To art disciples it may appear as if weaving is in the throws of a renaissance, but a quick review of history will show that it's always had a ubiquitous place in great civilisations. A means to keep warm. A medium to tell stories. A tactile, meditative practice of expression. Anni Albers of the Bauhaus Movement saw the potential of weaving as a high art form and not just a 'women's craft', paving the way for a modern reinterpretation of the ancient ritual.
Poppy Kural continues that tradition today from her beachside home in Sydney's Bronte, weaving both traditional yarns of flax as well as delicate threads of brass into intricate pieces of art.
We spoke to Poppy about her practice and inspiration, as well as how cooking brings on the same sense of calm and joy that her weaving brings. Here, our conversation notes.
On what you do?
I'm a weaver.
How you found your medium?
I have always loved making things, since I was a child. We went to Steiner school, my dad was a rush weaver and my mum an artist. I grew up in a creative household so it was a part of my upbringing. When I finished school I studied textile design at RMIT in Melbourne. This is where I really learnt how to weave. I moved back to Sydney and finished my studies at COFA, where I incorporated sculpture and weaving into most of my body of works. My art has evolved and refined from there.
Where do you look for your inspiration?
My environment always influences my work. Whether it's my natural and physical environment or the energy and emotion of the current environment I'm in, my works are always a result of that. The show that i'm currently in with Lily Nicholson at Yeah Nice Gallery in Byron bay is called "Liminal," meaning; an in between phase, the small moments, a pause. My work in quite meditative and my inspiration definitely comes from these times in the day or in life that are breathing spaces and times of reflection - woven gaps in time. I'm also influenced by my materials. I use a lot of brass wire, and am drawn to the reflection of it upon the light and the way it feels as i'm working with it - it makes me feel a sense of calm and peace.
How does cooking align with your art?
Cooking for me is like creating an artwork - the colours, the flavours, the aromas. Like weaving, cooking makes me feel a sense of calm. It brings me joy to cook for my family and friends - knowing they are being nourished by food cooked with love!
Poppy shares a recipe she cooks often with her family.
Beetroot and Brown Rice Risotto
- 1 cup brown rice soaked
- 4 small beetroots grated
- 1/4 cauliflower grated
- 3 sage leaves
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 onions diced (can use leek too)
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 lemon for juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper
- Goats cheese for serving
1. Soak the brown rice for at least 8 hrs.
2. Strain and wash the brown rice and place to the side.
3. Heat butter in a cast iron pot on medium.
4. Add the onion garlic and sage leaves and cook til golden.
5. Add the brown rice and stir.
6. Add the broth, squeeze of half the lemon and cup of water.
7. Add the grated beetroot and cauliflower and turn the heat up high until it comes to a boil. Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat down and simmer for about 40 minutes.
8. You'll know it's ready once most of the liquid has been soaked up and the rice is cooked.
9. To serve, add lots of lemon, even some zest, olive oil and goats cheese.