Art Series

Gina van der Ploeg

I Have A Hunch | 2021

In 2020, I built a Japanese backstrap loom with my dad. We gathered scrap wood and spent three weeks deciphering my scribbled measurements and notes, trying to recreate a loom I had fallen in love with in Kanagawa, Japan. In learning to use my loom, adjusting tensions, solving height issues, and weaving, I have become deeply interested in the hunched position my body assumes. I use the weight of my body and a lever attached to my foot to separate the warp and the set is designated by the width of my body; in this way, my whole body becomes inherently present in the making of the cloth. As I weave, I pull threads skew, leave gaps, and press chunky weft pieces in place, pushing the forms from flat cloth into hunched, bulbous, and leaning shapes that are more representative of my body in this process.


This convex body shape is also present in my harvesting of hyacinths, an abundant and invasive plant that I have explored as a weaving material in my work. Threads of sustainability and the exploring of alternate materials come to the fore in this work. The fabric, wool, and cotton used are all “waste” materials. Hyacinth paper is woven into some of the pieces and features as its own stack of bent, stooped, and tilting sheets. Thus, the hyacinth paper and the rags are linked both texturally and as they are dubbed “unuseful”, “discarded”, or “inconvenient”.


The long hyacinth paper sheets (sheaths/skins) and each woven piece is 172cm long, my height, manipulated into expressions that my spine generates when weaving and harvesting. Here, I draw on theories of kinaesthetic empathy in art that seek to understand how objects come to mean through the bodies moving and surrounding them. While arranging these tactile pieces that are reminiscent of the body in both texture and size, I speak to the body in motion, in temporary settling and resting, in holding, in suspension, in distorting, and in constant crouching.