Melbourne is a long way from Old Bar.
Well it doesn’t seem far when you get on a plane but it is! Â Planes make you have a false sense of geography and appreciation of what country is. A full 24 hours in the round trip through our great country was a lovely adventure. This image is just north of Cooma. We saw a lot of wide open land with almost yellow grasses, blue leaved gums and camouflaged sheep. There are lots of sheep in Australia just waiting to be woven into a wearable! Some of the country I most enjoyed was just south of Yass in NSW and around the Beechworth area in Victoria.
Everywhere we google population stats and see how towns rise and fall Â in prosperity and population, sometimes where the land is spectacular and inviting. Like Beechworth with its gold rush populationÂ now under 4,000 people. But less population doesn’t add up to unhappiness…I suspect many city dwellers would love a few less cars in the gridlock traffic. Less can mean more as it does for many of us in country towns. More freedom, more weaving, dare I say – more happiness?
The two day Saori workshop was great and I hope all the participants grabbed more than a touch of the improvisational ways of Saori. A great group of ten from a very wide range of experiences led to very different and distinctive approaches to weaving cloth. Expert spinners from both art yarn and traditional backgrounds mixed with experienced beyond two shaft weavers and brand new weavers, one who even swore she would NEVER weave. This mixed with a wide range of life experiences and professions make the groups people mix a truly egalitarian, thus Australian one. Well it does in my little world even if this idea is purported to now be a total myth.
Sometimes weavers don’t see the immense value of their work as I can in a workshop situation. As a facilitator, I’m in a privileged position in that way and everyone worked to explore possibilities within the provided techniques and beyond. The images here will provide a little insight into their progress and spirited work over the two days. Some weavers used table looms and others the Saori looms and a one a very compact jack loom which was perfect for this type of weaving.
Melbourne is a great Australian city. At least to a semi outsider, it feels very alive with people buzz, activity and a vibrancy that Sydney lacks. Without the extraordinary, yet passive, Â Sydney harbour, the city and it’s population seem to work harder at creating people spaces that are edged with art, style and eclecticism. Driving around with unfamiliar trams on the road and the experiencing the renowned and scary hook turns in the city were some of the more challenging aspects of our stay.
Sustained by Malteeser chocolates we were able to keep up the Saori intensive pace for the two days and the fantastic cafes around the Guild premises in Carlton North such as the Annoying Brother and Two Tall Chefs made the caffeine hit readily available.
I always learn things in these workshops and here I learnt a couple of new ideas for describing some of the textile techniques. The Higglety Piggledy weave and the Anti-weave!! Very descriptive and helps our brains to really get going with the Saori approach to weaving. A de-rusting of the screws in your head for some if you like- at least for me.
I couldn’t have done this workshop without the enormous support of Dave, my husband. Special thanks to the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria and Amber and Sally for initiating and supporting the workshop. Â Very special thanks to Amanda, Gayle & Alan and Rosemary & Alan(you each know why) for going beyond and to all the workshop participants – Â Amber, Sally, Deb, Libby, Robyn, Lissa, Dianne, Janet, Kate. Thank you.