Japan. Although I’ve been there many times it just reveals more of its many layers in small increments, bit by bit. It is so different and yet so familiar too. I spent a week at the Saori head office at Saori no Mori and still learnt more about their approach to weaving cloth. It is so enlightening and encouraging.
A couple of highlights, firstly meeting Terri from Saori Salt Spring after all these years, Laura from Saori Studio LA and Merrilee from Canada. Then a design class with Masako. She is the master designer behind the Saori clothing books and the way she takes your woven cloth and lets it speak about how it should be stitched into a garment is wonderful. It re-enforces the idea that we shouldn’t weave to create this or that particular garment or cloth but to just weave. Leave holes, weave extensions, criss cross and just enjoy the whole process. Keep going with it. Read more
With temperatures of 30 degrees this weekend the early Spring Saori September workshop was hot. And so were the weavers with their work! A delightful, sunny weekend with a group of creative weavers sadly had to come to end. Two days doesn’t seem enough somehow. We only just got started. When it’s all new it can take a little while to settle in and feel your way into what you want to weave and how. Even now when I start a cloth I tend to wander off here and there until I really lock down into the piece.
The light was a bit better for photos this weekend as the winter months, with the sun lower in the sky, weren’t so successful. Colour featured strongly this weekend and I sometimes suspect that the coming weather sparked it off.
Click the image to see inside!
The latest edition of Down Under Textiles has just been published! My column is ‘Being a beginner’. In Saori weaving I meet alot of these people and in fact, I’m one too in many ways and in many things.
Beginners can be afraid and tentative, but more commonly they are more in a discovery mode when they come to the studio. We can usually fix mistakes or make the most of them, or even let them guide us into something interesting. So there are no worries.
With Saori beginners in mind I have also produced five short videos on how to warp the loom with a pre-wound warp. This is a step by step on how to do it directly on the loom. It is only available to customers who have purchased any Saori loom from me. To gain access please email for the password.
Jan and Sophie – Saori models
Sometimes I’m out and about with my looms and this date was a great weekend full of new and more experienced weavers, working away at the looms. It was the 2nd time or even 4th time for one weaver who worked on a pink woollen warp after several of the black variety. The coloured warps require more thought about colour choice and you have to work with the warp like an undertone to a painting. Jan chose the beautiful Malbringo knitting wool in rusts, orange and pinks. This totally kicked up the pink in a rich way.
There was much meterage woven this weekend as it was a family and friends group. That’s a formula – Relaxation = confidence to have a go, and trusting others to not be critical of your creative intention. This weekend I seemed very upclose to the lives of everyone there. I saw how their hands and minds worked with those threads and learnt about their experiences and hopes which were entwined into the cloth. Super special thank you to Cate and Mark for their generous hospitality, and the weavers, Sophie, Jan, Sara, Debbie and Cathy. Read more
It’s been a warpy sort of week with Sarah in the studio winding, beaming and threading two different warps. We used Kenzo’s tabletop beaming and threading unit with the dividing bar which ticks all of the boxes as far as speed, comfort and elegance in warp making. The warp only requires one cross – the raddle cross. I know that many weavers, including myself at times, consider this a risky business, but it gets it done and into the process without worrying about what is really an unnecessary extra cross. Beaming is done completely off loom at a table then threaded. You can save your unique ‘pre-wound’ warp for later or just thread it up on the unit, then hook it up onto the loom.
Warping is a very satisfying process but the tabletop unit does give that real sense of achievement because it normally goes so smoothly. I tend to have all my own ‘pre-wounds’ hanging around the studio waiting to be woven up. Somedays are just more warpy than others.
Ready, set Go, Looms await
I’m prepping for another workshop this weekend and hoping that the super winter sun will be all over it. This is THE time of year here in Old Bar and the sun is so uplifting and warm with such clear skies and absolute magical waves and whales on the beach.
Here are the looms in readiness, all threaded and ready to go. With a new batch of merino sliver to enjoy I hope the workshop participants can weave this glorious weather into their cloth.
A mass of merino sliver colours to weave with
The last workshop was a great two days of weaving. Participants came from WA, Tasmania and country NSW. Every one of them had what I thought were totally fresh ideas in the way they interpreted their cloth and what they were discovering with colour and texture.
I really think that where you live influences your approach. Our individual backgrounds are also relevant but the landscape and environment in Australia is much more important than we give credit to. It seeps into your bones just as it has to the human civilization that has been here for up to 80,000 years. Having just returned from Uluru and Kakadu I can’t get my mind around the enormity of such a continuing human history. This continuing human history is here, in the Manning Valley too, but the ability, or access, to see the rock art is beyond my comprehension. I think that most Australians aim to see Uluru at some time in their lifetime if their circumstances allow it – rather like a pilgrimage. I’m so lucky I was able to get there! Now to discover more about my own area again.
As usual the best way to let you in on our workshops is the photos. At the moment we loose our light around 3pm so it is more difficult for photography but that didn’t dent the enthusiasm for weaving. Everyone I meet has an interesting story or perspective on life and I learn so much from them about all sorts of things. If only connecting up with people was easier around our vast and interesting land. The internet has filled some of this gap but it’s still not the same as the face to face! A warm thank you to Kat, Frog, Stephanie, Kerry and Mary for generosity in sharing this weave time. Read more
Mine’s the longest
It’s all in a days work. I’m gradually getting pics together of my many recent workshops. This one was a delightful local family group connecting creatively for a full day’s weaving over a 50th birthday celebration. In the morning as they began weaving in the studio I mentioned that they just might get a short scarf woven if they were exceptional. Well I didn’t put it that way. But they really were beyond exceptional…after all it’s a race to see who weaves the longest piece. Over two metres for each weaver as you can see here and a decent length wrap scarf for all of them. All so different from each other in colour and use of texture. Pretty amazing I reckon.
Each of the pieces were very different, which although very common in our workshops, it is always surprising as I show everyone the same thing but they do it all in different ways. Such is the way with these looms and the approach we take.
Another thing that impresses me about visitors to the studio is their inherent and almost subconscious ability to create an alive feeling in the cloth. A special thanks to the Wallace family for an inspiring day!