Wen-Ying creates handbags woven in metallic yarns!

Wen-Ying creates handbags woven in metallic yarns!

Tainan-based artist Wen-Ying Huang’s works are characterized by the use of light-sensitive and metallic yarns and in this issue of our ongoing series, “What’s on you Loom”, we showcase her latest works, where she creates handbags with stainless-steel, colour-coated copper and teflon cable! And what’s more is that the Artist also shares tips on how to handle these non-traditional materials.


Wen-Ying’s recent creations deal with the idea of inside/outside and visible/concealed. The artist believes that the inside energy is contained by the calm outside – the hot and boiling lava or flame is enclosed by cool water.

The Artist says that the form of handbag, tote or brief case is the metaphor of journey. Wen-Ying created these on a 2-Wide TC- 2 loom with 6 modules, set as 2 in width and 3 in depth (45 epi). While the warp was stainless steel, the Artist used two different materials for the weft, which were colour-coated copper and teflon cable. The weave structures : two or three wefts shade weave.

Words from the expert…

We’ve often got inquiries from weavers asking how to go about weaving with metallic yarns and so, we asked Wen-Ying to pen down a few pointers for us…

“During my graduate study time, about 30 years ago, I wove for my adviser as a research assistant. That was my first experience of weaving fishing line and different metal threads. In 1997, students and I wove a public art project. We chose similar materials for the durability and easy maintenance. After that project, I started to use metal yarn to weave art works. Since 2001, I have explored Jacquard hand weaving and also tried metal yarn too. After years’ experiment, I can use steel as warp on jacquard hand loom. Then I can weave all-metal rigid fabric and fabricate them into 3D free-standing works.

From my experience, it is better to use sectional warping when use steel as warp; unless the warp is short and narrow for a treadle loom or sample loom. A beam winder and section device for warp beam are customarily made for my TC-2. The breast beam, back beam and shuttle track are covered with anti-slip pad or masking tape to protect the surface of TC-2. Since the steel yarn is so different from regular yarn, I need to adjust my shuttle-throwing gesture and many weaving details. Despite the tedious processes, the best thing is no lint or dust created while weaving.

The shining surface of metal yarn is intriguing to me beside the rigid and easy-to- shape quality. That led me to explore different light-sensitive materials, for example: reflective yarn, luminous yarn and transparent nylon.”



Fiber Artist Wen-Ying Huang is based in Tainan city, Taiwan. She graduated from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1993. From 1997 till 2017, she taught at the Fiber Division, Graduate Institute of Applied Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan. Since 2001, she practiced and studied computer Jacquard hand weaving. Images, weave structures and materials are the media that she uses to express her different thinking about daily life. Light-sensitive yarn and metal thread are her main materials. Non-traditional materials with innovative weave structures create unique image and forms. She has participated in many international fiber exhibitions, for example: “Rijswijk Textile Biennial 2011”, 1st, 2nd and 3rd International TECHstyle Art Biennial, 4th to 9th From Lausanne to Beijing International Fiber Art Biennale and 1st Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art satellites show.


Wen-Ying’s Website, Blog