Sturt Weaving Workshop is not just a place where weaving happens but it is also a community. On some days when there are no formal classes, the doors are open and all manner of interesting people come in. There are of course weavers working from all three groups (shaft weavers and tapestry), and then there are the visitors: some who are just plain inquisitive about “what is going on in there”, some who came when they were students at Frensham, some who have relatives who wove either here or in another place or time and some who have extra special stories to tell. Sometimes I sit back, look at all the activity on these days and am content. It feels great!
So this month there’s stories on some visitors, our student resident, weaving (both projects and challenges) and a great honour.
At the start of the month we had a visit from Margaret and some family. Margaret wrote the delightful letter following the announcement of the changes that are about to happen (September) She brought along Christopher, now not so young, who had woven here under Elizabeth Nagel. When he came in he made a bee line for the big rug loom out the back studio. What stories were told! For us who were here, it was a real treat.
Christopher and the loom he used to weave on.
This helping hand provided by the husband of Barb highlighted the community spirit that makes up the weaving workshop. Barb rejoined for the last part of the term. She was concerned that she wouldn’t get her ideal project completed so she brought along her husband to lend a hand. Threading of a series of wide napkins (serviettes) was done in no time.
Last weekend we had a visitor. Julia Charles walked in and said that her grandmother had donated a loom. I said that unless it had a plaque, it would be difficult to trace. Luckily the loom had a plaque. (I insist on all looms that are donated to the studio have a plaque.) It was the big rug loom! Betty Charles had given the loom in 1959. What a delight to meet her grand daughter.
It was time this month for the annual visit from Year 10 Frensham girls. Each year the year 10’s come across, are divided into groups and spend a lovely time creating. The girls had the opportunity to work with clay, make books, work in the jewellery workshop and of course in the weaving workshop. I had a maximum number of 12. The girls made purses and bags to “hold treasures”. They started with some tie dye and then all did some card weaving and then had the opportunity to weave on table looms and a brief 20 minute stint on a floor loom. This is what was produced. Many of the bags are lined using the dyed fabric. I was delighted with their efforts. We had fun!
An impressive collection of bags produced by the year 10’s; and they are not all there!
We’ve had a student resident weaver. Sari came for 6 weeks but had such a lovely time; she asked if she could have an extra week. During that time she produced a large quantity of work, focussing on felted woven scarves. It was a steep learning curve as she had to learn that not all wool felts by experience. She soon became accustomed to testing first to see if the yarn she was going to use would. It is very sad to contemplate that she will be the last resident weaver under the current format of the weaving workshop. But what an experience for her! The weavers also enjoyed having her around.
Sari weaving on my 8 shaft jack loom and with her collection (below)
Tuesday finishes another warp: this time a scarf in lace weave. She explored a number of different patterns from the one threading.
She proudly showed the finished scarf.
Ruth played with colour. The warp is widely spaced, allowing for weft colour to dominate.
Belinda cut her colour study from the loom. She also explored various threading on this warp.
Tuesday wove another warp. This time it was a scarf using loopy mohair.
Maggie (second from Left) wove a length using strips of old shirts. The coloured warp added great interest to the overall effect. There is much discussion on the end use of the series she has been working on.
There will be another indigo day before the end of term. Belinda finishes a short warp exploring warp shibori. It is now pulled up ready to go.
Isabel is the last person to weave on a group challenge. She has the honour of cutting off. These will be another series of tea towels. More about this will be on next month’s blog.
I have decided that I’ll mark the end of my term by weaving a series of “loom bench floor rugs”. The first was a scaled reproduction of the community rugs from last year. I thought that it could be a souvenir of my time here. There’s potential for possibly 4 rugs but whether I get all done will depend on how much I am diverted from the project by other things that happen.
Last year, Doug Rosemond made a loom for the graduating wood student’s exhibition. He was one of the year long certificate course students. There was collaboration between us to achieve what is a beautiful loom. It is a joy to weave on. Currently there are 3 of these in the workshop. I have the original prototype. Belinda, one of the students, acquired one and has been weaving on it here. Then last month Friends of Sturt acquired one. It is currently being used for another group challenge. I wanted all students to have the opportunity to enjoy the experience of weaving on it before the end of year. I have been asking Doug to put his plaque on them. He came to see what this year’s graduates have produced and he arrived with his plaques.
Isabel supervises putting them on.
I am speechless, feeling very honoured and delighted by what he has put on them. It is not every day that one has a loom named after them. I know that I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in this project. Right from the start of my 2 year term, it was my hope that through collaboration with the wood workshop, a loom could be developed. I saw it as a way of updating the very old and mostly inefficient collection of looms that were in the workshop. I saw it also as representing the ethos and vision of Winifred West, the person who set up Sturt. I am very pleased that Doug also had that vision and made it possible. It could not have happen without us being here at Sturt. It is the interaction between workshops that can sometimes make this an exciting place. I am delighted that he has on-going orders for more. Phone Doug on 0419493081. By the way I am very happy to promote these looms and have absolutely no financial benefit in doing so.
I have just heard from Mundaring Art Centre in Western Australia that Exposition continues to have great reviews. This is a group exhibition in which I am involved that stated in Warwick then went to Redlands Museum, both in Queensland. There is an online gallery that may be of interest. http://www.mundaringartscentre.com.au/online-gallery-exposition-2014