I was born and raised on the west coast of Sweden where I was taught to weave by my grandmother
who wove rag-rugs for the neighbors. After studies in Math and Physics at Lunds Universitet I
emigrated to the US. I have always had threads going through my hands and while living in Montana
I learned to spin and had my first big loom made for me. To create the kind of weavings I had
visions of, I realized that I needed an art education, so back in California I got a BFA in
painting from San Francisco Art Institute, knowing that it would be much quicker to work through
my thoughts in oil rather than by tapestry. I later went back to school and got an MFA in Textile
from San Francisco State University.
Because my name is a strange one, whenever I meet a new person I have to explain that I am from
Sweden and that my husband's ancestors were one of the first hispanic families to move to
California. These thoughts of origins led to a large body of work that is still ongoing. The pieces
are called "Crossings", alluding to both the crossing of threads that is the basis of weaving and
also the immigrants' crossing of borders. It amazes me that after spending many more years here than
in Sweden I am still very much a Swede. Crossing a border to immigrate is not a one-time occurrence.
It persists in a suspension of time. Time, that I express in the laborious process of weaving, of
warping, dyeing, rolling on, threading, slaying, and throwing the weft across. I work on a 16 shaft
loom that gives me many design possibilities.
Over the years I have experimented with all the natural fibers and done most of the dyeing myself.
I work with a technique to paint both the warp and the weft with thickened dyes before the yarns are
woven together. I also use ikat that gives the same result. The imagery I often use are the
petroglyphs of western Sweden. They are the actors in my pieces. Weaving damask they become imbedded
in the fabric as they are on the granite shelves on the coast.
Weavers like many practitioners of crafts have a habit of amassing yarns. A good friend passed away
and I received much of her stash. I work now to honor her and many others by using as much of their
yarns as possible, naming the pieces after them: Gisela's Linen, Margits DMC, Old Yarns and New Work.
Ulla de Larios
web site: http://www.ulladelarios.com