I really don’t have a single finished thing at the moment. Well, I do have things that are finished, but they are not yet photographed so technically they don’t exist at all. This is a shame as I would love to post some colourful pictures… but I thought I had better check in anyway just to confirm my continued existence.
We have been away for a few days to see S’s family down south so we seized the opportunity of a detour through Wales. Going through Wales is not something I do very often — about once every 20 years is the going rate — although I have dipped into the edges a little more frequently. In this case, the detour was motivated by not one but TWO exhibitions devoted to weaving. This is so unusual an occurrence in the UK that almost every weaver I know has made the journey over the hills and through the rain to get to the Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen for Warp + Weft and the National Wool Museum at Dre-fach Felindre for Warp + Weft 2.
The first of these is an art exhibition. It includes work by Peter Collingwood, Ann Sutton, Ptolemy Mann and several other contemporary artist weavers. It’s a small exhibition but some of the pieces are fascinating. I was particularly intrigued by a collection of work by Ismini Samanidou which combined highly computerised processes with a home-made fan reed: the sort of high-tech-low-tech combination which for me sums up the art of the weaver perfectly. I was delighted to be allowed to take a few pictures for my own private use, even though it means I can’t share them here… but don’t despair! You can go and see everything here on Laura Thomas’s blog (she’s allowed ’cause she’s the curator).
The other exhibition is an interesting one as it features the work of contemporary designers who (mostly) develop their designs on handlooms but then use small mills to weave short production runs of their fabrics. This collaboration has been the saving of some mills which would otherwise no longer be in business. Many of the names are familiar ones: Eleanor Pritchard, Wallace + Sewell, Margo Selby and more. Again, you can see all the names and pics here: Laura Thomas has been a Very Busy Person. S particularly enjoyed this exhibition as it featured Dashing Tweeds, and he is a man who hankers after a bit of dashing tweed in his life. He could also relate to the whole pile-of-samples aesthetic as that reflects his experience of the weaving life much more accurately than the single beautiful artwork on the wall. I enjoyed both exhibitions, but this one would have engaged me that little bit more if we had been able to handle some of the samples. It was really painful to have them all laid out in front of me and not be allowed to touch – and rather strange too, since they were clearly genuine samply samples and handling is all part of sampling… I would have been happy to wash my hands first.
Anyway, I am home again with a load more samples of my own — the keyfishring designs are getting better & better — and much to do. I am taking a stall at Dundee Jamboree‘s Christmas market on 15th Dec, so Step to it! Let’s get organised!*
*There is almost nothing in life that can’t be summed up with a line from Thoroughly Modern Millie.