What an eventful week it’s been. Walking into the studio was like stepping back in time. .. Unfinished wooden floor, lots of old looms, stuff everywhere, fireplace, an impression of dusty clutter collected over decades. The loom I’m working on is one of the two original countermarche 8 shaft ones. My predecessor has had it working. I have put a long sample warp in wool on it. I have rediscovered the joys of tieing up a countermarche system…and being a contortionist under it. I’m working on a variation in doing the tieing up which hopefully will make it just a tad easier. As a reaction to spending a good proportion doing the tying up, I also put on a warp on a table loom. Now they do have very nice new 8 shaft table looms (BUT they are still table looms and slow to weave on). I put on a bookmark warp. My intention was to use up one small cone of stainless steel/silk. Why bookmarks? Well I have just 230 odd yards and want to use it for both the warp and weft and have none left over. Very careful calculations resulted in a 3.5 m warp just 1” wide… only appropriate for bookmarks. I want to play using this…..watch this space for the results…..mmmmm. They might all result in useless bits, but this is playtime and anything goes!
But what are the facilities like? Well Sturt is set in beautiful surroundings, lots of trees. And I have managed to get the tail end of the autumn colours. Apparently, they were at their best 2 weeks ago. I am enjoying looking out from the cottage and studio windows to the odd orange leafed tree, in spite of the fact that only half the tree might have leaves on it.
The cottage I’m staying in is basic but comfortable. It comprises of 3 rooms all accessed from a covered awning: 2 bedrooms with ensuite and a communal kitchen/living area. I have one of the bedrooms. They are comfortable enough but storage space is limited. The interesting thing about the set up though is that I am sharing the kitchen with another couple. It’s back to college days and sharing. I have the top 2 shelves in a small fridge and 2 shelves in a storage unit. It’s going to be challenging….. all the business of sharing space and tidying up. The other two are young. Maybe you can imagine what that could be potentially like.
All in all, I’ve had a very successful first week. I marked the end of it with a celebration in the weaving studio to which I invited the other couple (she’s doing a jewellry residency and is part way through) and Megan who’s in charge of the operation of Sturt. We also did the grand celebration of cutting off the first warp…what a tiny narrow warp it was, but it was the first one. I’d completed the bookmark blanks. It was marked by red wine, cheese and chocolate of course. I think that we might have started a Friday afternoon institution.
And has it been cold? Well just a bit. It’s been damp also. The Tuesday group did light the fire, but I think that’s just what they do. I don’t really think it’s that cold but I do put the heater on in the studio that takes the edge off it.
Tomorrow I’m going exploring.