Erin Barrett has a gift; a natural and true talent. And we are certainly glad we stumbled across her beautiful weavings on Instagram @sunwoven. It was love at first site. The thoughtful designs throughout her work and, of course, all the fibers, colors and textures are incredible. Don’t miss Erin’s shop SunWoven on Etsy. Her designs sell quickly but she’s always adding new pieces and welcomes custom orders too. We have our eye on several but it’s almost impossible to choose. From mini scale weavings to impressively large pieces; we love watching and waiting to see what Erin has up her sleeve. Oh, and Erin’s three year old daughter, Sunny, makes the most adorable sales associate! Thank you for taking a few minutes to let us in to your sunwoven world. Read our full interview below. Here Comes The Sun… –SoS
Images: Elsie Larson
SoS: how long have you been weaving? how did you get started?
EB: I started my weaving journey in July 2014. I came across a tutorial on the blog, A Beautiful Mess, and was immediately attracted to the art of weaving. My husband spends a lot of time traveling for work, and after our three year old daughter is in bed for the night, I have a lot of time to myself. I had been searching for a new creative outlet for sometime, and when I saw the tutorial it jumped right out at me! I immediately got started the next day. Once I finished my first wall hanging, I was instantly hooked. (Weaving number one is currently hanging in our daughter Sunny’s room.) When I first began weaving, I was making them for friends and family members, then more and more people were requesting weavings, and custom orders. That’s when I realized that maybe I could open an Etsy shop… plus our house was overflowing with wall hangings that all needed new homes.
SoS: what does the name sunwoven mean to you?
EB: I knew I wanted the name of my business to be simple, explanatory, but also meaningful. Right off the bat, I thought of my daughter Sunny. Her name is so special to us, and fits her personality perfectly. Hopefully in being inspired by the joy that she brings me, a part of that will shine through in my work, and the business name.
SoS: what exactly is a lap loom?
EB: A lap loom is a smaller loom, without legs, that sits on your lap. Up until a few weeks ago, all of my work was made using my lap loom. I love, love, love it. For my birthday this year, my sweet husband surprised me with a frame loom. It’s a much bigger loom that can be adjusted to different sizes. Even though I have had this loom since September, I didn’t attempt to work with it until the end of December. The size of the loom was very intimidating, and I didn’t have the courage to try bigger pieces. After I finally finished my first large weaving, I was thrilled. Now I really enjoy using the frame loom along with the lap loom.
SoS: why wool?
EB: When I first began weaving, the thicker, chunkier wool yarns were the easiest for me to work with. Now that I have more experience, I’ve branched out and started using all sorts of materials, including both cotton and wool yarns. A few months back I found a bag of vintage ribbon in a local store. I have really enjoyed including materials such as gold, copper, and silver ribbon in my work.
SoS: where do you look for inspiration? what or who inspires you?
EB: This is my favorite question! My number one inspiration is color. I rarely start out with an exact idea in my head when I begin working on a weaving. The best part for me since I’ve started weaving, has been selecting colors, and putting color combinations together. Once I come up with a grouping of colors that I love, I let that sort of guide me through each piece. Sometimes the strangest color combinations look the best together… but you never know until you try it! But don’t get me wrong- I’ve most definitely made some questionable decisions when it comes to picking color combos.
SoS: fav. colors and color combinations?
EB: My favorite color to work with is definitely mustard yellow. Any shade of yellow really. I have also been surprised with how much I love to work with pink. Pink never would have been a color that I thought I would enjoy using, but more and more I find myself being drawn to all the various shades (mostly blush) of pink. All of my roving is purchased through Etsy. A few months back, I received the most beautiful wool roving in a gorgeous chartreuse color. I will look for any excuse to use that color of roving. The color combination I have enjoyed working with the most is this soft blue, the chartreuse roving, ivory, with touches of gold foil. The ending result is bold, yet subtle and soft. I actually am starting a custom order piece tomorrow using these exact colors. Couldn’t be happier about it.
SoS: describe your style? what are your wardrobe essentials?
EB: I am a summer gal through and through. I love living and dressing for the warm weather. Even though the winters are fairly mild in Charleston, I find it really difficult to dress for the fall and winter months. Almost every day of this past summer, you would find me in my favorite plain white C&C California t- shirt, denim shorts, and my nude Swedish Hasbeens. (Best purchase of 2014) Also, Madewell opened in Charleston over the summer… so double thumbs up for that!
SoS: Style Muse or Icon?
EB: Brigette Bardot. The hair, the eyeliner, the stripes. Everything!
SoS: top five songs on your playlist right now?
EB: We are most definitely a music loving family. My husband plays drums for the band Band of Horses, and spends a lot of time touring and practicing. Needless to say, music is a big part of our everyday lives. On top of it all, to be totally cliché, I love indie rock. As far as playlists go, a lot of what we are listing to is being decided on by Sunny. Here are a few we seem to listen to on repeat these days…
-Jenny Lewis “Just one of the Guys”
-St. Vincent “Birth in Reverse”
-Cate Le Bon “Duke” (whole record actually!)
-Anything by Kurt Vile
-Anything by Mac Demarco
-May I add one more? Tame Impala
SoS: winter or summer?
EB: 100% Summer! Hurry up already!
SoS: mountains or coast?
EB: I love the mountains, but I think I can officially say that we will always live by the coast. East coast, or west coast, as long as there is an ocean. I never really had an opinion either way when it came to the water, but each year I live in Charleston, I fall more and more in love with this city, and with living on the coast. We feel very blessed that we get to raise our daughter in and near the water.
SoS: favorite to follow on Instagram?
EB: OH! I just found the account @JaneBirkinDaily. Talk about inspiration! Mega babe.
SoS: best thing about being a mama?
EB: The best thing about being a mama… waking up next to my sweet Sunny every morning. Couldn’t wish for anything more.
SoS: if you had a crystal ball what might it tell you about the future for SunWoven?
EB: For something that started out as just an experiment and a hobby, it really has blossomed into this amazing thing that brings me so much joy. As long as I wake up everyday excited to start new projects and work on orders, I will continue on! Next up… an even bigger loom!!!
SoS: What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
EB: Before becoming a mama, I was a professional ballet dancer for 7 years. I grew up in the midwest, and got my first job with the Tulsa Ballet in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When it was time for something/somewhere new, I got a job in Charleston and moved to dance with Charleston Ballet Theatre. I currently am a ballet teacher at Ballet Academy of Charleston. I teach 3 year olds through adults! Ballet will always hold a special place in my heart, and will forever be a part of my life.