Textile artist Lucy Hayward talks about inspiration from the Highlands, traceable yarns and weaving techniques
Textile artist Lucy Hayward is the talented creator behind Arra Textiles. Her intricate and engaging textiles are woven in naturalistic colours that reflect the ever-changing ocean and landscapes of the Highlands. We asked Lucy (LH) to tell us about her weaving work and how she brings inspiration from nature into her homeware collections and her woven art commissions.
Your handwoven and mill woven textiles are skilfully woven to depict translations of your local Scotland landscapes and seascapes. Where do you begin when taking inspiration from nature and working this into your designs?
LH: Most of my design projects begin with photography. I take images which tell a story and collate them into a series of colour palettes which complement each other without being too similar. The colours found in nature are so varied and change so quickly that I don’t think I could ever become bored of using landscapes and seascapes as my inspiration.
Colour palette of yarns (left), foraged nettles - one of the plants Lucy uses for dyeing yarns for her artworks (right), photos by Lucy Hayward
Sustainably sourced yarns and environmental protection are essential elements of your design and production processes. Can you tell me a little about how you source the yarns?
LH: It really depends on the project. I try to use yarns which can be traced back to source if possible. The artworks are site specific, so I begin with fleece from sheep local to the area the artworks are focused on before carding then spinning the yarn myself. Some bespoke commissions begin with the client’s own fleece or yarn which always makes a project interesting!
Weaving on the loom, photo by Lucy Hayward
Alongside your homewares collection you launched Lucy Hayward Textiles Artworks at Collect Open last year with an exhibition of stunning abstract woven art. Can you describe your weaving techniques used in creating these artworks?
LH: I use a blend of heritage and contemporary weaving techniques to create the artworks. My largest loom has 32 shafts which allows me to create intricate patterns set up in advance, which flow organically through the woven design. In contrast, the images are created in a style which feels almost painterly. I base the design on a small sketch or painting I’ve made but weave the design without any guides or templates on the loom.
Close up of Lucy’s 32-shaft weaving loom (left) photo by Lucy Hayward, Lucy Hayward at the loom (right) photo by Aboyne Photographics
Woven artwork on the loom by Lucy Hayward (left), close up of yarns wound on bobbins (right), photos by Lucy Hayward
You have just returned from a weaving residency at the renowned Icelandic Textile Centre, in Blönduós, northern Iceland. Can you sum up a few of your highlights from your time there?
LH: It was an incredibly rewarding trip which allowed me the time and space to focus on specific parts of the design process I wouldn’t normally have as much time for. I think the biggest highlight for me was connecting with other makers from around the world. It was so inspiring to hear different perspectives on textile focused practices and the directions which others take their craft in.
You have already accomplished so much through your weaving practice, but what is next on the horizon for you and your work?
LH: I’ve got a pretty busy year ahead with a mix of private commissions, weaving workshops and interior pieces to work on. I’m also going to be weaving my Icelandic artwork collection ready to be exhibited early next spring before moving to a new studio space in the summer of 2024. Hopefully I’ll find time in between for a collaboration or two as well!
We’d like to thank Lucy Hayward for sharing these fascinating insights into her textile design and woven art.
Browse the Arra Textiles Artisan Collection to discover Lucy’s beautiful range of limited edition merino wool blankets, woven in intricate ocean-inspired patterns and colours.