Meet The KOEL Kids: Veronica Pock
While Veronica Pock was pursuing her studies in chemistry during university, she was constantly itching to create something with her hands, and weaving turned out to be exactly what she needed to satisfy that desire. She is one KOEL kid who isn’t afraid to mingle with the unknown, incorporating the most extreme of materials into her woven works and watching magic unfold before her eyes. See what Veronica has to share about her creative process in the interview below!
Tell us more about your background and what led you to choosing weaving as a craft?
Before taking up weaving, I led a very different life – studying chemistry at university, followed by various jobs in publishing. I was interested in materials, transformation and the underlying make up of the world – which is where the chemistry came in – but constantly, in the background, I was itching to create things and would spend my spare time painting, drawing, printing, and creating. My fascination with textiles really truly began while living in London, with its inspiring shops, markets and galleries.
When I moved from the UK to the Netherlands, I was able to fit work around studying fashion and textiles at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. There, I developed as an artist; observing, interpreting and constructing. It was weaving that really spoke to me right from the start. The floor looms intrigued me, and after my first tentative attempts at weaving on a table loom, passing the weft through the warp, discovering the patterns and structures that emerged, I was hooked! On leaving college, I bought a second-hand loom, set up my own studio, and have been weaving ever since. I feel very lucky now, as a mum of two, that I’m able to fit family life around working as a weaver.
Being able to create a piece of fabric from an unruly mass of yarns is magical, constantly fascinating, sometimes frustrating and hugely rewarding. It lets me interpret what I see and feel into texture and colour. Each yarn has such different characteristics, and is a material I can ‘paint’ with. Every fabric I weave documents a journey, capturing a moment in time and a metaphorical piece of me in the cloth that grows on my loom.
What makes you a KOEL Kid?
By not being afraid to mix the most extreme of materials, taking advantage of their colours and textures, and pushing weave patterns to its limits means that I can give my woven textiles depth and character; they make you want to look closer and find the hidden details. I make scarves and cushions which are not just beautiful and interesting, but practical as well. The other less practical pieces become wall art. Every so often I would break out and experiment by mixing up opposing materials: Alpaca wool and magnetic tape, linen and copper wire, monofilament and lambswool.…that’s when the magic happens and something special appears.
Share with us the creative process.
Weaving requires lots of planning before you begin on the warp, let alone threading the loom. I have a number of different patterns that I work with, and I can set up my loom to use them almost by second nature now. Every so often, I’ll add on to this collection by experimenting with a new pattern. I like to incorporate an element of chance in my work, because that’s where something unexpectedly wonderful can happen. Randomness of colors and textures allows patterns and shades to emerge out of their own accord. The initial spark of inspiration can come from a place, a piece of art, a photograph or simply from the yarns on my shelf. I work out colour combinations using sketches and collage on paper, although the actual weaving is a fluid, intuitive act, not overly planned. The warp and I can then embark on our journey together, discovering what we can learn from each other, how the colors will react, how the pattern will emerge…
Your favourite designs to date…
The inspiration behind this design is… The Western Isles of Scotland and the colours of the stunning Hebridean coastline. I’ve been visiting them on my holidays for years now. Combined with a pattern that came about during one of my experiments on the loom.
The dream store in which I would like to stock this design is… It’d be great to have my cushions stocked by Heal’s – I love their modern contemporary style. Or Toast, with their inspirational support for traditional artisans and new makers. But each of my items is a one-off. So having my work in a Contemporary Applied Arts gallery, now that would be a privilege.
If this design made it big, I would… Be ecstatic, excited and a bit scared, all at the same time.
If this design could talk, it would say… Relax! Breathe in the sea air, hear the waves crash on the rocks, feel the wind in your hair, see the reflections on the waters. Oh, and value me. I’m unique!
Great things take time, so how much has changed since you first started weaving. Where do you see it in the next five years?
I used to weave with whatever leftover yarns people had given me, or what I could find locally. I’ve learnt where to source great yarns. Honing my choice of materials (favouring natural materials) and pared down the colours and textures I combine. So things have become a lot calmer, but I do like to go wild sometimes and weave something completely impractical… but that’s when interesting things happen, leading to something new and exciting. For the future, I’d love to develop the interiors and art side of my woven textiles. Pushing new boundaries, exhibiting and sharing with others more often.
Photo Credits: Veronica Pock
Can’t wait to start your own next weaving project? Go over to our weaving patterns and be inspired with new knitting ideas today. Or be inspired by other talented fibre artists in our KOEL Kids column.