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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lace Weave Workshop in September

After the success of the Block Weave workshop in June, the lovely Fibre East team have booked me for another workshop, this time Lace Weaves, in September.  This workshop explores up to five lace weaves in either cotton or wool (yes, wool!), so if you're interested in the beautiful Scandinavian textiles that use these structures then why not book on this course?

Yes, wool!  Most lace weave fabrics are woven in linen, cotton or a mix of them both, but it's equally beautiful in wool for soft draped scarves, striking cushions, blankets, etc.  Don't let your pre-conceived ideas prevent you from having a go at weaving them in wool, the UK's most versatile fibres.  The course is designed so that every student will pre-warp their own loom in one of the structures and in the workshop will share their looms with each other, in a "round robin", so that everyone goes home with swatches in each structure, some in cotton and some in wool.

Below are two shawls I was commissioned to make a few years ago, in Huck Lace.  Both are hand woven in silk and cashmere.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

My copy of The Journal arrived just before I went off the Flitwick on Friday, so didn't have time to look through it even though I'd taken it with me to peruse.   Tuesday morning while sitting in the garden having my breakfast I decided to have a quick look and to my surprise there was an article in "Guild Highlights" section about the workshop I tutored last year at the Mid-Essex Guild.

The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers

Guild Highlights with my course review

The workshop was on Art Yarn and was obviously very well received, so I am thrilled!  The Mid-Essex Guild was very welcoming and I really enjoyed tutoring it, so thank you to them for ending such a lovely review to The Journal.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Fibre East Block Weave Workshop Week-End

Last week-end I tutored a successful workshop in Flitwick.  Fibre East organised a two day workshop studying Block Weaves and 10 weavers shared their looms and warps so that they could experience Monks Belt, Honeycomb, Overshot, Crackle and Summer and Winter.  Here are a selection of images of all the swatches they produced over the two days.
I am extremely proud of how the tackled the course, some new to weaving, and some with only two years experience.  Well done everyone!

Derby University Textile Design - The Big Show

I spent a lovely morning at Derby University today taking a look at the current batch of 2016 graduates of the BA (Hons) Textile Design.  I've not had any work placement students over the last three years so I've got a little out of touch with what's going on in the University world and I was pleasantly surprised!

The woven and knitted textiles were superb, although I was a little disappointed in the print.  My most favourite work was from Sophia Reed, who'd interpreted Polish folk art into the most beautiful knitted textiles.

Sophia's coat was so beautiful, with the motifs graduating to nothing from the bottom to the top.  I can see her charming little scarves sold in Liberty's, too!

Katie Mills' knitted scarves, inspired by mushrooms, were very interesting, using different weights of yarn to create areas of texture.

Other designers I liked were Jan Bell's 'Morocco' inspired woven textiles, Sammy Bertrams' 'Night Night Sleep Tight' childrens fabrics, Miriam Murgatroyd's 'Under the Microscope' knitted textiles and Florence Carr's brightly coloured knits, 'Coastal Roaming'.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Eglise du Château

The church that the Michel Degand tapestries were exhibited in was as inspiring as the tapestries themselves, the windows were stunning as was the roof and the carvings.  It was a stunning, light church and a perfect place to exhibit the tapestries.

Aubusson and Felliton

After the Echo and Iris workshop Jane and I went to Aubusson and Felletin to see the tapestry weavers.    Aubusson is famous for it's low warp tapestries or use of horizontal looms.

It was rather late in the day when we arrived so we couldn't go to see Manufacturer St Jean and sadly the Museum was closed for the change over from the old museum to the brand new Museum to celebrate the status of International city of Tapestry.   So we went to see the weavers at Studio A2 where we purchased a beautiful little tapestry beater.

We had been recommended by the Tourist Information Office to go to Felletin to see the exhibition in the Church of the Chateau and we weren't disappointed.  The tapestries designed by Michel Degard were on display with a few others by Sonia Delauney, Henri Guérin, Le Corbusier and Alexander Calder.  All were woven by the Pinton Studio situated in Felletin.

Below are just a sample of the amazing selection of tapestries we saw with details of some of them.  What I particularly liked were the different setts that were used in the same tapestries.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Marian Stubenitsky Workshop No. 2

I'm just back from a wonderful few days in France with Jane Deane.

The first three days were on the Marian Stubenitsky Workshop exploring double weave with Echo & Iris.

After designing our design line we started weaving but I had some threading mistakes, so after eventually sorting them out I had an interesting first sample.  The weft lifts are "drawn as threaded".

This swatch is an Echo & Iris double cloth, and the distinct square blocks are the true double cloth areas.

Double cloth can have varying ratio's of interlacement of the colour on the front and back and this swatch shows these ratio's and how it affects the amount of colour on the front of the swatch.

By selecting an area where the double cloth is most obvious and only weaving this area a crinkle effect can be achieved with cotton in one pick and Colcolastic in the other.  This is what it looks like before the Colcolastic is washed.

Weaving the design line in Turned Taquete gives the great effect!  This swatch uses a 4/4 twill lift interspersed with plain weave lifts.  I was worried that the purple in the weft was too dull, but against the orange in the weft it looks ok...

This Turned Taquete swatch gives a much more crisp pattern using 3/2/1/2 twill lifts interspersed with plain weave.  Again I used the orange weft and then the purple weft.

With the double weave sett a repp weave can be produced when using a thick and thin pick.  I only used a small section of the lifts based on the design line, but you can see the repp effect.

There is so much potential in these experiments, I'm really looking forward to exploring more.  Thanks to Marian for developing these ideas and passing them on to us.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Hands (Wool Spinning in Donegal)

A lovely old video!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Design for the Terrified at AGWSD Summer School 2015

I was very lucky to be selected as a tutor at Summer School this year at Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire.  All tutors selected had been asked to write a blog post about the course or something related to the skills students would learn, to help prospective students decide if they should enrol on the course.  I wrote three posts,  which can be found here:
What is Design
Preparing to Design
Design Development

There were 12 students enrolled, 2 of which were attending for 2 1/2 days at the beginning of the week.  All were terrified when they arrived on Monday morning, but by Tuesday afternoon all were chatting and talking design amongst themselves, it was amazing to see the transformation!   I'd just guided them through a range of exercises, including colour studies, textural studies, collage, stripes, etc.  Everyone's approach to the design tasks were different as can be seen, here, in the images I took of their work on Saturday morning for their exhibition.

The two images above are from Anita's designs for a woven seat cover fabric inspired by the curtain fabric in the room the chair sits.  Anita stripe patterns resulted in a beautiful woven swatch that really worked with the curtains.  At the end she said she was no longer terrified!

 Ann's images, above, are inspired by shells in her collection.  She's a felt maker and her samples were stunning.  She is planning to make soft felt for fashion fabrics.  She had been quite sceptical, but began to really love doing the design work.  Ann, too, said she was no longer terrified!

Betty signed up late and could only get two half week courses and was persuaded to try Design for the Terrified at the beginning of the week and finish the week on Louise Martins Coptic Weaving course.  Betty sews and embroiders and was really worried that she'd be wasting her time, but said she was so, so glad she'd joined us and realised that design was the true beginning of the process of producing something.  Her plan was to design a hanging window treatment for her landing window that would be two sided, night on one side, day on the other.

These two images, above, are the work of Dunja who wanted to use the woollen yarn from her family farm in Wales.  Her inspiration was a beautiful image of a frosty tree with a bullfinch, it was a difficult picture that could be approached in a number of ways.  She isolated areas to produce a lovely stripe patterns and her mood board was a stunning example of how to do it.

The above two images are Elizabeth's work.  She's an experienced weaver who works in fine silk and her inspiration was one of the Shaun the Sheep figures in Bristol.   Her hard work lead to a range of swatches which she thinks she'd like to turn into fabric for a top and jacket.

Helena, a knitwear designer and spinner, chose a vibrant image of flamingo's as her inspiration.  She was looking for an image that represented a large part of her yarn stash and she succeeded!  She was inspired to spin extra yarn and try out some interesting knit ideas.

The three images, above, are of Linda's work.  She is a ceramicist, spinner and weaver, and already had design skills, but used the course as a refresher, her work was very colourful and resulted in some beautiful colour blended yarns.

Rachel's, a spinner and knitter, decided to use an antique fire surround in her home as her inspiration, which can be seen in the two images above.  Her plan is to develop a range of textiles to dress the room linking the flooring with the fire surround.

I only have one image of Rita's design work, above, sadly.  She came with a whirlpool image in black and white as inspiration which she developed into small tapestries testing out colour techniques.  She entered a beautiful little tapestry of a puffin flying to Orkney entitled "Approach to Orkney".  I fell in love with it, but it was at the end of the auction and I'd already committed to a couple of lots.  When I told her I was so sad it hadn't sold because I loved it, the whole group plotted to buy it from Rita to gift to me at the end of the course.  I was so touched I could have cried!  This is the image:

I think Shelagh might have been the most terrified of all of my students, not only about the course, but also about being my "Prefect" (all courses had an appointed Prefect to collect messages from Summer School office and help solve student problems).  She was the perfect Prefect, a great help to me and her fellow students!
Her plan was to design a fabric for a soft jacket in cotton and her inspiration was a beautiful field of wild flowers which, I understand, is still under development, but is getting very close to a lovely fabric.

This is Valeries work, sadly only the one image again, using a beautiful post card of lilies in very contemporary colours that had been the attraction.  As you can see she really took to the exercises to their limits and developed a range of blended handspun yarns in the exact colours.

I, too, enjoyed my time with the group, guiding them through the exercises.  At times it was a leap of faith on their part to do something that seemed irelevent to the inspiration and to what they had planned as the end result, but once they'd completed all the exercises they realised that all were needed in the process in any order and each triggered more ideas!

The whole group made friends with the on-site IT men and unknown to me they got a wonderful card made for me as a thank you.  And unknown to Shelagh they had a second made to thank her for her dedication as our Prefect!

Thank you, everyone, for being such excellent students and being a joy to teach.

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