How weaving artist Nadine Marchal-Pierrel interpreted the Grand Canyon’s breathtaking layered horizon into adventure-ready sandal straps. Photos by Thomas Oliva and Teva.
It’s tough enough to encapsulate the spectacular majesty of the Grand Canyon in a single photograph; let alone on a woven strap that’s less than two inches wide. Yet if there’s anyone who can spin the Canyon’s layered horizon into a wearable work of art, it is French weaving artist Nadine Marchal-Pierrel.
Since 1993, Nadine has translated her handwoven designs into geometric webbing patterns for Teva. Webbing is a special weaving technique used to create the sturdy straps you love on Teva sandals.
In honor of the Grand Canyon’s Centennial celebration, Nadine created an exclusive GC100 Boomerang pattern inspired by the National Park icon where Teva was born. We caught up with Nadine to learn more about why the Grand Canyon was the ultimate muse and her creative process as an artist.
Tell us about yourself as an artist and how you came to design patterns for webbing straps.
I was designing for different outdoor brands in France when I started to create the first jacquard designs for webbings. It was a technical challenge and I worked with specialists on machines. Step by step we made the first squares and diagonals on small-width webbing. Teva was manufacturing all its webbings in France at the time. They heard about my work and we started to collaborate. It was 1993!
For people who are not familiar with weaving, how do you describe your work?
Weaving is very special because it is connected with nature—especially when I’m weaving on my loom. All the materials that I use are coming from Mother Earth: natural wool, cotton, and silk. It is a long process finding harmony in between a warp (vertical yarn on the loom) and a weft (horizontal yarn going through the warp).
In each movement you see your motif appearing in front of you. It is magical! When I adapt handcrafted weaving to industrial, Teva’s team chose recycled materials as much as we can to respect the environment.
The vertical yarns on the loom are called the warp.
Nadine creates a pattern by weaving a horizontal yarn (the weft) in between the vertical yarns.
One thread at a time, the pattern starts to appear.
Nadine’s completed weavings for the GC100 Collection.
Through the 25 years working with Teva, what inspiration is a constant in all of your weaving designs?
Weaving has transformed my life. It has become my guide, a way of life. Weaving is an ancient art. Humbly, I learn from it each day and I put myself in its service. My main inspirations are firstly, all the indigenous communities in the world who are still weaving with a high knowledge from their ancestors. Secondly, a big inspiration comes from nature where I find all the colors, the emotions, and the moving elements that I need. Nature is so generous.
Nadine translates her handmade weavings into a webbing pattern that can be manufactured.
What were your first impressions of visiting the Grand Canyon and your best memories there?
My first impressions made me hold my breath! Infinite, power from the water, like veins in the body, which make the beating heart of the earth. It is an indescribable joy!
How did you translate the inspiration of the Grand Canyon into sandal webbing?
The pattern I made represents important shapes as triangles. It is like having the spirit of Native communities combined into the nature of the Grand Canyon. Both Natives and the Grand Canyon were there years ago. The design is to honor both of them.
Inside Nadine’s design studio in France.
The GC100 Boomerang webbing.
Tell us more about the colors in the webbing and what they represent.
Navy is the sky, Deep Lake is the water, Burnt Orange is the Canyon wall and Yellow is the sun.
What do you love about creating?
Creating is finding a way of being in harmony with the world. It is a research of the truth of my emotions and transmitting them to life, people and the elements.
The Hurricane XLT 2 in GC100 Boomerang. Photo by Steve Hoskins.