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