Rosemary has been spending time in the studio. She is a new weaver with an aim of weaving with her own hand spun mohair. She is raising a few goats. Firstly though she has woven a few hand towels so that she can understand the process and play with colour.
and finishing! Congratulations Rosemary.
I was a birthday present! And I was delighted to be one. Anne Mette’s husband gave a weekend of private lessons to celebrate a special birthday. She had got hooked on weaving following a workshop I did at Go Create last year. She also has a Danish background and was interested in weaving rugs. This was her second warp and was partly woven. We explored all manner of basic weave structures on this warp.
And then learnt about efficient ways of winding and putting a warp on. A trellis was a convenient place to hang a warping board.
We then repeated the patterns on a balanced weave. It was a very busy weekend and she had a party in the middle. We covered an extraordinary amount of ground as well as fine tuning her countermarched loom. Well done Anne Mette!
It has been a busy time in the studio. I have even managed to weave off three of scarves with variations on a theme. They combine plain weave and twill with some supplementary warp patterning.
And some collapse weave scarves using a weft of overspun alpaca/silk. I do not spin regularly but as I required an overspun yarn, it was one way to get it.
On books and magazines:
This is a marvellous book. I was delighted to do a review for TAFTA. Robyn Spady, Nancy A Tracy and Marjorie Fiddler have created a beautiful hardcover book full of wonderful images of fabric swatches and full documentation of the work of Dr Bateman. I had seen some of his samples and documentation in folders of his work in Seattle. These are much better and so easy to understand. For those who don’t know about Dr Bateman, on his retirement he was prolific in his experimentation of weaving drafts, often taking them in new directions. 398 warps x 6 to 12 samples sure produced a lot of samples. The authors chose “the most innovative”. I was very happy to recommend it.
At the end of last month, I received the latest issue of the Complex Weavers Journal. I’m delighted to have an article in it.
Just arrived is the latest issue of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot, the publication of the Handweavers Guild of America. I was honoured when they approached me for an article am delighted with how they presented it.
The highlight of this month though has to go to my latest adventure. On my ‘bucket list’ for ages has been a trip to Lake Mungo. Why? The remoteness, the landscape, the history, all have called.
Lake Mungo is a world heritage listed national park in the far south west of NSW, just north of Mildura. Normally it would be classed as dessert but it had rained and it was green. In some ways it was not what I was expecting but I was so fortunate to be there. Maybe I’ll have to go back to see it in another light.
It is the site where Mungo Lady and Mungo man were found. The Lake Mungo area is ancient and is a most significant Australian archaeological site. There’s evidence of man having lived here for over 50,000 years. That’s nearly beyond comprehension. Mungo lady was found first and is the earliest known human to have been cremated. A few years later, Mungo man was found. His remains had been coated with red ochre and is the earliest known use of pigments for artistic, philosophical or religious purposes. Both are around 40,000 years old with a possibility of them being even older. The mere fact that I was standing there was remarkable. We could see artefacts emerging from the sand.
Lake Mungo is a dried up lake. On one side is a crescent “lunette”. Here there is erosion and large sand dunes. The sand is moving. It is remarkable scenery.
You can see the sand being blown off the top of the sand dune.
Vegetation is being covered up as well as artefacts uncovered.
It is also the place where explorers passed through and of pastoralists trying to make a living raising sheep. Here are old shearing sheds and stories of early life on the land.
The remnants of an old tank stand provides a perch for swallows.
Bits of wire and weathered wood provide an interesting study.
I shared my adventure with two other textile artists. Judy Wilford is a well- known embroiderer and Truda Newman is a lapsed weaver who is finding a new voice in different media. It was really interesting to see how we each reacted to the environment and for me it certainly added to the experience. There’s much inspiration here. I’ll share some images. Firstly a flight over gives an idea of scale and how it all fits together. It also flattens the landscape allowing pattern and textures to emerge.
Spinifex circles. The plant dies from the centre and new growth creates pattern. This wasn’t visible from ground level.
A straight line dissecting the land as far as the eye can see.
Truda and I back on the ground having had the most extraordinary experience.
On the ground:
A grove of rosewood provides a place for contemplation.
Some Mallee and spinifex/porcupine grass.
Saltbush and a kangaroo.
Emu. When driving one certainly needed to keep an eye out for emu and roo.
The sun goes down looking back from the Walls of China over the lake bed.
As we were in the ‘area’ and it was on the way home, of course a stay in Broken Hill was also on the agenda. It’s also been on my list. It’s dessert country, a frontier mining town of another era where the mine dominates,
the home of the movie, “Priscilla Queen of the Dessert”, an Australian cult classic celebrating 20 years (Do you recognise the murals and shoe in the foyer of the Palace Hotel?),
and where a group of sculptors did remarkable work.
The round trip: over 4,000km. What remarkable country!