Following the lockdown period at home, I returned to my studio and the tools of my trade, my floor looms. The framework for my year comes from the courses I teach, the craft festivals I attend and the exhibitions I develop new designs for; these were all gone. Using trial samples of a new wool yarn and left-over natural dyed yarn, I revisited one of my designs inspired by Fairisle knitting patterns. It was joyful to allow myself to experiment; the shapes and scale of the patterns and the combination of colours.
For my first rug, the design was inspired by the symbol for Earth from the i-Ching; seeking a motif with significance to Meditation, I sought my Yoga teacher’s guidance. For the 2nd rug I just wanted to use some fabulous pinks and a design I love, as the ‘noughts’ on the front become ‘crosses’ on the reverse.
Dates and information for studio weaving sessions in 2020 can be found under the COURSES tab.
An opportunity to “do some more weaving” has been requested by several of the ‘students’ who have recently attended one of my Introduction to Weaving day workshops. I plan to open my weave studio one day a month to facilitate this; I will be on hand to provide equipment, yarns, know-how and hopefully inspiration to those who want to continue their learning and exploration of weaving.
Just after Christmas, Cotswolds based photographer Chris Boulton visited my weave studio in Calmsden near Cirencester, to capture images of me and my working environment for his ongoing project titled ECHO OF OUR FATHERS. He intends to produce a book and stage an exhibition of the images he has created; portraits of artisans whose practice embraces heritage craft skills. These beautiful atmospheric images are now on his website, please follow this link
I travelled up to Bradford with friend and fellow Bath Spa University Alumni, Rosie Smith, for the Bradford Textile Society Design Awards on 6th May. Entering the annual competition for the first time as Independent Designers, we both received a Commendation for our woven designs in British Wool.
In my designs I used wool from different sheep breeds in a range of thicknesses to weave fabric for ‘throws’ in two weights. The colours developed from working with a variety of natural yellow, red and grey dyes which I extracted from plant (or other) substances, layering one over another.
The samples were woven in my studio, by hand (and feet!) on my restored old wooden floor loom.
The four short-listed designers were all invited to the award ceremony not knowing who the actual winner would be. In the end, the winner was Wendy Kotenko from Cornwall and I was runner up!
It was a lovely event and many of the people I spoke to showed their appreciation for my design and how much they liked it.
The Bristol Cloth Award evening and Textile Mingle was hosted by Bristol Textile Quarter, with representatives from various collaborators including Botanical Inks, Dash and Miller and the newly established Bristol Weaving Mill. It was held at the Bristol harbour side ‘Lab Space’, as part of the events marking Bristol as European Green Capital 2015.
I was approached by the Cotswold Farm Park to come and weave with the public during Wool Week. I took several rigid heddle and back strap looms, ready warped up. Within minutes the children were weaving cheerfully and well. I also took a four shaft table loom on loan from Stroudwater Textile Trust for adults that wanted to explore ‘proper’ weaving.
Warp number 2 in this project. Using multiple strands as one end (warp thread) and as one pick (weft pass).
I used 3 strands instead of one thicker one, all going through one heddle and in one dent in the reed. Although the white yarn appeared quite fluffy, it wove without problem to my relief. For a single cloth (as opposed to double-cloth) it was interesting to observe the different feel of the various weave structures; the hopsack giving a thicker and more robust cloth.