Pia Jensen is a consummate weaver. A weaver who not only masters her trade but lives it. A weaver whose grasp of loom, yarn and their shared space of possibilities is present in her hands, skills and intuition. Pia Jensen sees the world through the lens of weaving. As an experienced and dedicated craftsperson who sometimes needs 70 colour samples to get the colour just right. She sees how colours, details or patterns in her environment can be translated into textile works of art. Mainly rugs.
Not the kind of magic we know from fairy tales but the kind of magic that comes from being the literal basis of lived life for many years. Fifty, to be precise. That is the lifetime of a hand-woven rug by Pia Jensen. The story lasts even longer, spun as it is from inspiration springing from iconic works of architecture and art, like the Matthias Church in Budapest, the Usuki Stone Buddhas in Kyushu, Japan, Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia in Spain, Potala Palace in Tibet, the Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris in Meknes, Morocco, and the Qeysarriyeh Bazaar in Isfahan, Iran.
She also finds inspiration in the sand of the Rub’ al Khali Desert in Oman, in Niels Nedergaard’s geometric paintings and in the rich and intricate ornamentation of Moorish architecture.
Like the blue chair in a hallway in Copenhagen’s historic Christianshavn district in a private assignment. Like the sea outside the windows in another. Quality is a must and is not made out to be anything else. An fundamental condition and a natural premise for creating pieces that last. For private or public commissions. It takes time to decode a home or a public building and find the right path for the textile to follow. Details, colourways and patterns are often guided by a key idea that Pia Jensen uses as a theme in her weaving.
Not only through warp and weft and the meditative rhythm of weaving but through her attentive way of being in the world.
Throws and scarves are other textile objects made by Pia Jensen’s skilled hands at the loom. Some are made of upcycled surplus materials, others are woven of silk that she has personally brought home from Syria and turned into unique scarves with Syrian inspiration and Danish influences. In recent years, site-specific commissions have come to play a growing role, and she has added new materials to her portfolio, as she transforms wood, plaster, acrylic, ceramic and mirrors into spatial constellations that define new ways of being and new spatial possibilities. A translation of the spatial character of textile to the tactile qualities of space. A new path. A new journey.
now in a new range of materials. Driven by the same thorough approach that she always brings to her work and with the potential to transition from decorative projects to individual designs in their own right. Conceived and created on the basis of reflective curiosity, tactile sensitivity and mathematical precision. What does a room have to offer? What should it offer? And what can and should the spatial experience be like?
Pia Jensen is a weaver. A designer. A materials expert. A travelling observer. A travelling expert on experiencing and being present in the moment. At home and abroad. Beacause weaving begins with seeing …
“When I get my bicycle in the morning, the spider’s web is often stretched out between the bicycle shed and the shed with the waste bins. On busy days I don’t notice it and get caught in the sticky web. An early morning greeting and a the many lives unfolding around me.
On quiet damp mornings, I am fascinated by the strength and the lightness – the intricate structures and the spider’s skill and diligence. I admire the diversity of lines and that tiny degree of irregularity in the weave that makes the pattern come to life. That piques my senses and becomes an image of what I often strive for in my own work.
The strength and utility, which go beyond the merely decorative. Survival in the unforgiving natural world. The constant effort to secure concrete sustenance. The awareness that, despite my superior size compared to any spider, I may not be the strongest or the smartest hits me in the back of the head. I am a speck in the universe.
The beauty of the details, the wealth of expressions and a recognition that spans across the natural and the man-made. Our attempts at replicating the master’s skill. Technologically, we have accomplished that. Artificial spider silk is a real product, which is used – wisely or stupidly – to make protective T-shirts for soldiers going into combat, a technological fibre that offers protection against bullets and death.
My own attempts at expressing and recreating nature’s diverse range of structures – the model of the atom, the molecule and the hexagon. The spider’s web, constructed with painstaking precision. First, the simple outer frame lines, then round and round, from radial line to radial line. A slight disruption and a new direction. Another round.
To be trapped in a web! To be stuck in one’s own web, eternally going round and round in a search for sustenance – is that what we do? Do we turn into big fat spiders, firmly seated, guarding our food, without seeing how easy it would be for us to escape? Louise Bourgeois and her enormous bronze creatures come to mind. Did she have spider’s webs? As a metaphor for the things we keep out of sight and perhaps push aside for too long?
What am I pushing aside, what do I keep tucked away in a corner, what do I keep boxed up? Maybe nothing, because I enjoy the unboxing. I want to see what is hiding at the bottom of the box. I want to get back to the wealth and beauty of the detail. The speck in the universe that grows and turns into structure. The fact that we are all trapped in one big spider’s web that will eventually hold or break under our weight. How can I express that?
A spider spins its own silk. It weaves. I am spinning a yarn, a story that radiates out in many directions. I use yarn to weave, my text weaves in and out of context. The spider’s web is produced by a spider, which has spinnerets protruding from the back of its body. The silk used to make the web is extruded from spigots on the spinnerets. There are many different types of webs, with orb webs and canopy webs among the most common. A spider can make up to six different kinds of silk. How many can I make?”
Pia Jensen, 2019
Creating a site-specific piece for a room or a building requires a particular gaze. An eye for details and the larger whole that makes it possible to convey the unique story of the room or the site as intended. To tie the treads together into a coherent whole that works in practice in the given context. That is an art that Pia Jensen masters to perfection, thanks to her sensitive awareness of the many different elements in the process, including architecture, history, materiality and functionality.Look what others have done
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