Saori Winter @ Sturt
What a special experience it was teaching at Sturt Contemporary Craft and Design School – Winter program.
A five day program with eight weavers exposed to Saori style weaving and a variety of different looms. Once again considering that the warps were all the same, each cloth was utterly different reflecting its creator and often what they are thinking of at the time. Each weaver completed more than one piece and went for quite different aesthetics in each. This is what I find so humbling and joyful about the whole thing. Humans are capable of such amazingness.
First up I had to beam and thread four of the heritage Sturt looms before beginning which took a long time and needed to be inspected by my little grand daughter. She gave them all the ok. The older heritage looms were a jack and three counterbalanced systems. They complimented the Saori counterbalanced looms. Some of the older looms were built by the Wood school at Sturt so have a great historical connection. They are great to weave on and a different experience to the smaller, compact Saori looms. The weavers had a turn on each of the looms to have a full experience of handweaving. The older looms also provided different and exciting opportunities for new design features as one new weaver (Anne) deliberately replicated a ‘mistake’ throughout the whole textile creating a very unique and lovely piece. This particular ‘mistake’ was possible because the loom was threaded to plain weave over four shafts so all sorts of things could be slipped in and made me appreciate the potential for 4 shaft freestyle weaving and what could develop without using the strict structure of any pattern that is threaded onto the loom. A very significant mind shift for me!
The weavers were both brand new and experienced, from different backgrounds like embroidery, tapestry weaving, multi-shaft weaving, Alpaca farming, teachers, craft lovers etc. Beginners are so openly fresh to just doing, while more experienced weavers offer very valuable insights into how tools are used, and where the woven cloth is developing. I thought each weaver approached the unwoven web with new and refreshing ideas about creating fabric and changing what fabric could be. Working their own adventures for their own explorations. Very nice indeed.
The mystery of the textile was the most important thing throughout the workshop and filled the time. A couple of weavers stitched up garments though which made the next step in the evolution of the woven cloth. We just needed much more time!