The colourful, arched forms of Anton Alvarez, currently on show at Gallery Libby Sellers in London, are fine examples of the new craft that he has developed over recent years – the craft of 'thread wrapping'.
Alvarez is a self-appointed intergalactic craftsman (see his blog here). In his quest, the Swedish-Chilean designer works with a companion; let us introduce his Thread Wrapping Machine. This intriguing contraption has seen some changes since it was first implemented, with the latest version of the device opening up the possibility to assemble objects in a new size – crafting components of an architectural scale. With a background in cabinetmaking, the exhibition of his work which can be seen in London is a development of his earlier, smaller-scale furniture works. Alvarez comments, 'Architecture is something that you can enter – instead of being outside of it you can go under it and become part of it.'
The Thread Wrapping Machine is a tool to join different types of material with only a glue-coated thread to bind the objects. No screws, joinery or nails are used to combine the different components of the furniture – only thread. Through this, Alvarez is free to join disparate materials, such as wood, steel or plastic, while also creating very specific patterns with the different colours of thread. Alvarez has been investigating alternative possibilities with the machine – looking at the structural capabilities of thread-wrapped fabric and the decorative details made possible by mixing the glue with paint. 'I have full control over the development of the machine,' said Alvarez, explaining that the set-up allows him to be independent from industry as well as from tradition. 'I can freely experiment and develop it according to what I discover are my needs in this new craft.'
The exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers in London continues until 16 January. The work of Anton Alvarez can also currently be seen at Space Craft: Architecture Meets Making exhibition (at the British National Centre for Craft & Design) and, from next month, as part of Subjectivities (at the Swedish Nationalmuseum).
Photos courtesy of the designer.
See the Thread Wrapping Machine in action in this video: