Nfld. & Labrador

Hooked on baths: Artist recreates life-size bathrooms made entirely of wool

Textile artist Larry Weyand never took many baths growing up. Their new exhibit explores why using quirky bathroom replicas of their childhood bathrooms, made in wool.
It took over eight months for textile artist Larry Weyand to create two full-size replica bathrooms, using more than 300 skeins of wool. (Submitted/Craft Council NL)

You may be familiar with fuzzy bath mats and toilet seat covers of your grandmother's bathroom. 

But a new exhibit at the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council takes that esthetic to its extreme. 

All the Baths I Bathed In is the latest project from textile artist Larry Weyand. The entire exhibit — two full-size bathrooms — is made exclusively of wool. 

Weyand says they wanted to explore the transient space of the bathroom, but also create a fun, fluffy exhibit. (Submitted/Craft Council NL)

"The walls. The bathtub. The toothbrushes. The toilet. The toilet seat. The flusher. Everything inside is rug-hooked," said Weyand. 

"It creates this weird, soft, fluffy space to exist within." 

Made with more than 300 skeins of wool, it took Weyand over eight months to hook the pieces. The smaller items were all done by hand, with the walls and other larger sections made using a tufting machine — a gun-like instrument made for rug-hooking. 

Weyand hand-hooked all the finer details, including toothbrushes and toilet paper. (Submitted/Craft Council NL)

The rooms are replicas of the childhood bathrooms of their youth. 

Weyand, who's gender non-binary and uses gender-neutral pronouns, said this project was a way for them to explore some of the complex feelings they had growing up. 

"Bathrooms are such a weird domestic space. If you're not there to relax and take a bath and treat yourself to some sort of mini spa session, they become a space where it's transitional," said Weyand.

Two years ago, when they came up with the concept, they had bathed in only six bathrooms. They wanted to explore the reason why that was through this work. 

"You have to be incredibly aware of your body within these spaces. It's one of the only spaces in the house where the focus is on you, your personal body. And as someone who grapples with body issues or certain ideas about bodies, it was always a space that I never really liked existing in because I had to constantly look at myself."

Weyand says while there is a deeper meaning to their work, they want people to enjoy the work for its quirkiness too. (Submitted/Craft Council NL)

Weyand said much of their work deals with intergenerational trauma. This project was a way to bring up difficult topics with their family, and helped them come to terms with certain body issues. 

"The proof of that is that my bath count had doubled. So now I can safely say I've taken baths in about 12 bathrooms, or 13 now." 

While the project has deep meaning for Weyand, they hope young and old enjoy the exhibit however they wish. 

Weyand says working on this project enabled them to start difficult conversations with their family about body issues. (Submitted/Craft Council NL)

"I am putting the onus on the audience. If they want to go in and see the marvel of a rug-hooked bottle of Comet, then they can go in and see a can of Comet," they said. "But at the same time there is a lot of meaning. There is a really great opportunity to have conversations about this and ask yourself, 'Why bathrooms?'"

The exhibit is open at the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Council Galley until Feb. 11, with plans to take the exhibit to Halifax later this spring.

Melissa Tobin speaks with textile artist Larry Weyand about 'All the Bathrooms I Bathed In'

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