“There is just something so beautiful about working with natural fibres,” says Tanika Reed. “Watching the morning and afternoon light catch on the threads as I weave is probably up there on my list of favourite things in the whole world.” The fibre artist, who is based on the South Coast of NSW, turned to weaving after experimenting with other craft forms, including clay and painting. It also coincided with her husband leaving his full-time job to go back to university, and having two babies close in age. “It made me realise I needed some sort of funding to fuel my obsession with buying craft and art supplies,” she says. Through Reed Smith Co she creates a range of weaving designs and accepts custom orders. The designs, which involve hundreds - sometimes thousands - of knots, can take many days to create.
Which five words best describe you? Daydreamer, visionary, creative, chatty, indecisive.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I began knotting away at night at home and posting photos of my work onto Instagram. People started emailing and asking for custom weaves. The creative Instagram community is so supportive and inspiring. I have met some amazingly beautiful people on there and it is so cool to meet makers all over the globe, it has definitely helped open my eyes to so many mind-blowing artists on my own turf too.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Gosh, I’ve learnt so much yet there is still so much to learn. I think one of the most important things is to celebrate your achievements, big and small, with those you love. Keep the family involved. Look for beauty every day, notice the moments that make your heart smile.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Definitely having some work featured in last month’s Real Living magazine. It is and always will be surreal to see your stuff featured on glossy pages. I was also just given the most heart-melting review of my work from an Australian painter who I very much respect and admire. As I type this we have just packaged up our first ever woven wedding arbour which took a whopping 50-plus hours to weave, definitely my biggest order and weave to date.
What’s been your best decision? To give weaving another crack. I began knotting plant hangers mid last year and grew bored of it pretty quick. I then want on a craft binge and tried my hand at rolling clay, abstract art and crocheting - much to the detriment of our family budget! It wasn’t until my husband encouraged me to give macramé another go that I really began exploring texture and contemporary design with the traditional art.
Who inspires you? My daily inspiration comes straight from my Maker’s hands. He truly is a magnificent Creator. I also owe my technique to my two-year-old daughter. I was watching her colour in one day, drawing bold lines and colouring in the shapes she created and I really felt inspired to do this with rope and string.
What are you passionate about? Far out, there are so many things. Spontaneous finds of wild ferns and branches on the side of the road, my ever-growing antique and handmade vessels collection, layering different textures, creative mess. I have a huge weakness for large-scale art. I am passionate about people discovering their own creativity then pursuing it and thriving in it. I love that my daughter says to me almost every day “Mummy, I want to make something!”
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jesus. I wouldn’t mind a good yarn with Nelson Mandela either.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To have our own workshop/studio/gallery space in an old industrial/factory setting.
What are you reading? The wording on the timber beams in our roof above my head, I still cannot figure out if the logo says “Not for use North of the Tropic of Capricorn”, or “Not for use worth of the Trojan of Caterpillar”.
images courtesy of tanika reed