Jacqueline James is a Scottish textile artist, whose vibrant handwoven rugs have been displayed in Westminster Abbey, York Minster and the British Library.

Interview by Jessica Edney.

How long have you been involved in weaving and dyeing, and how did you get started?

I was born in the UK but grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA.  From my earliest memories, I have always been creative and enjoyed making arts and crafts with my hands. My interest in yarns, threads and textiles first began as a young child when my granny patiently taught me how to knit, crochet and sew. I enjoyed art in high school and experimented with many different art and craft mediums. This is where I completed my first basic woven tapestry on a simple wooden frame loom.

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

Harmonious colourways, striking geometric patterns and stripe rhythms are all strong and distinctive elements of my woven designs. I use a broad range of coloured yarns and blend several strands together, like mixing paint, to achieve the desired result. For my recent collection, I have carefully custom dyed the weft threads, prior to the weaving process, to obtain beautiful hues and colour combinations and create interesting design effects. I combine traditional weaving techniques with contemporary design style.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work most days in my home studio. In the morning I am usually sitting at my computer, drinking peppermint tea, reading and responding to emails and social media. The afternoons and evenings are spent on designing or weaving related activities like sketching, dyeing yarn, dressing the loom, winding shuttles, and of course weaving. When I am not working on weaving/dyeing projects, I enjoy walking in nature and spending quality time with family and friends. 

How do you find inspiration for your rug designs?

I find inspiration all around me, everywhere I go. I am particularly attracted to striking patterns, unusual textures and beautiful colour combinations from nature. Wherever I go I take photographs of landscapes and architectural elements that interest me and may possibly inspire future rug designs. I like to observe the subtle differences in light, shade and how colours change throughout the day and the seasons.

You can see Jacqueline's rugs in the upcoming Society of Designer Craftsmen Designer Crafts Summer Exhibition, London from 12 - 21 July 2018. 


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