I’m a huge fan of Maryanne Moodie‘s incredible weavings, so a few months ago, I visited her at her beautiful home in Brooklyn to learn more about her work. Maryanne’s weavings are intricate and gorgeous – the thought and attention to detail in each piece is remarkable. Maryanne herself is as wonderful as her work – she is one of the nicest, most humble makers I’ve met, and her love and dedication for her craft is apparent.
My favorite part of our interview was when Maryanne told me about her search to find a craft and creative outlet – when you see a talented maker like Maryanne, you typically assume that she just picked up the craft and excelled at it – I loved learning about the many crafts she tried on her way to weaving, and can imagine that each of her attempts helped her to become the talented weaver she is today. Our meeting was a great reminder to me to keep pursuing new interests and hobbies… you never know what will come of them!
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I was an Art teacher in Melbourne, and I also used to run a vintage clothing shop.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I started weaving about 3 years ago… I’d been creative, but not really creating, so I was looking for something I could make as a hobby. While looking for a craft, I tried basket weaving, knitting, and crochet, but nothing was the right fit. I’d seen and liked hanging textiles but didn’t know how they were made. While I was cleaning out a storeroom at school, I found a weaving kit and realized that the textiles I’d admired were weavings. I kept the kit and made my first piece and was so excited! I shared the item on my instagram account and received great feedback, which was validating. So I kept making more and posting and getting great feedback.
While on maternity leave, instagram and social media created a creative connection with society – I didn’t feel alone even though I spent a lot of time at home with the baby. It felt like everything clicked into place when I started weaving.
DID YOU ALWAYS PLAN TO START A BUSINESS?
No, initially I thought this could be a hobby or something I could give as gifts. But, people immediately asked to commission work – I didn’t sell right away though, I wanted to make sure I was ready to sell – I had to figure out the finishings, how the weavings should hang, how to make sure they’d stay straight and even, etc.
This may be an Australian thing – but I was worried about Tall Poppy syndrome – the idea that if you rise above, you are asking to be cut down. Don’t be too confident, someone will always bring you back down. I wanted to be humble and to make sure my work was worth it. I wanted the work to speak for itself before I put it up for sale.
I primarily do commissions, I sell wholesale as well when possible. I like to push myself and I always treat this like a business even though I love it.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Nick Cave’s embroidery and textures in the book, Doppelganger, Images of the Human Being. Ted Sabarese.
I like working with people who have a loose vision of what they are looking for so we can work together.
WHAT MADE YOU START TEACHING WEAVING WORKSHOPS?
I love teaching weaving – it combines my current role with my previous experience as an art teacher. And I love weaving so it is nice to share with other people who are also excited about it. The 3 hour class I teach should help you get to where I was after weaving for about 1.5 years – I learned a lot when I started and now I can teach people how to get started quickly, but you need to keep playing and trying to get comfortable with it. Learning to weave is difficult – when you google weaving, you only get information on hair extensions! It was a lot of work to find the right information – I can make it easier through my classes and kits.
The business has grown organically – I was making my own art, and then people wanted to buy it, so I sold it. Now, people want to learn, and I am happy to share. It’s a way to connect with people who are all over.
Photography by TAE.