June 2019

Bleem Weaver

Brianna MartinBrianna MartinBrianna MartinBrianna MartinText: Adriana Giuffrida Images: Brianna Lee Martin

There is no doubt that it’s getting colder during the winter months, and this creates all kinds of desires to rug up in whatever you can. So what more could one really want than an exquisite handmade wool scarf or blanket made for this exact purpose?

Brianna Martin has knitted herself a nice little niche with her incredible woven wonders. Following on from an interest in all things crafty, Brianna learned the skill of weaving. Her pieces are created by hand and fashioned with Australian wool. The vibrancy of her designs coupled with subtle patterns and textures make each scarf a piece of art, and a must for these chilly times.

Adriana Guiffrida caught up with Brianna to discuss her love for colour and a new exhibition at Mr. Kitley in Melbourne.

Adriana Guiffrida: Tell me about your journey into weaving, how did you discover your talent in this area?

Brianna Martin: I’ve always enjoyed sewing and crafts. I used to do cross-stitch and sew little tops and bags when I was younger because my Mum did. That led me to studying pattern making and sewing, then a few years ago I learned to weave. I’ve never considered myself an overly patient person, but when it comes to weaving – which takes a lot of patience – I just have it. I’m really passionate about weaving and I believe that if you enjoy something it will show in your work.

AG: What is your favourite thing about weaving?

BM: I love being able to use all the colours I want, and in any combination that I choose. I use almost all the colours of the rainbow and I like putting together combinations that usually might not mesh. I just have a lot of fun with it.

AG: In fashion, there is a tendency to ask about the inspiration for a collection. Do you find that the inspirations are different with a textile medium such as weaving?

BM: I think, for everybody, both fashion designers and artists, inspiration is different. For me, inspiration comes from everywhere. I’m constantly writing down colour combinations that I see, whether it’s a stripy tie on TV to three cars lined up in a car park. I’m also really inspired by books. I’ve got lots on crafts, Mexican homewares and weaving, of course. I’m also a huge Disney fan. I get lots of ideas and inspiration from fun and colourful animations.

AG: Within your current range of scarves, there is an incredible mix of textures, colour and patterns. Do you map out what you are going to do with each piece, or do you go with the flow and just see what happens next?

BM: I do a bit of both. The way I thread my loom in combination with the way I move my feet on the peddles determines what pattern comes out. Sometimes I thread it one way and stick to the pattern, other times I’ll change my feet, which will weave a different pattern over it. It’s fun to see what happens. A lot of my work has changes in it because the pattern gets repetitive, so I switch half way through and it always seems to turn out great.

AG: Each piece is vastly different, even down to the finishing of the tassel on a scarf. With that level of investment in the smallest details, do you ever find it hard to part with a piece after you’ve created it?

BM: It is hard sometimes. But I know when I sell a piece that the person must love and appreciate it as much as me, which is lovely. Plus I couldn’t possibly keep everything I liked. I’d have a wardrobe full of wool.

AG: You have made scarves, bags and blankets and more recently shrugs. Are there any other areas you would like to explore?

BM: My work has definitely evolved since my last exhibition, so I’m just excited to see where it takes me.

AG: Tell me about your exhibition Mr. Kitly.

BM: My exhibition at the gorgeous Mr Kitly gallery is very colourful. All of my work is displayed on logs and hung from branches. The combination of the colours in the weaving with the natural wood looks really nice. I’ve got scarves, neck warmers, jackets, bags and a big blanket showing in the space.

AG: Your flyer for the show is quite a family affair. Your Dad, on the far left, has a very proud look on his eye. How did this come about?

BM: My beautiful friend Francesca was writing a piece on my work and needed a few pictures taken. She had the idea to take a shot, with whoever was in the house at the time wearing a scarf. It turned out great so, a few weeks later, I rounded up the whole family, wrapped them in my new work and did a shoot for my flyer. It’s fun and shows that anyone can wear my stuff, including my awesome Dad!

AG: What is next for Bleem Weaver?

BM: I’m heading to my parents’ house in Foster for a nice relaxing time. It’s so beautiful and peaceful, there is a waterfall and an amazing view of Wilson’s Prom. It’s pretty special. I don’t plan on seeing any wool for a few days.

Brianna Lee Martin

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