Old Bar beach is a bit unusual on the coastline of NSW in Australia. Its incredible cover of stones seem to come from the nearby Manning River, and they gather everywhere then disappear for a few days. Everyone who comes to the studio comments on them. Old Bar Beach is a beachcomber’s delight. The thing with the stones is that they are all so different. With this double weave piece I just had to focus on one shade of the stones but there are plenty of others. How did they all get so, so different.
I know stones happen on other beaches and I certainly saw an overload on Brighton Beach in the UK. But on the coast of NSW the sands vary dramatically from beach to beach but there isn’t much in the way of stones happening. South of Sydney the sand is super fine and white, in some of the Northern Sydney beaches the sand is orange and full of shell grit. Here we have lovely whiteish sands AND stones.
On the loom the weaving was slow and exacting and easy to make a mistake. It is a 24 shaft double weave which was threaded over time. And this was the last time the design was on the loom in 2009! This post outlines it’s original intent and inspiration. So it’s been a long time in the pipeline. The good thing about this type of work is it takes a long time to get the design established, although not usually 10 years! But once that’s right I can then weave and weave. On the minus side is the physical energy needed to weave this work, it takes alot and isn’t the usual pleasant sitting at a loom, it’s work. The energy take up is good for anger though! I can never sell this type of work because of the cost, at least in Australia, despite the art that it is. So it’s ok to take my time and not look at it as a production, which it isn’t.
Most of the magic in this weave is the fine lycra/wool weft in one of the layers. This makes everything buckle up and the fabric has a stretch factor to it. Finally I’m very happy with this piece and I can look at the next one which will pick up on other stones of Old Bar Beach.
This is a bigger job on the loom at the moment. I’m revisiting a mini disaster of an exquisite double weave fabric, determined this time for it to really work for me. It is a double weave with two different warps creating the one cloth.
Although all of my samples worked last time, I encountered a problem with the dramatically different takeup of the two warps when I placed the full warp on the loom. This means I should have beamed the two warps separately, on their own warp beams. This is why I have two warp beams on my Toika loom. I really think two warp beams or the ability to have two warps tensioned differently is useful in some types of experimentation in double weave. I’ve made sure that the thicker tencel warp is longer than the other bamboo one for greater take up too.
The warp is 72 ends to the inch and 1500 ends in total. It takes a while to thread it up into the 24 shafts, especially as the threading isn’t particularly straightforward. I have to count out heddles in segments then check as I complete each unit for errors. It’s a lot more arduous than my Saori loom set ups on 2 shafts and to the point that I thought I may never have the time, energy or inclination to work with these types of fabrics again.
But then my husband said “what’s the hurry?” Indeed. Fortunately I’m under no pressure to a deadline for this fabric, even if I never finish it in my lifetime. The weave is purely experimental. But if I do finish it – how rewarding. Now that I’ve got the warps set up on their appropriate warp beams surely nothing can go wrong. Anyway, what’s the hurry.
Time and how it relates to knowing, experience and achievement is an interesting thing. Over the past year I have fallen in love with the violin. The learning of this instrument demands time and only time can give you its sweet sound. I just have to keep with it and the time has to pass to achieve anything. No shortcuts or ways of hurrying it. The action of hurrying isn’t possible. Anything really worthwhile takes time. My only complaint is when you loose something you have invested time in – it hurts more. It’s almost as if the heart counts time for us.