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!
Last month I had the pleasure of being with Saori weavers at Morisset Spinners and Weavers in NSW. A few of the weavers had already ‘caught’ my Saori addiction and the cloth discoveries were so interesting. Two full days of weaving and getting to know each other eventuated in metres of expressive cloth destined for clothing, wall, warmth and just plain ‘looking at joy’.
Here you can see Carolyn weaving away. Loads of shuttles and bobbins awaiting their turn through the warp. I wonder what makes us pick up one colour or texture in preference to another??
The Morisset weavers are a growing and particularly keen group of weavers. They seemed to lap up everything and their interests in different types of weaving are diverse.
Morisset weavers have a dedicated storeroom and a space to meet and learn weaving and spinning. Many small places in Australia have these and I’m always heartened that handweaving opportunties survive in pockets everywhere. We’re all thirsty for hands-on craft skill learning and doing it in happy, supportive and conflict free social gatherings. Morisset is managing this well. The historical basis for these groups is the guilds system from England and although this has greatly changed in that the guilds aren’t like unions or political like in previous times, it’s spirit of teaching and passing on skills remains. This history is a very significant one and perhaps one that we don’t promote enough. Read more
“I wove it”
This weekend was full of the clacking of shuttles once again. Here Lydia is a 2nd time weaver to the studio. Following on from the theme of wider cloths on the loom, she took the opportunity to weave a full wrap. In two very full days of weaving she wove over two metres of fine and detailed work in wool.
When a cloth is cut down off the loom there is something about just looking and looking at whats been woven. Even though we can regularly unroll and see our work it is mostly hidden on that cloth beam providing a memory that doesn’t really reveal itself totally until we can hold it, look at it, feel it and wrap ourselves in it. The tape measure was a popular workshop tool too, with a regular measure to keep the weavers on track to completion. It is worth it to keep weaving to get a decent wrap around for our bodies rather than leaving it too short. A great project and achievement on the loom.
Together Lydia and Jan worked a long two days to finish their projects in studio time. I feel that every time I write about a workshop I’m full of gushing cliques. The dictionary meaning of gushing is “ (of speech or writing) effusive or exaggeratedly enthusiastic.” Never am I exaggerating my enthusiasm for woven work or for the weavers I encounter. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Sadly another workshop is over. The energy of the studio is now up to me! Such enjoyable company and such difference in the weavers and their styles on the loom. It was also a workshop of firsts. Read more
You’ll notice the hashtag # in the header. It means ‘alert’ to humans and ‘sort’ and ‘curate’ to the bots, all in one little hash. Even though the trend in writing everywhere is to to shorten everything, leading to confusion at times, IMHO. We’ve now come to saying the word ‘hashtag’ before announcing something either comedic or ironic but always more seriously in written form on social media. And yes, #Iloveweaving so a totally valid hashtag use. Check it out on Instagram.
Jo and Freya in the studio
‘Teaching’ others to share my lifelong love of the interlacing of threads is another huge, #megabeyondhuge, indulgence and privilege for me. In the studio, I and I hope others can have just that brief space to think about cloth and its creation, how its human history of making, using and experience is part of us and we can participate, dabble or run in its journey onwards, still. A brief space to connect, feel connected and not cast afloat as many of us feel in our daily lives. I know this is a theme of weaving everywhere, like music, it can really sustain a person creatively.
As I add to the Australian textile historic links I’ve found lots of older photos in the archives of state libraries which make me wonder about the people pictured. Their situations, what happened to them, why they were there that particular day etc. These black and white and sepia photos always look mysterious. They make you look deeper into the photo rather than accepting the image so quickly. You’ll see here a little experiment where, at a click of a mouse, the software bots and algorithms in Photoshop turned the image into the past with sepia and it too creates a little world of wonder like the old photos in the archives. Somehow cementing its authority of the moment.
A photo now
A photo floating into the past
The day when Jo and Freya came had us warping, weaving and keeping cool in the heat. Jo also took home a lovely wall drape in the WWW technique. We can’t get enough of that. Read more
This weekend saw the end of another fantastic workshop in the studio here at Old Bar. It’s always a bit lonely going back to my empty studio after such a flurry of creative energy…but then I have all that yarn to get weaving with!
Deb is the co-chair for the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. A distinctly and uniquely Australian invention which has that wildfire effect on everyone who encounters it. So, of course, she wove a beanie and it was stitched with the new Saori bias technique. Such a versatile and easy sewing technique for all sorts of clothing and beanies. See mini workshop details for January.
Glenda’s completed weave
Yet another magical workshop came to a close too quickly over the weekend. Several of the participants were Sturtees and returnees.
Ordering and threading the buttons
Daisy came to work on a special buttony weave which incorporated her mother’s buttons in a bed runner. Rather than stitch them onto the two metre plus cloth after weaving it, we decided to have the buttons threaded onto a warp thread which could be woven with each row and the buttons positioned as she went.
The buttons could also be positioned with the weft but I think the warp idea went better. A large shuttle full of many large buttons were a bit of a ‘danger’ in that movement usually twisted them around each other, so Daisy used a paper sleeve to protect them and the shuttle was left on top of the shelf. The buttons were stopped from falling with a little peg and just bought down as needed. She did very well indeed. Read more