Craft has always been one of Jonathan Anderson’s biggest passions. Under his creative direction, Loewe launched the Loewe Craft Award in 2016, refurbished their flagship stores to look more like art galleries (a fine example is our very own Casa Loewe) and now, they have become the first luxury maison to collaborate with renowned auction house Sotheby’s on an intriguing project titled Loewe Weaves.
Loewe Weaves is centered on the humble roaster—a handmade clay pot punctured with numerous holes, used in Galica, Spain for roasting chestnuts. It is sturdy, plain, and wholly prosaic in its utility, but one thing Anderson knows better than anyone else is that functionality does not have to be at odds with creativity. Beneath the hands of artisans from all around the world, 92 roasters have been transformed into 92 different works of art.
The holes in the roaster—a nightmare for those with trypophobia—offer fertile ground for the artists to play around and experiment. Japanese artist Arko filled the holes with bushels of straw—her signature material which she uses to pay tribute to traditional customs amid Japan’s rapid modernisation. She gives Vogue an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at her creative process.
Likewise, Min Chen from China celebrated his culture by weaving strips of bamboo—a plant of immense symbolism to the Chinese—into flowers and then planting them in the roaster’s holes.
Spain’s Laia Arqueros, whose works often explores feminist themes, decided to only focus on two roaster holes in particular. She stuffed one with a pair of comically huge clay eyes and the other with a brightly-painted clay mouth blowing a raspberry, creating an overall effect that is both playful and provocative.
Other artisans, including Idoia Cuesta and Belen Martinez from Spain as well as several from Loewe’s own ateliers, have also interpreted the roaster’s form in their own ways. For the surface, they have chosen to paint or glaze or just leave it untouched. And there is no limit to their imagination when it comes to the roaster’s holes, which have been braided or passed through with almost every material under the sun, including fabrics, ribbons, rope, leather strings, wool threads, and feathers. In line with Anderson’s belief that “authentic craft is sustainable”, most of the artisans’ embellishments are made with the brand’s surplus materials.
Of course, no Loewe project can leave out the luxury house’s signature fine leather goods, which have also been given a dose of weaving magic. The fun Elephant bag is reimagined in woven raffia, while the classic Balloon bag gets a roaster-like makeover with flower embellishments woven from surplus leather. Other items in the Loewe Weaves collection include pouches and net bags.
The Loewe Weaves collection will be available in store and online from 27 May 2021.