Studio Visit

Caro Pattle's Plush, Woven Vessels Channel Ancient Artefacts

Having studied ancient history at university, artist Caro Pattle is fascinated with the idea of objects as ‘messengers’ – sharing stories of bygone eras. But it wasn’t until the pandemic gave her the time she needed, that she began making her own sculptural forms.

Hours experimenting in her studio led to the Melbourne maker to her unique ‘soft vessels’ made from ripples of fabric, which she handcrafts with nothing but a paperclip and a pair of tweezers!

Christina Karras

Inside Caro Pattle’s studio! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her most recent works feature stretch velvet material handwoven into bowls and amphora. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Caro Pattle with one of her larger pieces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her notes and fabric swatches. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Caro patiently coil weaves each piece by hand! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

She works with music or podcasts playing the background, but can’t have too many distractions or her pieces end up a ‘hot mess’.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her space is filled with light! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Epic Honey Amphora. Photo – Courtesy of Caro Pattle

Jewel tones of orange, blue and emerald enhance the beauty of her works. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Christina Karras
25th of July 2022

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.

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