Fierce, 2015

The making of ...

Fierce, this work is inspired by the scratch paintings of the German painter Gerhard Richter and the ferocious way in which they appear to have been made.

Inspiration from a painting

Abstraktes Bild 779-2 by Gerhard Richter, 200 x 180 cm, 1992, oil on canvas.


A 'squeegee' abstraction with horizontal and vertical stripes in bright colours. I wanted to capture those colours next to each other in a handwoven piece.

A challenge in itself because weaving is always the result of warp and weft and therefore mixes the colours used in warp and weft.


That is why I thought of a rep weave, warp-faced rep.

Collaging the painting

First I made a collage with coloured cardboard. The picture is a cut out of the upper left corner.

I like making collages as a way of designing because I can shift the colours as long and as often as I want.

This may take me far form the original before the new arrangement appeals to me in its own right. To me that is the charm of collage making.


With this work I wanted to stay quite close to the original. However taking the weavability into consideration I used a grid structure with square blocks.

Analysing the painting

As next step to a weavable design I used Excel. 

I like to use Excel because it gives me the opportunity to easily square and colour the cells and use the program as a design tool.


When using rep weave it is important that there are only two colours per vertical strip from top to bottom in the design. That's why I translated the collage into the Excel design with this in mind. Now I needed to decide what colours to use and which colours to be dominant.

Rep weave

Warp faced rep weave is a warp faced plain weave. You put the warp threads so close together that no weft shows. To get the ribs, you alternate between thick and thin filler in the weft. Because the weft is completely covered by the warp, colour patterns must be made in the warp.

3900 warp threads design

I wanted the woven piece to be about 110 x 130 cm. Considering edges to tighten round stretchers, like a painting, and with 30 threads/cm in the warp I made a drawing with 3900 warp threads in the weaving program WinWeef.


In WinWeef it was not possible to see the whole drawing on the screen. To keep an overview I had to copy it from WinWeef in 12 pieces to another program with more zoom-out possibilities, like Excel or Powerpoint, and reassemble it.


The picture on the right is one of the 12 pieces and the video shows the whole design.


Warping, threading the heddles and weave

Now that the design is all done, it was time to choose yarn, make the warp and put it on the loom. The threading of the heddles was almost endless given the large number of warp threads. The weaving itself was easy and quickly finished because of the thick weft.

Finally I stretched the fabric around stretchers of 110 x 150 cm.