For a stay-at-home year 2021 has been a busy one. I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve been up to.
In February I launched my first online workshop on the theme of 8-shaft double weave. It was scary to plan and prepare, but once we got started I had so much fun working and weaving with a pioneer group of enthusiastic weavers. A second group joined me in April and a third in October, and it has been a treat every time. The creative energy that people bring to the course is a delight, and I love seeing the way the same basic tools are turned into an endless variety of designs. The next two workshops are already fully booked and I know that my winter will be brighter for this splash of colour!
With so much of my attention on double weave, it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s been on the loom a great deal. Having woven yards of new samples for the course, I found I couldn’t stop…
My favourite pieces are those where I was experimenting with a ‘What if…’ mindset. Thanks to a VACMA Award, I have been able to spend more time investigating ways of combining weaving with sound and video, as in this sample animation to the sound of the shafts rising and sinking on the Toika:
Another ‘what if…’ double weave sampler was this one. What happens if I combine layer exchange and weft interchange on a point threading? One answer is on the right.
I’m still experimenting on this threading, having tied a new warp onto the old one. That was an experiment too, as I hadn’t tried tying on a warp at the Toika, so the process was a negotiation between the loom, my knees and my elbows to see what would be comfortable for all concerned. On the Megado I have found it impossible to tie on behind the shafts, but it was pretty successful on the Toika once I had cottoned to a rearrangement of the back beams.
I have two beams, and the warp was set up to go around the outside beam, but it was much easier to tie on with the warp between the beams. Then it was a simple matter to remove the outer back beam (which I had been leaning on) and shift the inner beam plus warp to the outside position.
Much of my experimentation has been in the design process and hasn’t even reached the loom yet, so I don’t want to say too much about it for now. You may think that’s a bit rich from someone who hasn’t posted in six months (!) but I do share updates more frequently than that – it’s just that I tend to focus on my email newsletter first (so you know what to do).
Finished work has been very diverse, from the conclusion of my Aural Textiles collaboration with Jen Stewart to a scarf for my mother’s birthday.
Speaking of my mother, one of the non-weaving highlights of the year was our family holiday in August, when we all got together to celebrate mum’s 80th and 81st birthdays. It’s amazing who and what you can find on Instagram. I found Sadie of @deriliciouscakes, who made us these:
Yes, we do love a bit of colour with our colour in this family!
I’ve also been sharing via talks to Guilds and groups, and in some really interesting online conversations like this one on collaboration:
The Meet Make Collaborate Exhibition is currently at its third venue, the Lochty Gallery in Carnoustie, where it will stay through the winter. A couple of weeks ago I was able to visit with my mother, which was a lovely treat – even if she did like Carol Sinclair’s pots best!
Although it is an ongoing challenge to navigate the COVID pandemic, I have found this year a bit easier than last because the difficulties weren’t as unexpected. I’m extremely grateful to be double-jabbed and now boosted, but not taking 2022 for granted. More on that in another post…