Weave a Sculpture

Make a big organic woven structure to celebrate textiles and weaving!

Sculpture in Tate Modern © Tate

The idea

If you look closely at your jeans you'll see thread going up (that's called the warp); and threads going across (that's the weft). Pretty silly names, but super important when making materials.

Have a look and see what people are wearing around you. All the shapes, sizes, designs and patterns.

Maybe you have too many clothes like Venus here! How big a pile could you make with all your clothes?

Michelangelo Pistoletto, ‘Venus of the Rags’ 1967, 1974
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Venus of the Rags 1967, 1974
© Michaelangelo Pistoletto

Your clothes are probably made by a machine called a loom. Maybe like this hand loom below. What a smart looking man with his moustache.

Albert Renger-Patzsch, ‘Saxon Hosiery Weaver at a Handloom’ 1928–48
Albert Renger-Patzsch
Saxon Hosiery Weaver at a Handloom 1928–48
© reserved

The plan

You are going to make a big organic woven structure to celebrate textiles and weaving. (Organic shapes are shapes you can find in nature, like shells or seeds).

  • Chicken Wire (we would recommend getting a thin chicken wire. Its softer and can be molded easily)
  • Scissors
  • Lots of things to weave with: tissue paper, newspaper, felt, cotton, silk, film, magazines, wool, maps, anything!
  • To make a seed shapes structure. Roll out your chicken wire about 2 metres by 2 metres (but you can make a bigger or smaller version and any shape you want). Make a roll out of it and then twist the top and bottom so you get a cylinder. Chicken wire can be a little sharp at the edges so I’d get a grown up to help you out here
  • Cut all your fabric into strips ready for weaving
  • Start to weave your materials into the structure. In and out, in and out. Make sure you warp and weft. So that’s some material going up the structure and other material going across
  • Once you have completed your structure celebrate your textile woven masterpiece by placing it or hanging it somewhere interesting!

See it!

Chicken wire organic form

Chicken wire organic form © Tate

Weaving round sculpture © Tate

Weaving round sculpture © Tate

Warp and weft on the sculpture © Tate

Warp and weft on the sculpture © Tate

Sculpture in Tate Modern © Tate

Sculpture in Tate Modern © Tate

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