No Anonymous Characters
Ok! Another wonderful weekend Saori workshop with a great group, weaver houseguests, sunny warm days, warp rescues, beach magic and cake! What more could anyone ask for in life. The images here were connected by Amanda and her image of tidal sand striations at Manning Point. The weave is the final demo of the weekend – weaving without a reed.
No reed usually means no weft in that the warp threads crowd up much too cosily hiding the weft. But it can be overcome by forcing the heddles into a cramming and spacing situation. I did this with clothes pegs as used at Saori central. If you don’t have a Saori loom or similar with clearance at the top of the shafts you could certainly rig something up. Afterall that is what weaving is all about – adapting and thinking, thinking, trying, sampling.
Hover of the weavers
One of the most delightful aspects of weavers is the ‘dance’ they do regularly and always in my workshops! It’s a ‘hover of the weavers’. When a piece of cloth handwoven from the maker comes out, we hover, touch and show a bit of our hearts so easily. We try to imagine it was us creating that cloth and we see a window into the maker and make an instant connection. I just love it. I know it can sound soppy as I write it but it is such a powerful feeling. Cloth surely unites us in some small way and creates an instant injection point to connect with others.
Different to other workshops in the studio, this one had mostly very experienced weavers in it. Some [ Meg ] came from afar to investigate my possible defection to the dark side and offer rescue if needed! 🙂 What does Saori offer to established and experienced weavers who value the weavers’ skillset of perfect selvages, regulated perfection and mathematical structure. Is it an undoing or regression? These are great questions and nice to discuss with wine.
I personally don’t see any conflict with traditional approaches and the opportunities offered by Saori free style weaving. I love it all and I am still learning everyday about the craft of weaving. The Saori approach appeals to a very wide range of people which is enriching the whole craft at present.
Of the many highlights of the workshop one lovely extra was Emma’s demo spinning on a Petlyn drop spindle and plying a ‘beehive’ yarn with a Saori bobbin. Emma is really a yarn technologist coming from a family of spinners and weavers. Her feel for twist and yarn control enabled her to create a special yarn with the absolute minimum of equipment. Of course she managed the Saori bobbin winder spinning in a second. Thank you Emma!
Strangely and perhaps subconsciously I had most of the looms threaded in more wacky threading arrangements. You can see this delightful work by Barb with the threading adding to the irregularity and movement of the weave.
It’s also rare that the beauty of the black warp is bought forward in this type of weaving but Gail did it beautifully. Combining the black cotton warp with special yarn and some of the techniques for creating texture with flat yarns worked really well for her. Weavers work with a knowledge that reveals in quite dramatic and studied ways.
Gerdi was with me for her third workshop. I’m so happy that she comes up to inspire me! She was working on not one but two warps. This one shown is a white silk pre-wound which she works her magic on. She will be with her loom in a pop up shop at the Dungog festival shortly.
Amanda helped me out with some skein winding and especially with a total warp rescue at over 300 ends through the heddles and reed, fully warped without the benefit of a cross. A remarkable exercise in patience and tenacity. Thank you again. And thank you warmly to all of the participants for an inspiring workshop.
Story of Meg
Meg is a long time weaver and blogger who has connected many weavers on the internet and run weaving projects linking us over many countries. Projects such as Pics to Picks Design Challenge and the Small Scarf Virtual Exhibitions. After eight years of this type of connection we met her for the first time for the workshop. Waiting for her at the airport was a bit like meeting an internet date! The Internet can really be an amazing place sometimes and meeting Meg is one of those. See and read her experiences here.
As far as Saori vs all other weaving goes I can safely say that no cloth left the studio with a hint of suggestion that it had the anonymous characteristics sometimes present in manufactured cloth. Each cloth was utterly unique. Not one could be called anonymous.