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Ariadna Donner
Please, wait for the image to be loaded! Work of Ariadna Donner
16. Ariadna Donner Finland

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I really didn’t choose tapestry as the object of my artistic efforts: tapestry seems to have chosen me. As a ten-year-old, I saw a film about North Africa in which a girl of my age was sitting at a loom weaving a carpet. I was so deeply impressed that I wanted to follow her example. After leaving school, I became a student at the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki and, obviously, wished to join the textile art programme. Although I express myself in other ways also, it seems that tapestry is closest to my mind. It is as though my ideas progress at the same tempo as the threads sliding through my fingers. There is even some kind of a tactile connection between me and the colours of the threads that makes me identify with my tapestries.

      (…) There is always a lot of mental preparation before beginning a new tapestry. I usually make some small pencil drawings and notes. At this stage of the work, I find it hard to reproduce the colours in my mind, and actually I don’t even like to constrain my thoughts by such drafting. After weaving approximately ten centimetres, I attach a black-and-white sketch behind the warp. While the weaving progresses, this outline always changes and grows. That’s how my tapestries are woven, and I cannot really see how this could happen in collaboration with an assistant.

      It was at the ‘Kárpít 2’ exhibition in Budapest in 2005 that I first saw the tapestry Mercury Hands over the Infant Bacchus to the Nymphs. The dynamic composition portrays a cheerful social event by utilising extraordinarily light, almost transparent, colours. The work made me recall moments from my childhood, when I listened to my father telling me stories from Graeco-Roman literature and mythology. He had written a doctorate on this subject at the Charles University in Prague. This was my father’s version of bedtime fairy tales. The tapestry’s theme was familiar to me, since I had, of course, learnt about Ariadne, who became Bacchus’s (Dionysus’s) wife after Theseus had left her on Naxos. After his studies, my father joined the family, which in the meanwhile had emigrated from Russia to Finland. The war tore Europe apart, and the dreams of many young persons. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this small piece of tapestry to my father, as it is a fine metaphor for European healing and unification. My contribution to this collective effort is located at the bordure of the tapestry. The dominant shape is a dog, which is a metaphor for fidelity. Written messages have the capacity to expand culture and they unify nations. Therefore, I have entered in my part Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit words for trust, devotion, and friendship. Migrant birds, which fly across the textile, do not heed the borders of our countries. They follow Mercury’s example by communicating messages of fidelity from one country to another.