When we engage in fiber arts
we are creating something
but we’re also participating in historic traditions
tens of thousands of years old.
You are not only making art for your soul
and for future generations,
you are embodying the work of our ancestors.
Meadow Coldon, The woven road.
The KUKUmobil is an artist studio on wheels, big enough for a high warp loom and small enough to easily traverse the European continent and establish temporary weaving stations along the way. The route begins at Portugal’s Atlantic coast, and zigzags across the European mainland until it reaches the Black Sea.
On the high warp loom, a large-format tapestry will take shape over several years, woven using the traditional Gobelin technique. The starting point is a template in painting by the artist Andrea Milde, which will be complemented with research on site.
Alongside the creation of this tapestry, there will be workshops that give insight into the fundamentals of weaving, and complexities of a tapestry’s creative and development process. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the motivations behind this project in conversation with the artist.
These motivations include:
# Shining a light on a craft that has evolved along with humankind for millenia. Each generation of weavers has refined and expanded it before passing it on to the next, yet now it is on the brink of extinction.
# Advocating for the preservation of our cultural heritage. The KUKUmobil presents this effort as a collective, rather than an individual one. It is a society’s responsibility to make its shared knowledge available to future generations.
# Reflecting on the future of Europe and the fabric of our society. The tapestry will reflect the diversity of European experiences and identities; it will be a metaphor for their interwoven coexistence, and a commitment to a European project that is in service of its civil society.
# Inviting a return to a human dimension of size, speed, perception, creativity, and complexity. The KUKUmobil aims to find a balance between our urge to envision and create at a constantly growing scale and pace, and the boundaries and self-awareness required for an equitable and resilient practice.
# Changing our understanding of time, in the philosophical as well as the practical, haptic sense. Slow art and slow living can be a path that leads us back to the human dimension and to a meaningful, sustainable future.
# Bringing knowledge transfer into the public space. The KUKUmobil reframes public space as a place of learning. It creates opportunities for experiencing community and identity in new ways, and makes knowledge transfer an creative processes accessible and part of everyday life.
The KUKUmobil is a vehicle of our artistic and artisanal past; a seeker of textile, cultural, and geopolitical identities; a nomadic chronicler of a time of upheaval; a knowledge-keeper and knowledge-giver in equal parts. In the best of cases, it will be an instigator of new connections and a catalyst of a European spirit and identity that is already alive in many heads and hearts.
“Architects, sculptors, painters, we must all return to the crafts! For art is not a ‘profession.’ There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. In rare moments of inspiration, transcending the consciousness of his will, the grace of heaven may cause his work to blossom into art. But proficiency in a craft is essential to every artist. Therein lies the prime source of creative imagination.
Let us then create a new guild of craftsmen without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist! Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”