About Eliot Ward
Eliot Ward is a contemporary artist and craftsman. In 2007 after 15 years of running his successful architectural design practice Eliot finally succumbed to his acute and debilitating anxiety disorder. His condition was so serious that he suffered a total breakdown. To aid his rehabilitation his therapist encouraged him to take up a craft that would help focus his mind and calm his nerves. Eliot chose tapestry, a solitary and time consuming craft that benefits from an accurate almost mathematical artistic approach. His early attempts immediately showed a remarkable maturity and expertise, perhaps it was because the intricate detail and precision of the stitching had a natural synchronicity with his architectural training. He immersed himself into his work creating some magnificent yet traditional pieces. But Eliot’s natural inclination to experiment soon led him to start reinventing the methodology of stitching and knotting the strands of wool together. He began deconstructing his works and then rebuilding them, molding them into astounding pieces of three-dimensional art. Currently all of his works are figurative. He uses strands of wool to build up texture and create a feeling of movement. “The fibrous nature of the wool reminds me of muscle tissue. I approach each piece with the same aesthetics as I used in my architecture. I see the work as a 3D construction and I create the composition from the back, front and profile the piece simultaneously. I create the images from the inside out, repetitively hand stitching and knotting as I go along, adding texture and shade to contrast the highlights and contours of a face till the piece comes to life.” When the piece is finished Eliot uses gold acrylic to complete the work. The final addition of a symbolic gold edge is a nod to the tradition of placing finished tapestries in large gilded frames. Eliot has always loved portraiture and in his current works he questions our predisposition to look at the big picture; our brains take visual clues over the entire face to ascertain the mood of that person. By only giving the viewer part of the face he takes away many of those clues as to whether the image is happy or sad, sultry or cold and leaves it for the viewer to decide. He explores the way our brains can interpret the same image in different ways. When viewed up close his pieces look like precious samples of bizarrely woven carpet, a fascinating mixture of random knots and stitches in all different directions, but from a distance the images magically pull into clear focus and take on a surprisingly accurate photographic detail. His work really is astonishing. The pieces are beautifully presented, suspended in mid air, floating in a specially designed Perspex box. The viewer can get right up close to see the beautiful texture of the work and even get a partial view of the rear before standing back from it and drinking in the exquisite accuracy of the portrait and the precision of Eliot’s stitching. Eliot does accept commissions.