Allyson Rousseau creates colorful and unique fiber art primarily using her own style of weaving. Inspired by the world around her, she often works in a series to see what might come next. She just wrote her first book and has online classes, sharing what she has learned on her journey as a weaver.
Why weaving? How does that medium best express what you want to communicate through your art? How did you start weaving?
I started teaching myself how to weave as sort of a hobby when I was in my final year of University in 2013/2014. I was studying studio art and taking classes for painting and sculpture. Weaving just seemed like a really cool way to combine those two interests in an entirely different medium. There were no textile or weaving courses at my school at the time, and I couldn’t find any information on frame loom weaving online… if you can believe it. There was nothing on Youtube, and when you googled weaving, most of the search results were for hair weaves!
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So all that to say, I figured it out on my own, developed my own style, graduated from school, kept weaving and haven’t stopped for more than a few weeks since.
Do you feel that you chose your “passion,” or did it choose you?
I would say that we chose each other. Haha. That sounds really cheesy, but it just always felt right.
What motivates you artistically?
I think what motivates me the most is being able to create something beautiful that would otherwise not exist. Sure lots of people weave, and if I don’t, someone else will, but to execute an original idea that has never been seen before feels really exciting and keeps me pushing forward.
Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration comes and goes without me being totally conscious of where it comes from I think. I’ll see a nice colour palette somewhere out in the world and be inspired to try something similar in a weaving, for example.
I also find that one piece often inspires the next. That’s how a lot of my series’ are born. When I design something I like, I keep making them and experiment with different colours in each one.
What is the most important takeaway you want readers to gain from your book, Contemporary Weaving: Bold Colour, Texture & Design on the Frame Loom?
To not be intimidated and to have fun! If you’re a beginner, it can be daunting and overwhelming to know where to start something new. My book aims to help readers feel confident in starting their own frame loom weaving journeys by sharing widely accessible resources and basic techniques that can be used in a variety of ways to make beautiful art.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
I don’t! Well I guess that’s not true. I do have notebooks that I sometimes draw in but I don’t sketch ideas prior to creating new work. I typically draw designs that I’ve already made which will include measurements for things that I don’t want to forget. Things like how many warp strings were in that space and dimensions to remind me of cost/scale.
I think diving into a new weaving without much planning is what makes it fun and exciting for me.
How do you manage your creative time? Do you schedule start and stop times? Or work only when inspired?
In the past I’ve been fortunate to have the entire day to weave as I pleased. Most days that meant weaving or “working” from 9-5 so that I could spend evenings with my partner. Though we would often have dinner together and then resume working on our respective projects because he is an artist too.
These days though, I feel lucky to have any time at all! I am a new mom to an 11 week old baby girl and have yet to find the time to weave since she was born. I’m surrendering to this new season in my life and enjoying the shift in priorities, though I do miss weaving and creating in general on a daily basis. I hope to work up to having a few hours a day for personal creative time towards the end of the year…once we figure out a schedule that works for us.
Do you have a dedicated space for creating? If so, what does it look like?
I do! I feel very lucky to have this space. We moved out of a city and into a small town where we bought our first house two years ago, and the move has come with a lot more square footage to spread out and grow in lots of new ways.
How often do you start a new project? Do you work actively on more than one project at a time?
When I’m weaving full-time, I start a new project about once a week, but I typically have a few on the go at once. There is usually a piece that I’m working on for fun — experimenting with new ideas, some new work for my website, and maybe a commissioned piece or two as well. It’s changing all the time.
Do you think that creativity is part of human nature or is it something that must be nurtured and learned?
I think all of the above is true! Creativity can be found everywhere if you’re looking for it, but sometimes you need to make time for it to be prioritized in order for it to have space to grow. I think we could all learn to be more creative every day. Not just in making art, but in being more conscious about how we inhabit and respect the earth and the people in our lives.
If you were no longer able to weave, how else would you express your creativity?
Pottery and wood carving are two mediums that I think I would really love to try. So I would start there but I would also likely take the opportunity to spend time working on our garden and fixing things up around the house.
Tell us about your blog and/or website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
My website can be found at allysonrousseau.com
It houses just about everything related to my weaving practice including my five online video classes, a link to my Domestika course, any available work that I have for sale including frame looms and yarn kits, a page to contact me for commissioned pieces, my CV, and it will also be a place where you can buy my book.
I hope people visiting my website gain some insight into my practice, and maybe discover an interest in weaving themselves! I share a lot of my progress work and snippets of my daily life on my IG @allyrous.
Do you lecture or teach workshops? How can students/organizers get in touch with you to schedule an event?
I don’t currently teach in-person workshops but I do hope to in the future, which I hope will encourage and facilitate me leaving the house more and possibly doing some traveling!
Anyone interested can email me at [email protected]
Interview posted March 2023
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