Can it really be Open Studio season again? A whole year has passed and it has been a crazy hectic one, starting with the move to my new space last November. Fortunately, it has turned out to be a very productive space and much weaving has been done since then. If you want to come and see it – space and weaving alike – now is your chance! We’re open 12 – 5 pm Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October.
One of the projects I have been working on this summer is now just about complete. The Aural Textiles collaboration began back in March and we have come a long way since then. I can’t wait to see the final pieces my co-conspirators have made: the glimpses on Instagram have been tantalising! Anyway, there is not long to go now: our exhibition opens on Monday 24 September and you are all invited.
As well as finished textile pieces – knitted, woven and screen printed – the exhibition will showcase the processes we have used to create our designs and feature samples in the different techniques. There are six of us, so we used six different sound recordings from the Scottish landscape – one made by each person – and swapped them around. If you can’t get to Forres (and I do realise it is a bit of a stretch for most!) then watch this space for digital content… and do read our blog too.
For the last week I have been beavering away on my own final piece and on getting all the documentation together: there’s a lot of it! Sound files, images, drafts, notes… All that remains now is to take the photos and package everything up. In the meantime, here are some sneaky peeks at Sound of the Sea: naturally dyed wool/silk yardage based on, you guessed it, the sound of the sea.
Here are a few examples of the purses I have been making for the Craft Scotland Summer Show in Edinburgh. Because we all have different things we need to stash, I’ve made them in a variety of shapes and sizes…
These little guys with the clips are my favourite to make, because they are so cute when you turn them right side out at the end. (It’s a bit tricky to tell how large they are from these photos, but this wee chap is about 4″ square and one inch deep.)
I delivered these and their several brothers and sisters, along with a selection of scarves and cowls, to White Stuff on George Street this morning. The show opens on Friday and is then open every day until 26 August.
Most people probably wouldn’t classify the Megado as a simple loom, but a mechanical dobby does have a pleasing transparency to its operation. So when weaving stops dead and cords are seen trailing on the floor, it is fairly easy to identify the cause of the problem. In this case, it was a metal bracket at the back of the dobby box which had succumbed.
On the face of it, this is pretty bad news. I phoned around several Louet suppliers in the UK and nobody happened to have a spare one of these stashed on a shelf, so I had to get in touch with Louet themselves to organise a replacement and that takes a bit of time.
However, on the plus side, it is actually perfectly possible to weave on the Megado without this piece, because the dobby can be advanced by hand. It is slow and a bit awkward, and the awkwardness introduces a greater risk of error than advancing the dobby by treadle, but weaving is weaving … and when there are deadlines, slow progress is better than no progress at all. And the second plus is that a useful person – one such as S, for instance, who has patience and the relevant skills – can produce a facsimile to be going on with.
The original is of a much sturdier type than the homemade replacement, and I am not sure how long the latter will bear the forces that are placed on it by the dobby advance, but it is doing fine for now. And for the last couple of days the loom has had a wee rest, while the sewing machine has taken the strain. I have been busy turning small pieces of my Dotted Quarter fabric into purses for the imminent Craft Scotland Summer Show. More on that in another post!
When I was teenager I once received a card from a friend – who hadn’t been in touch for about a year – which had the following printed message: ‘Just because I haven’t written doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you. I just can’t think and write at the same time.’
I still remember it after all these years, because it actually sums me up pretty well. So you can imagine that while I haven’t been blogging I have been very busy thinking for the last several weeks… thinking, learning, dyeing, thinking, thinking, weaving, and more thinking.
And now I’m, somewhat belatedly, on a roll. I have been weaving up a storm for all the summer events in my calendar, starting next week at Designer Crafts in London. My contribution to this exhibition is relatively small but quite exciting, as I can include a couple of ‘statement pieces’ as well as a selection of scarves and cowls. That’s given me an opportunity to continue playing with painted warps using thickened natural dye extracts, which is something I’ve found very satisfying – even though I end up painting myself, the table and just about everything else as well as the warp!
Many months ago I mentioned that my colour palette was based around a particular scarf that is perfect for listening to live jazz. I am really delighted with the way that palette has worked out using a fairly basic set of natural dyes: madder, weld, indigo and cochineal.
Dyeing comes a long way behind weaving in my list of enthusiasms, but I get more enthusiastic when the results are what I want! I don’t have a ‘favourite colour’ (who could choose just one?) but this ensemble is pretty much my happy place in colour terms, so weaving with these yarns is a joy. Add in fine weather and a single-minded focus on studio time and I really couldn’t ask for more.
Here’s a wee peek at some freshly pressed results…
Now I have to leave the loom to head down to England over the weekend, but there’s plenty of warp awaiting my return. Next up will be the Craft Scotland Summer Show in Edinburgh, so I can’t slow down yet…