ARTIST INTERVIEW: Rhiannon Griego
Company: Ghost Dancer Collection
Artist: Rhiannon Griego
We are excited to introduce a new fiber artist to the EPCF family this season! Rhiannon Griego is a weaver and jewelry designer based out of Ojai, California. Her intrinsic connection to nature is one of the many woven threads that has allowed her to explore her process as a fiber artist. Each year behind the loom, she delves further into the origins of myth through weft and warp, displaying landscape like imagery through organic matter.
Drawing upon her one sliver of her lineage, Tohono Oodham, she found a intuitive compass guiding her towards the binding of fibers to weave her world. Her textile works have continued to build in intricacy and singularity over the years with rigorous study of many influential disciplines, such as the Wabi Sabi foundation of Saori weaving, enabling not just manual skill but also by finding meditation within the repetition and movements of the loom.
Tell us about your current work and how that work has evolved since you first started your business?
Presently, I am involved in the materialization of my first cast jewelry line. This project has been an endeavor I have sought to create since I studied sculpture with my mentor in 2006. The creative challenge behind wax carving and miniature sculpture is entirely different from beading and weaving on a floor loom, and it’s proving to churn the wheels of imagination and innovation.
Sculpting and carving wax are like addition and subtraction; there’s a subtle process in balance to achieve the right piece. The alchemical transformation of wax to metal is also reflective of the refinement process and value of my work; I commenced with glass beads and am now designing with gold and sapphires. I recently decided to show my work under my official name, Rhiannon Griego, rather than Ghost Dancer Collection and it feels right to be sharing my hand-crafted work under my given name.
The first incarnation of Ghost Dancer was comprised of meticulously beaded jewelry and has since transformed into a parallel process of meditative textiles, hand-loomed in my studio. The evolution of the mediums shifts every few years while the process of mindfulness and intricate nature remains. The form and structure of the present woven body keep expanding as well, from wall hangings to multi-dimensional garments. My material choices change each year, inspired by travels or landscapes that encourage me to weave with more natural fibers. I’ve moved around quite a bit the last eight years, from the desert to the redwoods and the foliage has had a substantial impact on my design.
How long have you been participating in the Echo Park Craft Fair?
I’m thrilled to be both attending and contributing as a vendor for the first time.
How does being a part of the EPCF community inspire you?
I’m familiar with many of the designers and artists who’ve been participating in this event. It’s encouraging to be surrounded by individuals who are thriving with their craft and dwell in a respectable echelon of design. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the mysterious journey textiles have taken me on, always reminding me to stretch the boundaries of my creative vision and abilities. To be surrounded by such incredible talent is a beautiful reflection of where I am as an artist, and where I’m headed. Showcasing along female-run businesses as well, is indeed one of my favorite components of this fair.
What techniques do you use to produce your designs? What is the history behind those techniques, and does that inform how you use them?
The lost wax technique is the foundation for my blossoming jewelry line. Lost wax casting has been traced back 6,000 years and therein lies my fascination; it’s an archaic process that is still used to create beauty and symbolic treasures in this modern era.
As for my textiles, I work on a variety of looms to achieve the desired vision. I vacillate between a Japanese floor loom, a Navajo loom, and a vintage 12 harness floor loom. My training is in Saori Japanese Zen Weaving which is a free form approach to weaving, one without rigid rules, allowing the materials and loom to inform me of the direction. It’s a process that keeps me fluid and in present surrender to what comes forth by warp and weft.
Plain weave has been the primary technique with rya knots, sumac, macrame, interlocking, and tapestry included. Weaving has been linked to almost every civilization around the world, laden with ritual and tradition behind its usage. The common utilitarianism approach to weaving is what captivated me and provided a foundation for me to experiment with my myths as an artist. I believe it’s the fibers I weave with that inform the work and my tactile relationship with them helps to build the final piece.
What impact do you hope your creative work will have on your community?
I’ve aspired to remind my community how cloth and clothes were initially made through my process. I’m inspired to remind people to touch their clothes and to learn about their fiber choices, what they are regularly wearing and how long a garment would have taken to produce before industrialized manufacturing came to be commonplace.
My work is a testament to slow and mindful creations and my hope is that it inspires others to remember the investment of time and energy creations carry within them. I love selling my work directly to the consumer, so my clients and community personally know the maker that sits behind this traditional instrument and weaves their clothing! I don’t produce yardage for other designers yet, but I aspire to create an impact for others to team up with weavers to create unique fabrics and yardage for one of a kind projects too.