This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Tia Ansell's Uniquely Layered 'Weaving-Paintings'

Studio Visit

At first glance, it’s not immediately apparent how Tia Ansell creates her geometric artworks. They have a beautiful textural quality about them, coupled with contrasting colours and clean lines that almost look too perfect to have been created by hand.

That’s because the New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist uses a clever combination of weaving and painting in her distinctive creative practice.

From her studio in the Fitzroy Town Hall, Tia translates patterns from architectural buildings and landscapes into her unique ‘weaving-paintings’ – starting with the weaving of the base fabric, and culminating in the final painted artwork.

19th December, 2022

Artist Tia Ansell on the stairs in Fitzroy Town Hall, where works in her studio as part of the Conners Conners Gallery. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Tia uses a mix of weaving and painting techniques to create her colourful and contrasting artworks. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her weaving-paintings are inspired by architecture, which she then translates into a ‘code’ for her to weave! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

This code is then translated into various colours and threads of the warp on her loom. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Setting the loom correctly is a key part of the process, as she has to make sure the threads are in the right sequence and length, and the tension is perfect as there is no going back to fix it during the weaving process. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

She repeats these ‘codes’ or patterns several times depending on how large her piece is going to be. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

A work in progress! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I mainly use cotton for the rigid nature, but I also use linen, bamboo and silk. I may introduce another pattern into the weft, for a double patterned work,’ Tia says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘The paintings are a more accurate representation of patterns or geometric design elements found in our urban landscape. They’re flat, hard edged yet sit within the weaving plane,’ Tia adds. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her use of colours and style is influenced by the art movements of Constructivism and Bauhaus. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

The final steps are to varnish the works before framing them in aluminium for a striking mirrored effect. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

 

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

One of Tia’s finished works! Photo – Courtesy Tia Ansell and Lon Gallery

Photo – Courtesy Tia Ansell and Lon Gallery

The fabric gives them a wonderful textural quality, thanks to Tia’s creation of her one-of-a-kind canvases! Photo – Courtesy Tia Ansell and Lon Gallery

Photo – Courtesy Tia Ansell and Lon Gallery

Christina Karras
Monday 19th December 2022

‘Weaving is inherent to human material culture’ – Tia Ansell

Artist Tia Ansell started weaving ‘properly’ in her first year of art school – where she also built her own loom.

‘You can essentially weave on anything – a frame, a fork, your fingers,’ Tia says. ‘Over the last year I have collected three looms of different sizes and builds (floor and table). I have done various weaving courses or visited weaving mills in Ecuador, Peru, India, Sri Lanka.’

‘Weaving is inherent to human material culture; it is a characteristic of being human. We dress in it, we sleep in it.’

Growing up in Auckland, Tia was exposed to Aotearoa’s rich weaving culture from a young age, but initially focused on painting, and came to Melbourne to study fine art at the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts.

‘I had always kept my weaving and painting practices separate,’ Tia says. ‘The ideas and contexts surrounding geography, architecture and psycho-geography have always been an interest for me, but the execution and process have evolved.’

She even dabbled in metal work and ceramic assemblages, alongside weaving and painted elements, before arriving to her current practice, which she calls ‘expanded painting’. The endless time for reflection during the pandemic triggered the ‘light-bulb moment’ to bring the two practices together.

Now working alongside other emerging artists in the Conners Conners Gallery, inside Fitzroy Town Hall, Tia has perfected the unique method behind her intricate pieces. She handcrafts every element of these works, from weaving of the base fabric, to the final painted artwork. She’s also represented by Lon Gallery.

These ‘weaving-paintings’ begin as drawings of Tia’s local surroundings and facades of buildings. Referencing architectural lines and patterns, the artist creates her own ‘code’ with corresponding colours and threads of cotton, linen, bamboo or silk. Hours of hand-weaving at her loom turns these into beautiful fabrics, that are then stretched and primed ready to be painted on. A small work can take around 12 hours to complete, while larger ones can take anywhere between a few weeks to months!

‘Each step is very important,’ Tia says. ‘If I’ve missed a weft thread or similar, I embrace it and rarely go back to fix it. I like this kind of mistake.’

It’s this meticulous process that makes the resulting artworks – encased in a striking silver frame – so distinctive and impressive.

See more of Tia’s work on her website.

This Week

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras

News

Terrazzo Queen Tantri Mustika's Closing Down Sale!

Pop down to Collingwood Yards Saturday 11 February, 12pm – 3pm, to support Tantri Mustika’s closing down sale.
Bea Taylor
  17 hours ago

On The Market

An Idyllic Homestead With Country Views For Sale In Gippsland!

This 1890s homestead is the ultimate treechange opportunity, with a rambling garden, sprawling views, and it's already been renovated!
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

Studio Visit

The Sydney Sculptor Creating Striking Pieces From Centuries-Old Sandstone

Sculptor Tom Butterworth creates striking tables, stools and vessels from recycled Australian sandstone, with beautiful results.
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Coastal Garden That Revives The Native Landscape

House Revisited brings the natural landscape of Macmasters Beach on the NSW Central Coast, into a stunning residential property.

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Homes

A Vintage Farmhouse On Sydney’s Upper North Shore

It looks like an authentic country farmhouse, but Alexandra Nea Graham’s family home is an almost entirely new-build!
Lucy Feagins
  23 hours ago

Homes

A Quirky Redfern Terrace With A Hidden Green Roof

The unconventional family home of designer Sacha Coles, split over 4 levels!

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Boundless Garden Immersed In Native Bushland

A new coastal home on the Mornington Peninsula buried deep within a native grassy woodland, with stunning gardens by Plume Studio.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Climate

Everything You Need To Know About GreenPower (+ Why You Should Make The Switch)

The easiest way to invest in in Australia's renewable future - and it's simpler (and cheaper) than you think!

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Caro Pattle's Plush, Woven Vessels Channel Ancient Artefacts

The Melbourne-based artist uses traditional hand weaving techniques in her spectacular sculptures, reminiscent of ancient relics.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

This Emerging Painter's Dreamlike Landscapes Are Filled With Memory

Melbourne-based artist Kate Lewis beautifully draws on her love of the great outdoors for her emotive artworks.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

How Ceramic Artist Lucy Tolan Became One Of Melbourne’s Favourite Creatives

The handmade vessels of ceramicist Lucy Tolan are entirely original and instantly recognisable.
Christina Karras

This Week

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Studio Visit

The Sydney Sculptor Creating Striking Pieces From Centuries-Old Sandstone

Sculptor Tom Butterworth creates striking tables, stools and vessels from recycled Australian sandstone, with beautiful results.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras

On The Market

An Idyllic Homestead With Country Views For Sale In Gippsland!

This 1890s homestead is the ultimate treechange opportunity, with a rambling garden, sprawling views, and it's already been renovated!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

Homes

A Vintage Farmhouse On Sydney’s Upper North Shore

It looks like an authentic country farmhouse, but Alexandra Nea Graham’s family home is an almost entirely new-build!
Lucy Feagins
  23 hours ago

Climate

Everything You Need To Know About GreenPower (+ Why You Should Make The Switch)

The easiest way to invest in in Australia's renewable future - and it's simpler (and cheaper) than you think!

News

Terrazzo Queen Tantri Mustika's Closing Down Sale!

Pop down to Collingwood Yards Saturday 11 February, 12pm – 3pm, to support Tantri Mustika’s closing down sale.
Bea Taylor
  17 hours ago

Gardens

A Boundless Garden Immersed In Native Bushland

A new coastal home on the Mornington Peninsula buried deep within a native grassy woodland, with stunning gardens by Plume Studio.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras

Homes

A Quirky Redfern Terrace With A Hidden Green Roof

The unconventional family home of designer Sacha Coles, split over 4 levels!

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Coastal Garden That Revives The Native Landscape

House Revisited brings the natural landscape of Macmasters Beach on the NSW Central Coast, into a stunning residential property.

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Caro Pattle's Plush, Woven Vessels Channel Ancient Artefacts

The artist uses traditional hand weaving techniques in her spectacular sculptures, reminiscent of ancient relics.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

This Emerging Painter's Dreamlike Landscapes Are Filled With Memory

Melbourne-based artist Kate Lewis beautifully draws on her love of the great outdoors for her emotive artworks.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

How Ceramic Artist Lucy Tolan Became One Of Melbourne’s Favourite Creatives

The handmade vessels of ceramicist Lucy Tolan are entirely original and instantly recognisable.
Christina Karras

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net