The Weaver

picture of Cally

My name is Cally Booker and I am a handweaver, textile designer, writer and teacher. Weaving is a craft which can be meticulously planned or improvised at the loom, and a combination of these approaches appeals to the different parts of my nature.

In both my exhibition pieces and my micro collections of accessories and homewares, I make extensive use of multi-layered warps. The interplay of different layers of colour gives my work its distinctive appeal.

Much of my inspiration comes from the cityscape of Dundee, from the grandeur of its waterfront setting to the small details of quirky buildings and everyday living.

A recent development in my work has been to draw on my interest in social and environmental data, and data about Scotland in particular. These data describe patterns which underlie our daily experience but are often difficult to see. Incorporated into weave, the finished work offers an alternative geography that, like the statistical data it draws from, is abstracted beyond recognition.

I am passionate about making things by hand and share my love of weaving through The Weaving Space, a programme of workshops based in my colour-filled studio.

Since completing an HNC in Handwoven Textile Design at Bradford School of Arts and Media in 2007 I have kept a blog of my weaving life: you can read the latest entries here.

I am a contributor to the weaving blog on Craftsy.com and have written articles for the Complex Weavers Journal, WeaveZine and WeaveCast. From 2008 to 2013 I served on the Editorial Committee of the Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, including time as Weaving Features Editor in 2009-11 and as Chair in 2011-12. I am the immediate past president of Complex Weavers.

The Looms

picture of Megado

My everyday loom is a Louët Megado with 16 shafts and a mechanical dobby. The dobby is a system of wooden bars which I fill with pegs to describe the weave structure I wish to create. It is a delightfully low tech but fiendishly clever system, and I have to exercise my ingenuity to make the most of it. My Megado is fairly small, with a weaving width of just 70 cm, so I use it chiefly for weaving scarves but can also create fabric for smaller items such as cushions.

picture of Delta

For wider pieces I turn to my Louët Delta, which has 8 shafts and a countermarche treadle system. It's a bit like playing the organ! The Delta has a weaving width of 130 cm, so I use it for weaving yardage and larger items such as throws.

picture of Magic Dobby

And I also have a third Louët loom, a Magic Dobby. This is a hand-operated mechanical dobby with 24 shafts and a 40 cm weaving width. Weaving on this loom is a slow but satisfying process. I use it for creating experimental pieces, including exhibition work and samples for larger scale production.

picture of Ashford table looms

For classes in The Weaving Space I have several Ashford table looms. These are lovely looms to learn on, being modern, well-built and easy to use. They also fold up for transportation, so I take them with me to Guilds, galleries, festivals, even barns...