New Bedford, MA
Block printing is one of the oldest methods of printing images and patterns, dating back to the year 220. Caroline’s block printed designs use simple shapes and highly intentional compositions, and can be found on her throws and blankets, pillows, napkins, and runners. Caroline works with a group of skilled weavers in New Bedford, Massachusetts—a place that once had more than 30 working textile mills employing more than 40,000 people. The weavers Caroline met in New Bedford had never block printed before, but had a desire to learn. Caroline trained the group to block print and they are now the sole producers of all of her block-printed products and fabrics,
The weavers of the Guatemalan Highlands are internationally recognized for their craftsmanship—especially for their ikat weavings. The tradition of weaving in Western Highlands communities, and specifically among the indigenous populations of the hilltop village of Totonicapán, are passed down through the generations; Caroline works with a weaver named Francisco who learned the craft from his mother, father, and sisters. Working with Francisco has been a truly collaborative experience for Caroline: his woven interpretations of her sketches have produced new and unique renderings, combining traditional Guatemalan aesthetics with the modernity of Caroline’s designs. In this way, the rugs and other weavings that Francisco and his group of weavers produce for Caroline Z Hurley are truly singular, and true objects of collaboration between artists.
Thirty minutes outside of Oaxaca City is a small town called Teotitlan, where Caroline works with traditional Zapotec weavers. The area is known for its textile history, and the craft of weaving is passed down through families—Pedro, the head weaver Caroline works with, is a third generation weaver, and is training his 22-year- old son Diego to take over the family business. Caroline spent a month with Pedro and his family, studying the traditional Zapotec techniques and learning to work on their looms, weaving with wool and cotton. After learning to weave in the Oaxacan style, Caroline began to incorporate other elements, such as rope and plastic bags, into her weavings. She and Pedro began an ongoing dialogue and collaboration around the potential for new ways of weaving, the result of which can be seen in the unique works that he and his group produce.