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Eliot Ward

Eliot Ward is a contemporary artist and craftsman.
 
For 20 years Eliot Ward ran a successful architectural design practice. But in 2007, he finally succumbed to a debilitating anxiety disorder so serious that he suffered a total breakdown.
 
To aid his rehabilitation, his therapist encouraged him to take up a craft that would help focus his mind and calm his nerves.
 
Eliot chose something solitary, time consuming and requiring mathematical precision: tapestry.
 
His early attempts showed a remarkable maturity and expertise. For him, the intricate detail of the stitching process had a natural synchronicity with his architectural training.

So Eliot immersed himself into his work. He began experimenting with the stitching process. He would even deconstruct and re-build his works, molding them into astounding pieces of three-dimensional art.

Currently all of his works are figurative. He uses strands of wool to build up texture and create a feeling of movement. Finally, Eliot uses symbolic gold edge to complete the work – a nod to the tradition of placing finished tapestries in large gilded frames.

These works question our predisposition to look at the big picture. Our brains take visual clues from the entire face to ascertain the mood of that person.

By only giving the viewer part of the face the artist takes away many of those clues. So we are unsure whether the image is happy or sad, sultry or cold. We have to decide.

When viewed up close his pieces look like precious samples of bizarrely woven carpet, a fascinating mixture of random knots and stitches in different directions. But from a distance the images pull into clear focus and take on a photographic detail.

The completed pieces are beautifully presented. They’re suspended in mid air, floating in a specially designed Perspex box. The viewer can get up close to see the beautiful textures and the precision of Eliot’s stitching.

Eliot says: “I approach each piece with the same aesthetics as I used in my architecture. I see the work as a 3D construction and I create the composition from the back, front and profile the piece simultaneously.

“I create the images from the inside out, repetitively hand stitching and knotting as I go along, adding texture and shade to contrast the highlights and contours of a face till the piece comes to life.”