We at Unison have been big fans of Jamie Tubbs and her company Prophet Gypsy Robot
. Her focus on creating fiber tapestries through sustainable practices led us to work with her on a recent catalog, where we featured one of her weavings. It caused such a stir among our customers, we knew we had to partner with her on a set of unique pieces.
The Humboldt Framed Weavings repurpose post-production scrap fabric from our signature Humboldt bedding for a piece of sustainably sourced artwork with a modern edge. They’re available in 24″ x 24″
and 40″ x 30″
We asked Jamie some questions for this month’s #ArtinUnison to learn more about her, her process, and her collaboration with Unison.
Q: What interested you in working with Unison cuttings? You say on your site you like to create art with a specific environment in mind. Did you have one in mind while working on this collaboration?
A: I could never pass up a well suited opportunity to take some waste from production and create something beautiful and new out of it. This design was inspired by the natural materials, clean lines and graphic pops in the environments in Unison’s catalogs.
Q: What is unique about this collaboration?
A: I don’t think it’s common for manufacturers to reach out to artists in order to explore ways to recycle unavoidable waste, but I think it’s what the future needs to look like. Designers need to be showing the world that reuse can be aesthetically valuable, in addition to necessary. Working together, we’re able to offer people a way to design their homes with original art that’s also reducing waste.
Q: What would you say are signatures of your work?
A: Large scale, sustainable textiles, woven and hung on the loom. Or at least that’s what’s in my constantly evolving Instagram profile right now. This would be such an interesting question for me to ask others actually! I’m not sure if this is a signature or if every artist feels this way, but I have to experiment and do things differently or it feels inauthentic and unnecessary.
Q: What is your process for weaving?
A: My husband Nate and I build my looms with a miter saw in our garage, mainly from pine or oak or reclaimed lumber. I’d like to get into other materials like maple, ash and copper. I sell most of my work on the loom itself. When I started weaving, I did it this way to bring attention to the work/worker and bring the feeling of a work in progress. I continued to do it this way both to carry that story in my work as well as for aesthetics.
I’m always looking for textures and ways to manipulate the materials I have on hand to make them look new and fresh. I’m usually experimenting with a new stitch or technique or design idea. My entire weaving education has been the work itself. I got the idea to hand dye bedsheets and weave them, hanging it unfinished in the loom with the shuttle. I executed that idea a few years ago and just never stopped weaving.
Q: What particularly inspired your passion for sustainable art?
A: It’s a cultural value for me to use what I have. So, I came to it first because of the practicality. My mom and dad, their parents, and so on- blue collar folks who know how to make what they need out of what they have. I have an aversion to wastefulness. It just feels like common sense to me. I’ve had to learn the opposite, in fact- that sometimes good design isn’t utterly practical. So my work tries to combine both. I buy new rope, for example, because I don’t know how to find it used and I think it’s just beautiful and elevates the repurposed materials in my work.
My passion for caring for the environment has developed in the last few years from a million little things I saw or heard or read. One that sticks out to me was a documentary about American history that talked about how the native people lived for hundreds or thousands of years off the same buffalo herds, and when European settlers came to the West, they eliminated the herds in 3 generations manufacturing belts and stuff. Heartbreaking, avoidable, and motivating.