Warped Textiles

We are happy to introduce Chantal Balmer a fantastic innovative textile designer! Balmer studied at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) graduating in 2001, from there she has continued to have a fantastic career in designing and developing textiles! She has received numerous awards and praise for her designs.  In 2009 she was commissioned to design and weave a unique ribbon commemorating the 100th anniversary of Charles Rennie Macintosh’s Glasgow School of Art building, in 2010 she was the guest speaker for Crafts Curators day organised by The Scottish Arts Council and in 2011 Chantal Balmer won Honda’s Made in Britain competition which was launched to celebrate 20 years of manufacturing at the Swindon Factory.  Furthering adding to these awards Balmer received funding from Trades House of Glasgow – Incorporation of Weavers enabling Balmer to buy a computerized weaving loom! Amazing!

 

Chantal Balmer has fantastic experience in textile design and development, we will let Chantal explain in her own words of her experience in textiles – ENJOY!

 

I studied at The Glasgow School of Art, graduating in 2001 with a BA (Hons) degree in Woven Textile Design. I always knew I wanted to go to Art School from an early age and when I got accepted to GSA and started to learn and understand weaving I knew this was what I wanted to do.  Monofilament, silk, copper wire, paper and shrink yarns were but a few of my favorite threads and for my degree show I focused on three-dimensional sculptural fabrics to create lighting pieces. To this day these types of fabrics captivate me, taking a few cones of yarn and turning them into a piece of fabric is a fantastic feeling, this may make it sound simple but it really isn’t until you truly understand structures, yarn weight and your weaving loom!

 

After graduating I went on to look for a job and subsequently a month later received a phone call from my Head of Department asking me if I would be interested in helping out at GSA as a Weaving Technician, of course I jumped at the chance. This was the opportunity to go back to school once again and learn even more about the beautiful 100 year old weaving looms I had learnt on as well as sharing my knowledge and passion of weaving with future weavers.

 An example of these fantastic weaving looms.

In 2006 the opportunity arose to take a years sabbatical to learn about silk Jacquard weaving in Bangalore, India. Two of my former textile classmates had already gone and worked for the same silk mill and urged me to be brave and write to the owners about a placement. This I did and they said yes! I had very little knowledge of Jacquard weaving when I left for India but this was all set to change. Whilst working for Jaipuria Silk Mill Limited (JSML), a 40 year old family run business, I was part of an multicultural design team, it was our job as innovative designers from across the world to be experimental and come up with new designs that were suitable for the European and American interiors market. While there I designed and developed a large collection of jacquard woven home furnishing fabrics, using the most up to date textile computer packages such as Pointcarre and Nedgraphics. This was one of the best years of my life. The company had their own on site dyeing facilities, 20+ jacquard looms with different repeat sizes and an Aladdin’s cave of silk, cotton and rayon that were free to use and sample with.

Jacquard Woven Fabrics that I designed whilst living and working in India (2006 -2007)

After my year was over I returned to my job at GSA recharged and ready to share what I had learned with the students once again. Since then I have been working full time as a Weave and Jacquard Technician alongside developing my own fabrics and researching new yarns. Having recently been able to purchase my own 24 shaft computerised weaving loom has allow me to get involved in further freelance work and commissions.

Winner of Honda’s ‘Made in Britain’ competition – Hand woven & pleated fabric using silk, copper and cotton (2011)

My own textile passions lie in woven interior textiles and in the experimental manipulation of structures and geometric patterns. I combine traditional and contemporary weaving techniques using quality yarns to create innovative and unique three-dimensional fabrics. Weaving inspiration comes from all around me. Architecture, tessellation’s, and nature provide the stimulus I need when thinking about designing a new piece of fabric.

 

 So many wonderful Colours!

Still hungry for more weaving food? Looking for a fantastic design? Check out Chantal’s site the Warped Textiles.

 

Thank you Chantal Balmer and the Warped Textiles for sharing your great experience with pinso readers.

 

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