In our continued quest to connect with other artists who make things by hand here on the island, we were so happy to meet Cloë Collette, weaver of beautiful mandalas.
We were initially drawn to Cloë's work for obvious reasons: the rich textures, her handwoven fibers and her rich color combinations. As a knitter who developed a deep appreciation for yarns years ago, I recognized materials in Cloë's mandalas that I had seen in my mom's beautiful knitting. Cloë sources yarns that are hand loomed in far corners of the world and then hand dyed to achieve unique & rich variegated textures. She pairs these wool, silk & cashmere fibers in complementary & contrasting patterns to achieve a really striking result.
But what exactly is a mandala, and why were we drawn to its beauty? The story of how Cloë discovered mandalas in Nepal felt strangely similar to how Thomas & I came to the world of textile design: it all started with a creative awakening during travel. A woodworker & textile artist by trade, Cloë left her 3 shops in Amsterdam to travel the world. It was in Nepal that she saw simple stick crosses joined by yarn and asked what they were. Locals taught her how to string yarn around tree bits to make these small symbols of protection, and the rhythmical movement felt meditative. Throughout the next 2.5 years of her travel, Cloë wove hundreds of small mandalas and gifted them to other travelers and locals.
Nowadays, Cloë introduces a modern interpretation into this traditional weaving practice. She may take a traditional 8-point mandala and adapt it to include 12 points. The new design pays homage to the original Mexican & Tibetan symbolism: protection from evil spirits. The Buddhists believe a mandala is a way to give answers on life. Either way, Cloë's creations are a blend of ancient handcraft and modern beauty. And of course, an powerful inspiration for the work we do with our hands too.