For Jacqueline Stojanović, weaving is both ‘an ancient carrier of culture, and an important tool for the future’.
The Melbourne-based artist studied fine arts at Monash University before graduating with honours at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2015. ‘I was always drawn to the expansive nature of textiles, however I was encouraged to try other mediums during my years studying,’ Jacqueline says.
Outside of the classroom though, she continued to weave by hand, making small sculptures and flat woven pieces using wool and raffia. But it really all clicked when her mentor, the late abstract artist John Nixon, gave her a handheld children’s loom that had been sitting in his studio.
‘I became obsessed by the seemingly endless possibilities of woven structures on that loom, and this impulse led me on a path to discover more,’ Jacqueline adds.
She began researching the history of woven textiles from around the world, including from regions like the Caucasus, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Italy, and Iceland. With Serbian and French-Vietnamese heritage herself, Jacqueline also looked to a handweaving town in Serbia, where just six women continue the practice of traditional carpet making — down dramatically from more than 1800 just 50 years ago.
‘I’m very much interested in collective memory and the past generally,’ Jacqueline says.
‘Weaving is by process a meditative medium, and requires a great deal of time performing very repetitive motions, while I’m weaving, I often think about history, both personal and broader shared histories.’
These stories all come to life in her pieces, which can which take anywhere between two days to two months to complete. She often works using one of the four looms she keeps in her Melbourne studio (all gifted to her by older artists and weavers), creating patterned hangings and fabric ‘paintings’, or, she weaves bright threads across steel-grid frames in geometric shapes.
The intriguing detail of her work reveals how every step is intentional, from the careful blend of colours, to the texture and the number of threads she uses. And all these tiny decisions combine to create something that’s equal parts masterful in technique, and meaningful in story.