weave from sheets of fabric, drawing from traditional coil basketry methods. The time-intensive process requires a lot of concentration, and sometimes she finds herself undoing and weaving a piece several times before it ‘sings’.
Recently, she’s been working with premium stretch velvet, which gives her works a plush, magical quality that changes colour according to the light!
‘Working from the bottom, I weave from the base of the vessel upwards, with the handles the last pieces to be added,’ Caro explains. ‘I only use a paperclip and a pair of tweezers. While some weavers like to weave around a form or mould, I prefer to just shape the piece as I go.’
The resulting works appear somehow as are also a clever amalgamation of Caro’s studies in history and design.
For Caro, her unique soft vessels are ‘intentionally unreliable messengers’. Inspired by the artist’s studies in both history and textile design, they present a playful and modern take on the shapes of traditional artefacts from ancient Rome or Greece – quite literally weaving together stories of the past and present!
You can buy Caro’s pieces through Craft Victoria or by commission.