Slow Monday

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I am having a very slow Monday – on purpose, after a hectic weekend. So far I have managed to send half a dozen emails and write one cheque, and it’s getting on for lunch time, so I think I’ll have a break in a minute. If you want a little reading to accompany your own lunch break, there are a few links I have been meaning to share:

Dundee, une ville d’histoire, de design et de fun is a blog post by Sophie, one of the #blogmanay crew who visited in January and had a brief weaving lesson here.

Throughout 2016 there is a Festival of Architecture going on across Scotland. If you are visiting, you might want to take note of some of the events lined up. I like the sound of this. And speaking of events, this is Dundee’s first full year as a City of Design and there is a lot planned – including an International Design Festival in May.

And finally, I’ve noticed a lot being written recently about ‘Peak Stuff’, like this piece by Will Hutton. It is a topic I am pleased to see in the media, but the tone of some of the articles does make you wonder where everyone has been all this time.

Personally, I feel I reached Peak Stuff quite early on. I am very much the kind of person who buys a thing (which might be a washing machine, a frying pan, a t-shirt) and subsequently expects that she will never have to buy another. After all, I already have a washing machine, a frying pan, a t-shirt. OK, so I do have multiple t-shirts, but you know what I mean. It drives me nuts when I have to replace something that can’t be mended. Yes, I do buy things that I believe to be beautiful as well as things that I know to be useful, but at a rate that would send a sloth to sleep, and more often than not I am happy just to look at them and go home without.

So as someone who Makes Stuff, albeit in a very small way, I am aware that I really don’t want to be contributing to an ever-growing Stuff Mountain. I don’t think that something which is well-made in a studio is innately ‘better’ than something which is well-made in a factory and therefore exempt from these concerns. In my own practice I want to make less, not more; slower, not faster. I am also aware that it is a difficult topic and that some may very well be annoyed or offended by my views, and with little energy for controversy that makes me reluctant to say a great deal.

I can see that if I had started making Stuff earlier on my experience and opinions might very well have turned out differently. Many of the younger artists and designers I meet are busy building up their brand and working to get their Stuff out into more and more shops and galleries – and the economics of it all has major implications for the way they work in order to achieve this. I can see that in another universe that might possibly have been me. In this universe, no. I feel very fortunate that I can extend my creative practice in different directions, so that I don’t have to embrace an economics of expansion.

But of course there is still Stuff on the loom and I hope that it will turn out to be well-made Stuff.

mixed huck twill warp

Slow Monday” was posted by Cally on 8 Feb 2016 at

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New warp

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I made a warp of the blues and greys.

Life got in the way, so I didn’t get it on the loom until Wednesday and wove the first sample today.

It’s all single cloth. The four-colour sections are woven with a twill tie-up and there’s huck lace in the grey sections. I’m wondering about sleying the blues a little more densely, but as this piece is still hanging up to dry I’ll wait to see what it looks like tomorrow.

New warp” was posted by Cally on 28 Jan 2016 at

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Here’s the yarn from the bucket, gradually making its way toward the loom. I plan to start turning it into a warp tomorrow.

latest dyed yarn

This will be an extension of the Waterfront collection, but I’m using Merino/silk instead of the Alpaca/silk and in two different counts: a 2/16 as well as the 2/24. I used the 2/24 last year to weave a wrap for Pat’s 80th birthday. Because it was a secret I never posted any pictures, but it came out like this:

art deco wrap

art deco wrap detail

The design (intentionally asymmetric in case you were wondering) was intended to complement a rather lovely leather handbag she has, but Mum and I got into an interesting pickle trying to get a photo of it while maintaining the subterfuge! Anyway, for me the most pleasing thing about it was the weight and drape of the finished cloth, which was lovely. I used the 4-colour threading approach learned with Marian in the Dordogne, and that’s what I plan to do again. Sort of.

But the most interesting weaving this week has been on one of the table looms. I am teaching a class in double weave in a couple of weeks and so I wanted to make a coherent set of four-shaft DW samples, including pickup. I haven’t used DW pickup in ages, but scribbled a squiggly line on a piece of squared paper and set to. I was quite pleased with how it turned out…

DW pickup

…but it didn’t take me long to remember why I don’t make a habit of it. It took me a whole lot longer to weave that tiny piece you see there…

Yarn” was posted by Cally on 24 Jan 2016 at

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More Braids

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You may be wondering whether there is any actual weaving going on. Yes, there is. More Waterfront pieces in alpaca/silk, in fact, but I have been struggling to get a decent photo. I am having more photographic fun with the braids (above), posing them on textured backgrounds and under different lighting conditions.

I do like the wild shadow of the blue fuzzy beastie. 17 Braids so far (the orange and green one is number 17 itself) and now we are more than half way through the month.

Someone on Facebook posted a link to this article. In it tapestry weaver Erin Riley wonders, “Maybe I should just give up tapestry and weave chunky stuff with fringe? It’s hard to find the right business model.” Chunky stuff with fringe – applies to non-tapestry weaving as well, I think!

More Braids” was posted by Cally on 17 Jan 2016 at

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I needed to dye some more yarn, so I got out my bucket for soaking the skeins. Pippi had other plans.

Pippi in a bucket

She fought hard to keep both her brother and me from encroaching on her bucket, until she changed her mind.

Magnus in a bucket

Once he had possession, Magnus wasn’t giving it up. I had to tip him out onto the sofa to get my turn on behalf of the skeins. They had to take it in turns among themselves until, at the end of the day, we had this.

yarn drying

Website maintenance is required, due to a go-slow day at the server which caused an update to fail. I am deeply in denial. But I did my tax return so I absolutely get points for that.

Bucket” was posted by Cally on 13 Jan 2016 at

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