November 2014

November 29, 2014

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.

P1050223The plaque.

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.

October 2014

November 2, 2014

Sometimes when I review a month, I just think that what has happened at the start of the month seems a very long time ago. This is one of those months when I really can’t believe that all this has happened in just one month. I will follow events chronologically.

I had just been back to Sturt when a couple of days later, that announcement was made (see previous 2 blogs). Then at the end of the week I was flying back to Brisbane and the opening of Exposition at the Redlands Museum. This is the exhibition that had been at Warwick a couple of months ago. It is always interesting to see how any exhibition sits in another space. This time it had a rather intimate feel. Its next showing will be at Mundaring Arts Centre in Western Australia, 14 November – 21 December.

IMG_0387 (240 x 320)

Then back to Sturt. Helen has a major accomplishment on finishing weaving a very large floor rug.




Ruth has the honour of cutting off the Group challenge woven on an eight shaft mechanical dobby. She completed the last tea towel. Each student had the opportunity to weave  one and in some cases two tea towels within the same given set of guidelines. The warp consisted of green, olive and tan threaded randomly. When students were given the challenge, no reference was made to the threading which by the way was straight twill. The important focus is on getting students to design. A colouring in exercise is a “soft” way to achieve this. There is no “right” or “wrong”. A vast array of designs was achieved, even to someone’s surprise some double weave.


The long length of tea towels hot from the loom.


The tea towels are on display in the weave studio along with the challenge. Eventually I hope to have each student’s draft attached to their tea towel.

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Tuesday has sewn her poncho which she complete weaving on the previous month’s blog.


Maureen has finished her wall hanging. This was designed at Sturt but woven at home on her new 24 shaft computer assist Toika. It combines double weave, shadow weave and broken twill in silk and hand spun alpaca.

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Barb’s series of large table napkins come off the loom.


Then there was the trip to Darwin and the opening of my solo exhibition, Panoply. Here are some images of how the work appears. The staff of Framed did an amazing job of hanging the exhibition. No effort was spared to achieve the effect I wanted. I am delighted with the response to date. Eventually and hopefully by the end of this month, I will put full details on my web site. The focus for this exhibition is on wearables: garments, yardage, wraps and scarves.
















And on the very last day of the month, Sturt took delivery of a new 8 shaft jack loom. This is another of those looms made by Doug Rosemond (at left) from the prototype developed in last year’s certificate wood course. It has been on order for a while and has arrived with 6 weeks to go till the end of term. I am determined to enable every student to weave on this beautiful loom. Another design challenge is on and ready to go. Currently there are 3 challenges underway on different looms. I have promised that we will maximise these next 6 weeks. This loom is certainly a cause for celebration.