INTERVIEW

ARTIST SERIES:
RENATE VON LÖWIS

PORTRAIT IMAGES BY MANUEL LIEBESKIND

Our Oddbird Artist series was born at the onset of the pandemic. It was a way for us to not only support incredible artists we love by profiling them and sharing their work but also to hopefully inspire our community on their own journey of creativity, finding new rhythms in uncertain times, and the healing act of making art.

Social media can definitely be a double-edged sword. However, when used as a conduit for inspiration to flow from one side of the world to the other, it so often feels miraculous. We met Renate this way. A tag from a dear friend on one of her pieces simply saying 'you would love this!' was all it took to spark a love affair with her incredible work and new friendship with a wonderful woman and artist, @RVLOM.

After all, Oddbird's foundation is built on traditional textile weaving and fiber art, a medium where Renate is a master.

Inspired by the Bauhaus movement that originated in Germany where she resides, Renate has spent her life dedicated to creating art in all its forms, and still to this day lives by the motto "you never stop learning", striving to make art that not only serves as "eye candy", but also makes a difference in the world.

We invite you to meet Renate as she welcomes us into her home weaving studio in Hamburg to share what magic is on her looms and chats about keeping creative, getting back into the swing post-pandemic, and her exciting new projects, including a much-anticipated bag collaboration with LA-based designer and OB favorite, Agnes Baddoo.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about who you are and how you found your art?

A. I have been an artist as long as I can think back in my life. Creating was always the main thing to do from when I was a kid up to now. When I was about 14, I was introduced to the Bauhaus Movement by an artist and close friend of the family who allowed me in his studio where I just played around with color. The weaving department was the most fascinating thing to me in the whole Bauhaus school. Our family friend was already over 80 years old at that time and I learned that he had been closely connected with the school and several artists back in the 1920’s. He lived in a house, that was completely furnished and equipped with originals from back then. It was very impressive for me as a kid to see a whole different, stylish and artistic way of living, as I was brought up in a very different environment. That’s how I found my art.

Q. How has your work evolved over the years?

A. After finishing school I went through 2 years of detailed hand weaving education. Once the education was finished a wild journey through the whole world of textiles, fashion, weaving, painting and art in general began. ‘You never stop learning’ was the first rule – I realised back then and it still is my motto these days. I developed my very own technique of knotting, which is related to the over 2000 year old Ghiordes knot. My passion for knotting became the main part of my work.

Q. What is your process for creating a new piece? How do you find your inspiration and how do you see the work through?

A. A lot of times I bring color combinations home from either a stroll through the city or a field trip through the countryside. Mainly, if I fall in love with a color combination I snap a photo and when I return to the studio I make a quick drawing and put it in my little color archive so I won’t forget it. The Bauhaus movement and Haute Couture Fashion have been the main inspiration for my creative work as long as I can think back. The combination of simplicity and bold is exactly what I want to do. I want to create eye candy. My goal is to create pieces that people find satisfying to look at.

Listening to music a lot is another way of getting inspiration – music works like color in my world. Basically I put some music on, sit down and let it flow….. and lucky me, it always gets to me easily.

Q. What was the 2020/2021 Covid pandemic like for you in Germany, and how did it affect your life and your art?

A. The past 2 years were very hard to survive financially, no art shows and all the stores that sell my work were shut down. On the other hand though, I did nothing else but work at my looms. So I created a lot of pieces, which I probably couldn’t have done without the lock down situation. That was in 2020 – around Christmas `21, I caught Covid19 and got really really sick for weeks and stayed very weak for months. I kept doing little things which weren’t so exhausting; mainly drawing. It felt like being a hermit, as I was not allowed to see people for quite a while… that was a pretty hard time. I am convinced my artwork basically saved my mental health.

Q. Now that the world is slowly opening back up, would you like to make plans to travel? If so, where?

A. I would book a ticket to the US, because that was on top of my list right before the pandemic hit the world. NYC, LA and San Francisco would be the places I would want go. Meeting friends I haven ́t seen in years and also meeting people I started to collaborate with, like you guys for example! Finding gallery shows in the US and also high end interior stores to go into business with… Because most of the people who enjoy my work, seem to be in the US.

I also want to mention Agnes Baddoo and I started a collaboration… we are working on a clutch bag right now, which I find really exciting. Her bags are so so beautiful, everybody should take a look, such a good style, and quality. I would totally like to meet her in person too.

You can visit Agnes’ website here.

Q. What are you working on next?

A. I would love to tell you about my LOVE EARNS LOVE initiative. Years ago, I created the LOVE logo and decided to use it to collect money for different organizations, which support women worldwide. I recently started working with Terre Des Femmes. I create merchandise products and look for partners like brands, stores, online stores and touring bands and artists who want to sell the product for a good cause. Everything after cost is given to an organization that supports women and women’s rights.

Check LOVE_EARNS_LOVE on Instagram, to see the little collection so far. The main idea behind the Merch is to have items that are really cool looking that have a simple message which everybody worldwide understands and it supports people. A lot of people wanted the LOVE shirts from my first series because they thought it was just a cool shirt and they were even happier when they learned that they donated money for a good cause.

Right before the pandemic, I had a list of several touring bands and artists who were interested to take the LOVE initiative on tour, but that completely fell apart… we all know why. I started to reboot the whole thing when I began to recover from Covid19. This helps me to get my motivation and power back and keep going on with everything I want to do in the future and it definitely helps me to sleep better at night.


ARTISTS I'M LOVING...

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Weaving Artist, @weaving.origami


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