The Handsome & Co Educational Taster: Patterns of Delight
– Anni Albers
Six-step cane weaving is a deceptively difficult task. Fortunately, it can be as informative as it is frustrating. It is a traditional weaving method using the ‘skin’ of the rattan cane. Weaving the strands together creates a strong flexible surface. It is light, breathable and replaceable which makes it ideal for chair seats and backs. The origins of the craft are vast, venturing from ancient Chinese window lattice designs to the mass produced Thonet café chairs of the 1850’s.
Given the time it takes to create the weave by hand, one is free to sit and overthink the philosophy which has shaped it. For me, the six-step cane weave communicates the relationship between the whole and the part, embodying the principles of growth in an ecological sense. This can be understood as study of ‘relationships’ – as response to a kind of ‘causal pattern’. As we weave, the relationship at play is between the idea and the contexture – understood as the nature of the weave and how it comes together. It can take some time, but understanding the whole (the pattern) reveals where the divisions naturally occur.
I would describe this as truly organic because it imitates nature in its mode of operation. There is a fundamental difference between unity – of a hierarchical order, and uniformity – an endless repetition; for nature abhors uniformity and loves unity. Once the weave is complete, we have achieved unity – now, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Photography and article by Rhys Jones