November 2016

December 3, 2016

The accolades continue for the High Court Judges new robes. The ABC has picked up on it and ran a feature. www.abc.net.au/news/…new-robes-for-australian-highcourt/8023708

Bill, Margaret and I got up very early to be in at the ABC studio for a 5.30 am radio interview. http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2016/11/new-threads-for-australias-high-court-judges-designed-woven-and-sewn-here-in-southeast-queensland.html?site=brisbane&program=612_breakfast

I have also appeared in the local paper, The Bayside Bulletin and on page 2.

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Maggie came from Townsville for a week’s tuition in double weave. She has a 4 shaft loom at home so we focussed on weaving double weave and related techniques on just 4 shafts. As she was familiar with double width, we started with that, refining technique and exploring variations before moving onto all manner of other double weave techniques. Here are some of her experiments.

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At the same time that Maggie was in the studio, I also put on a 4 shaft double weave warp. I wanted to show that you don’t need a lot of shafts to weave a complex pattern. This pattern uses just 4 shafts.

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After weaving the first runner, the challenge was to remove some of one layer creating a different look.

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And to prove that it really did come from the same warp, here they are hot off the loom.

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Sally is officially my Tartan Queen. Her latest warp provided 2 twill scarves (seen last month), 1 plain weave scarf and several kerchiefs in her tartan. After weaving the twill scarves, she cut them off and resleyed to complete the rest of the plain weave items.

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GOMA, The Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane is turning 10. To celebrate this milestone, the gallery commissioned a sculpture by Judy Watson of a giant fish net. This sculpture sits beautifully at the entrance to GOMA. It was intriguing to watch people approach this very tactile sculpture and realise that the net was actually bronze.

 

“Sugar Spin: you, me, art and everything” marks ten years of GOMA, inviting us into a playful space of excess, colour and abundance. Drawing together more than 250 works, the exhibition celebrates the creative depth and diversity of the Collection writes the exhibition curator Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow. Artlines (QAGOMA publication) Issue 4, 2016. I am yet to explore the full exhibition and can’t wait to see what is included, but I have spent time in just one small section: Heard by Nick Cave. To mark the start of festivities, those attending could experience Heard as a performance as well as a static exhibition. Heard by Nick Cave (USA) (2012) is currently proposed for collection through the QAG/GOMA Foundation. I have long been aware of Nick Cave’s work and to consider that we will have a whole series here in Brisbane is quite amazing to contemplate.


October 2016

November 6, 2016

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This has been pretty much my focus for this month. Here I am throwing the shuttle to weave the next row. I have spent many hours continuing to weave black wool and silk for the High Court judge’s robes. You’ll see more later on.

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A different view: At the back of the loom, the top section shows how much warp is left to weave while underneath is the woven fabric. The actual weaving happens on the other side of the loom.

The Gold Coast weavers had another very successful 2 day workshop. This time it was held at their club rooms. This group of weavers is very active and keen to learn new techniques.

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This workshop focused on finger manipulated techniques. This topic was more inclusive for this group. Those with rigid heddles/knitter’s looms were able to participate as well as shaft loom weavers.

These techniques as the students found out can be used for an entire project or just used to add an accent to another piece of hand weaving. Here are some of their results.

 

Sally continues to weave tartan. This time she had put on a very long warp. First she wove two more twill scarves.

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Then she resleyed to achieve a sett appropriate for plain weave, dropped off some of the outside warp threads to achieve the width she wanted and then wove some kerchiefs and another scarf. These are hot off the loom today. She has managed to use the majority of the silk she had dyed. Now all she has to do is finish them all off. She’s promised to bring back her collection when they are totally finished.

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More on the High Court judges robes.

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Finally I have thrown the last row in the weaving of the black wool and silk for the sleeves. There is now enough for their immediate and short term future needs. Thank heavens the pattern was constantly changing. One pattern repeat is 150cm long. In the fullness of time there will be a Grand Cutting Off Ceremony. I am planning for all who were involved in the project to be here. Then I will need to spend time finishing the fabric ready to be handed over. So while I might have finished weaving, I can’t say I’m finished yet.

The media has picked up on the fact that Australia has new High Court judges’ robes. A number of newspapers have reported on the new robes. The Sydney Morning Herald ran an article in their paper, a longer version on line and this film on Bill Haycock as the designer. While the film doesn’t mention any of Margaret’s or my involvement, it does show detail of the new robes and what they used to weave. You will have to watch through the advertisement to get to the film. I’m unsure how long this will be available.

http://www.smh.com.au/video/video-news/video-national-news/justices-new-desi

However is a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald article: the whole page.

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And a close up of the words.

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This black fabric has been all consuming. However I do need to get busy on other fronts.

I am about to launch the next 6 months’ 5 day studio program. Here is advanced notice of the overview. Full details will be found under “My School”.

5-9th December Special/Open project

6-10 February   Linen and Lace

13-17th March   Beginning Weaving.

27-31st March    Beyond the Basics.

24-28th April       Parallels and networks.

29th May – 2nd June    Handwoven Rugs.

12-16th June.      Special/ Open Project

Classes are also available as 5 days over a 3 week period. Topics vary according to student requirements.

Studio access is also available for individuals or groups. This allows for independent or supervised projects.

Remember you do not have to bring looms or equipment.

 


September 2016

October 5, 2016

Waiting….

This blog is a little late so “waiting” is appropriate.

But this month I waited for my studio to become available again after it was temporarily appropriated as a storage venue. It was only meant to be for a weekend but it took a little longer.

I also waited for the announcement of what can only be described as a career highlight. I have also waited a long time to be able to talk about what I’ve been doing.

And what does one do while one waits….. one weaves. One also weaves on whatever loom is accessible in amongst the accumulation of stuff, the household effects temporarily here on their way to their new home. I’ll leave it to your imagination but let me say it wasn’t fun. But there was a loom that I could reach and that was available.

Before I had left for my adventures last month, I had put on a 16 shaft parallel threading ready and waiting for when I got back. It had been a very long time since I had explored parallel threadings and echo weave and double weave… possibly even 15 years or more. Interestingly, my friend Jette who I stayed with in Canada last month and I also took the opportunity to collaborate on some 8 shaft parallel threading samples. There are some images of that play on last month’s blog. It was rather addictive playing with what can be achieved on a 2 parallel threading draft: Double weave, turned taquete, echo weave, shadow weave.

Here’s just some of those samples.

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Then because I was still waiting, I did a 3 parallel threading draft on firstly 16 shafts using the same profile as the previous 2 parallel draft. I decided to weave a pair of scarves from the one draft using a different echo weave approach. The 3 warp colours chosen are subtle, not what I would usually choose for this structure. Here’s the two scarves from the same warp. They are quite different.

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And then another 3 parallel draft but this time on 8 shafts. Again I wove 2 scarves in echo weave, but this time I used more contrasting colours.

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The studio finally returned to some normality, but I’m having way too much fun to stop. So what will happen if I use 4 parallel lines with 4 warp colours. Here’s some sampling.

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And then some fabric destined eventually for a shirt. It feels lovely and drapes beautifully: 4 colours of mercerised cotton in the warp and silk for the weft and not a dominant pattern.

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And the day that I’ve been waiting for and working towards finally does arrive.

I have been involved in a very long term project. The project: To design and create new robes for the High Court.

This is the announcement that Bill Haycock, an amazingly talented designer and a pretty wonderful person to work with, made on Tuesday, 4th October.

I’m pleased to be able to finally say, without embargo, that as of this afternoon’s sitting the High Court of Australia are wearing new robes designed by me. ….

Other people involved include talented pattern maker and cutter: Margaret Adam, sewer who has a pretty amazing eye for detail: Saffron Firkins and myself.

http://www.hcourt.gov.au/assets/news/High_Court_Press_Release_-_New_Robes.pdf

This has been an amazing project to be involved in. It has also proved that I can keep a secret. This project has been under wraps since its inception. It all began more than 2 years ago when I was approached by Bill and sounded out as to whether I would be interested in weaving a commission. There was no hint of what the project was but I’m always interested in a challenge. A year or more passed. I presumed it had fallen through and hey I didn’t know what it was anyway. But then I heard from Bill again. That was the start of many meetings. I had the design brief, I sampled. Bill, Margaret and I met over several meetings and discussed overall robe design and conferred on the design of the woven elements. Finally the weave pattern was decided and I got to weave. The first set of sleeves are woven. A toile is made. It and the proposed fabric is presented to Justice Kiefel. We progress. The prototype is constructed and presented to all seven Judges. They unanimously approve and are delighted with the new robes. I heard they loved the woven fabric. We celebrate a milestone. This has been quite some journey. The project proper starts. Now time is of the essence. There are deadlines. The robes are delivered and we wait to hear when they will be worn for the first time. This day has now arrived. I can now share what has been and what continues to be an amazing collaboration.

While I can’t share the actual design details or the draft (It now belongs to the High Court), I will share some general facts on the woven component. In the overall design, Bill has incorporated several concepts. (See the press release.)

The basic fabric design is based on sand ripples. The concept is that Australia is an island hence sand enclosing our nation and yet ripples of sand can also be found in the Inland and is so inclusive. The fabric has a wool warp and silk weft. The aim of this combination was to allow maximum contrast for viewing of motif from a distance; maybe the back of the court room. It was a challenge especially as it had to be black on black. The weave structures used were chosen to maximize this contrast in lustre. The threading has no repeat and constantly changes. The treadling sequence evolves from narrow ripples on one end at the sleeve hem through to wider ones on the other sleeve hem, hence the pattern repeat is the total length of the two sleeves.

Threading begins.

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The first row is woven.

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Weaving progresses.

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Cutting off.

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The puddle of fabric on the floor.

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As the project developed, we were asked by the female judges whether a scarf /collar piece could be a part of the robe design. There are currently 3 female High Court Judges. The men wear shirt collars under the robe so the women required something that would give the same effect. The fabric design is based on the same concept of ripples, ensuring that the total effect is cohesive. It is however a much more simplified version of the sleeve pattern. The fabric is a natural cream silk. Margaret has then crafted the fabric so that it is fits inside the robe. Several collar pieces are required for each judge.

The fabric being woven.

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The finished yardage.

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Eventually I hope to be able to share images of the robes when they become available.

I have waited a long time to be able to share what has taken many hours of designing and then weaving. The project continues. I have woven the initial fabric for the seven judges’ robes. Now I am weaving more fabric for the High Court’s requirements and as of now and till the completion of the project have 2 looms (16 and 24 shaft computer assist) dedicated to the project. I hope to have it finished within the next month or so. I am so very honoured to be part of this project and very aware that this has certainly the potential to be a heritage that will live beyond me. How amazing is that!

 


August 2016

August 31, 2016

This month celebrates all things weaving and the fellowship/friendship of weavers. It was the month for Convergence and travel to the USA and Canada.

I arrived at 1.00 in the small hours of Monday morning after a delayed stopover in Dallas. My friend Judith greets me and of course we have to celebrate.

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It was also time to do our biennial scarf exchange. This challenge started by dying a warp using a starting point of mid-blue. This warp was then separated into 2 lengths with one length being swapped. The warps were then combined. We could weave it however we wanted. I think this challenge was in some ways the most challenging yet as the two warps that were to be combined ended up being very different. Here’s what we ended up with.

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 Now we both have an additional 2 scarves to add to our Judith and Kay collection. Their first outing: the fashion parade at Convergence. And as always they’ll be worn together.

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I would have to give an award to the most dedicated class of weavers to this group. There was a fire evacuation in the convention centre. No problem: we’ll just do a bit of theory while we wait.

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I celebrate the class results of Ties: decorative, functional and unconventional.

And I celebrate the results of the East Meets West Class.

 And the Sotis class.

But Convergence also means getting to see exhibits: The fashion parade with the winner’s circle and details of cloth.

The yardage exhibit.

Convergence is also about shopping. All the loom makers were there and an interesting mix of other traders.

Y shopping Outside the convention centre, I came across this unexpected delight.

And then Convergence was over for another two years. I wonder where it will be next time.

Then on to more adventures and I was very fortunate as I got to go and visit Kati and of course get to see her studio. As we drive in their driveway this is what I am welcomed with.

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And from there onto Canada. This time I get to stay with Jette.

I also get to teach. And here we celebrate weaving East Meets West with the Huronia Guild: weekend 1

 And also celebrate the weaving of the weekend 2 group.

What does one do when two weavers get together? Well obviously have a grand time but sometimes it’s also a chance to play.

To all the weavers (and others) I spent time with and the friends I caught up with, it was a grand trip. Thank you!

 


July 2016

July 28, 2016

My touring exhibition is having another showing. This time it’s at Gatakers Artspace in Maryborough. It is very interesting seeing how the exhibition interacts with different spaces. Gallery 4 at Gatakers is a large open space with exposed beams. That beam provided the perfect place to hang The Hand. Here are some general views of the exhibition. The staff at Gatakers and in particular Anne Brown who helped hang it were great to work with.

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In conjunction with the exhibition was a 5 day workshop. Three students, Pat, Isobel and Karen took advantage weaving for the full time, while Ann could only come for four. It was a great place for a workshop: plenty of light and plenty of room. It was great to work with them. As well as preparing warps, they achieved a lot of weaving.

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Ann explored double weave in a sampler. Both layers were the same colour so it was challenging to keep track of what layer was where without reference to colour. Here’s her sample.

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Then Ann decided to use the rest of the warp for a scarf. But first sections of warp were removed to make a more interesting textile. There will be warp and weft floats as well as double weave layers.

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Karen explored 8 shaft twills. She’s got some interesting colour combinations and structures happening and some that she’s designed herself.

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Pat also explored 8 shaft twills. As a beginner weaver she’s having a lot of fun exploring colour and pattern.

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Isobel is also a beginner weaver. She’s working with four shaft twills.

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Pat, Isobel, a friend and Karen celebrate the week’s achievements.

In addition there was an opportunity for people who had never woven before to come and weave for a day on pre-warped looms. All three are keen to continue. Here are these new weavers with what they wove in one day.

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Gloria

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Stephanie

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Susan.

It was a wonderful week where much was achieved as well as being delightful to spend time with weavers, both beginners and the more experienced.

Queensland Spinners Weavers and Fibre Artists ran a beginner weaving workshop over a weekend. There were three participants. They learnt how to wind a warp, dress a loom and weave. Just look at how much they produced in two days. They certainly went home with beautiful scarves; all very different.

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Tegan, Sally and Leonie with their scarves.

My friend Helen came for a visit. Of course she was going to weave. There was a spare morning so she had the opportunity to try out a draw loom. She did have fun!

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Sally stated weaving last month. For her third warp she decided to weave a tartan silk scarf as a ‘proper project’. In three and a half days she completed a beautiful scarf.

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My exhibition will come down in a few days. It is quite amazing to think how quickly this month has flown.

Finally I’ll share this image. One of the bonuses of having the workshop and exhibition at Gatakers was the opportunity to stay at one of my favourite places. Here’s a sunset at Burrum Heads.

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June 2016

July 3, 2016

This month there’s activity in the studio with two new weavers and a wonderful week with some old friends. I’ve also got some weaving to share

Rosemary continued with her next project. She brought her finished hand towels,

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and is getting one step closer to weaving a proper project using her hand spun mohair. Here she has put on a quick test warp to evaluate both how her spun mohair performs and to calculate shrinkage. She also wished to try out a table loom as she thinks that will fit her space requirements when she gets her own loom.

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Sally is also a beginner weaver. She is obviously having a great time learning to weave. Here she has finished her first warp: a collection of handtowels.

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Then very quickly there was a series of tea towels: to explore both how to weave her MacPhee tartan (colour sequence) and to explore various twills.

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Then even before she had finished off those she was planning her next project: a tartan scarf. As she says who would believe just a short time ago that she’d now be weaving and dyeing.

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In the meantime, I worked on a couple of scarves in double weave with supplementary warps. But then I decided to turn one of these sections into another narrow band of double weave. But how was I going to do that? Well it’s simple really: just add in a couple of temporary shafts, Laos style. What I did discover was that they were so easy to use.

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Then at the end of the month three friends from my time at Sturt arrived for a 5 day intensive. Each had their own project.

Sue wanted to explore lace weaves but more than that wanted to understand the relationship between design, profile and drafting. She wove and initial sample.

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Then after working on theory and developing a design wove a second warp.

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Helen came knowing that she wanted to weave lampshade fabric to compliment an oriental lamp base. She’s requiring both fabric and accent braid. As the braid was the more complex she decided to start with that.

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Gillian came knowing that she wanted to weave curves and explore network drafting. We worked on several design approaches. One was selected to weave into a scarf with additional sampling as time allowed. What was an interesting experience for her was going from her usual table loom to weaving on a computer assist loom.

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It was great having such a diverse range of requirements as each learnt from each other. In addition there was time to spend together.

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Eventually the weather turned and those Southerners got to experience glorious Queensland winter. We even took time out to have lunch and play at Wellington Point.

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 While they were here, I got to start threading my draw loom. Eventually I’ll get to weave on it though it will be some time till I can. In the meantime I’ll get it set up.

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What I do like about drawloom weaving is the flexibility in deciding what to do with pattern shafts. They can be rearranged so easily. I’ll just get the loom ready to weave and  decide later what I’m going to do. I do have 126 pattern blocks to play with.

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Invitation for 8 – 31 July 2016

June 23, 2016

Pattern Postcard June 2016 Web Back (600 x 399)Pattern Postcard June 2016 Web Front (600 x 399)