It was while studying Textile Design as a mature student at Central St. Martins that she discovered weaving. “At first it was it was like playing the piano but that the weaving loom was my instrument. I used to want to let musical notes create a pattern within the fabric.” Developing the idea further she began working with music producers designing software that ‘granulates’ sound into pixelated patterns. Beautiful silk fabrics are then woven into the geometrical designs creating unique pieces reminiscent of sound waves.
“If I could bottle and sell the process it would be great! I’m often asked if I can your turn a favourite song into an art textile piece.” Each piece usually takes five full days from capturing the audio and creating a design. “Once I put the music to software, I’ll start translating it and while I’m doing that I’ll start listening to the musical patterns over and again collating colours, textures and imagery that encapsulate and visualise the music. I’ll be trying to visualise the music.
When you’re a dancer you do the same for different music such as hip hop or ballet. You learn how to express yourself to a particular piece and it’s similar with textiles.” On sharing her inspiration starting point, Ricketts says it can work both ways. “At first started with the music and I’d wonder what it would look like visually. But also now I’ll walk into an interior that could be baroque for example, and I’ll start to think about the music for that space.”
The idea has taken several steps to come to market. After graduating in 2009 Nadia went to work full time for the Arcadia Group in fashion. “I was still putting my work forward for exhibitions and presentations because it just so happened that my idea was at a time when there was a lot of mixing innovations of digital technology with craft techniques, so it was a talking point. In the end, I was made redundant but by then I’d already had some good feedback, so I thought let’s see where it leads me.”
Nadia-Anne Ricketts at the Racmaninov Story with London Philharmonic Orchestra. Credit: Mike Kemp Photography.
BeatWoven has since gone on to win several awards including the Cockpit Art Foundation in 2012 where she received a working studio, launching her work into a full-time practice. It’s also taken nearly two years to confirm music right legalities, and the software is always “ever evolving” and an on-going project.
But the persistence has paid. While at her first Milan show last year a Harrods buyer spotted her work and asked her to become part of their London Design Trail.
One thing’s led to another, and now Beatwoven is retailing to international acclaim. “When I first started getting funding I didn’t know how it was going to work but as I’ve gone along its always grown organically, in baby steps really.”
Unique career steps and marching to her own beat, things look set to continue as she was recently announced as one of the emerging makers for the Craft Council’s Hothouse starting in February.
Thank you Nadia for helping others craft and create their own career story.
This YourStoree interview was edited for the web.