A full-on weekend leading and teaching on a special ‘Creative Weekend’ course to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cotswolds AONB, which they titled: Weaving the Wonderful Cotswolds.
Day 1 was at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, near Bourton-on-the-Water. I took the students on a farm walk to meet the rare breed sheep and be inspired by the colours and textures of their surrounds. They watched a shearing demo, then learnt the techniques of carding and spinning, turning white and coloured washed fleece into fabulous yarn with the Northleach Spinners and Weavers.
We then dyed wool yarn (which had been mordanted with Alum), using hand-spun from the Farm’s Cotswold sheep and commercially spun British Wool from Laxtons in Yorkshire. Using plant matter picked at the start of the day, we made dyes from Hawthorn, Cow Parsley and Nettle and produced a range of yellows which were over-dyed with colour from dried natural dyestuffs in blues, purples, reds, pinks and browns.
Day 2 we relocated to the Cotswolds AONB Discovery Centre at Northleach, where we got creative in the Old Victorian Court Room, weaving with the student’s fabulous hand-spun wool and the wool yarn they had dyed the previous day. Visual sources of inspiration were translated using card windings and paper weaving for colour and proportion into weave patterns using the rigid heddle and back-strap technique.
Amazingly creative beautiful pieces from these absolute beginners, don’t you think…
As a member of the Creative Forum, a group of multi-discipline creatives and artists in Gloucestershire, I was encouraged to do a presentation on ‘my textile practice’ at the last group meeting.
Not having done this before, I prepared 4 A4 sheets, headed: Background, Milestones, Current Practice and Future. The Milestones one was illustrated with samples which included my first weaving, my first exhibition piece, and my Bradford Textile Society competition successes.
One of my milestones, The Cambrian Mountains Wool Challenge, where I got to talk to HRH Prince Charles about me and my work!
My audience was very supportive and I really enjoyed (and found useful) the process of looking back and analysing my creative journey, and having to think about what I want moving forwards.
One of the lovely comments I had on Facebook:
Thank you Rebecca for a great talk about your weaving practice. It was really interesting and certainly you didn’t talk too long! Looking at all the different samples was a joy. Beautiful colours and textures! Seeing how other craftspeople and artists work and their experiences towards a creative line of work is, I think, very relevant to everyone even if they use a different approach or medium. Enjoyed it immensely!