Weaving Textures & Forms – Textile artworks by Jo Elbourne

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The ancient practice of weaving has always served a functional and ornamental purpose, the latter of which was exploited by European modern artists who elevated it to an art form. These days the creative potential of weaving is being rediscovered by young designers, like British artist Jo Elbourne, who creates minimal and geometrical woven wall works using cotton cord as her primary “weaving” material.

Trained as a Menswear designer at Ravensbourne College of Design, Jo worked in the clothing industry for a decade before discovering her passion for making textiles by hand. Her first experience with “weaving” came almost by chance when she wrapped and unwrapped the seat of a chair with a reel of rope she found in a charity. From then on, the designer continued to experiment with wrapping different types of functional objects and furniture. However, recently, Jo has focused on creating decorative wall pieces with cotton cords that she manually braids and dyes. While inspired by the old practice of seat weaving, Jo has created her own weaving process which she describes as “a technique of wrapping, binding, and weaving of sorts.”

Elbourne’s unique approach to weaving has resulted in minimal works populated by patterns of alternating geometric forms created through the laborious arrangement of horizontal and vertical beige, blue, gray, and terracotta cotton cords. In her works, Jo intentionally keeps the joins invisible so that there is no obvious point where the wrapping begins or ends. This process brings to life continuous and organic compositions characterized by the rich textures of the overlapping cords.

Elbourne’s intricate compositions bring to the top of mind the legacy of seminal textile artists she admires. Such is the case of Sophie Taeuber-Arp, an interdisciplinary artist who combined traditional crafts with the vocabulary of modernist abstraction, challenging the boundaries separating art and design. All in all, Jo’s works materialize her personal interpretation of this legacy and are to be thought of as works of art in their own right.


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Written by Constanza Ontiveros