May 2017 #2 In the studio

June 10, 2017

The past few blogs have been exclusively about my textile trip to Laos/Cambodia earlier this year. Just because I haven’t been talking about what has been happening in the studio, doesn’t mean that nothing has been happening. The following are some of the highlights over the past few months.

Back in the February blog # 2, I wrote about Joan who was visiting Australia from Hawaii and extended a holiday to explore waving on a draw loom. She managed to get totally fascinated by the process and has since acquired her own loom. Now that is a great result!

I’m mentioning that because it also gave me the perfect opportunity to explore an idea.

Beside the draw loom (on right), I set up a countermarche loom so that it was a cross between a draw loom having long eyed short heddles at the front and a Laos loom with vertical storage at the back. Having the two looms side by side was an interesting juxtaposition. I did like the potential of weaving similar cloth on both looms. Over a period of time, I had noticed many similarities between the functioning of the Laotian (or any S.E.Asian loom) and the draw loom. This was my opportunity to explore what a hybrid loom could do.

Damask is being woven on the hybrid loom. I have 6 shafts set up for a 6end damask on the front and the stored pattern operating as the pattern shafts at the back.

As in conventional Laotian weaving, the pattern is picked up and stored. In this case however the block patterns are being stored. The stored pattern is then used in much the same way as a pattern shaft on the draw loom – raised for the 6 rows of a 6 shaft satin.

And just because I could do it, I also wove a supplementary weft pattern on the same warp. All the patterns that I have used are from “Lao Motif”.

I will return to this as there’s much potential and it’s such a fun challenge to do. However a group was arriving in the studio.

Every two years a group of like-minded weaving mates get together with the challenge of playing and exploring any technique or structure or in reality anything relating to weaving. There’s discussion and a whole lot of fun to go with it! It’s a highlight of a diary and something to look forward to. It’s been going on quite some time and we’ve had several. Sometimes everyone can come, other times there are fewer. This time it was my turn to play host. (Normally I have to go to USA or Canada). Three weavers came to Australia: Kathy, Jette and Bev. By chance they all decided that they needed to play with my Laos equipment. So there was one traditional Laos style loom and two countermarche looms with Laos vertical storage units.

Weaving mates from three countries: USA, Canada and Australia.

We all wove. Here are three “Lao” looms in action.

There was much group problem solving…..

….and fun. Part of the experience was the duet. They’re chalking up how many places (Towns, States and Countries) they can play together in.

Detail of some of the weaving

I got to play i.e. get around to doing, something that I’d been wanting to do for some time. Keeping in the theme of bands of pattern, I explored structures on my 24 shaft computer assist loom.

And at the end of their stay, I have even more potential for play as now I have three looms with warps for me to weave on. I can go back to my damask/supplementary weft (the original hybrid loom).

I also have the original Laos loom. I decided it could do with an adventure with a saw. As I am not using it any more with a warp in a bag at the front of a loom, I don’t need all that length.  I am using a western style back warp beam to store the warp. I have found that it is much easier to achieve even tension. All I need is a length to allow movement between the vertical storage and the front plain weave/ground shafts.

So saw in hand, it is now shorter and taking up much less floor space in the studio.

But I also have a loom with a ground of overshot. That was a careful bit of planning as now it’s so conveniently set up in time for a 5 day workshop: Beyond the Basics.

Ronda and Jan came to explore profile drafting and converting it into basic weave structures: 4 and 8 shaft forms of Overshot, Crackle, M’s and O’s and a combination of Summer and Winter and a simple lace. It was a very productive week and as well as going home with a whole lot of samples, they’d woven on several different styles of looms including the 16 shaft computer assist and had a portfolio of drafts.Here are some of their samples.

And I still had a bit of warp left on the Overshot/Laos loom. I have plans! I can weave a border with both a finer supplementary weft design in the style of Laos patterning and a larger overshot one.

Here it is with the pattern being developed. It is being woven upside down with these long floats to be on the back.

In addition to weavers working in the studio, I have had a bit of life on the road. My touring exhibition Pattern; A Universal Phenomenon had an outing to Moranbah. The exhibition looked fabulous and was extremely well received.

We even had journal making workshops with hand woven fabric covers in Dysart, Clermont and Moranbah. (Unfortunately I don’t have images from Moranbah)

But then Cyclone Debbie came and Central Queensland was flooded. Demounting couldn’t happen. The town was cut off. Eventually the roads got reopened and life returned to ‘normal’ for that community. I am pleased to report that while the town was flooded, no one was hurt. The upside was that the exhibition had an extended life of an extra month. Pattern has one last showing to complete the touring program. It will be in the Childers Art Space from 15 July to 3 September.

Coming up is another exhibition: Stitched up. I was delighted to be invited to be part of this exhibition. I will report on that process of producing that work and the background behind my concept for the work on the next blog. In the meantime here’s a link to the exhibition.

http://www.thelockup.org.au/whats-on/stitched-up


February 2017 Part 2

March 2, 2017

In this post, I separate what is going on in the studio and my trip to Laos and Cambodia. Both are so different that they deserve their own space.

Two days after my arrival home from the trip to Laos and Cambodia, I held another Linen and Lace workshop in the studio. Four weavers attended. We explore many lace weaves (Canvas weaves, Spot Bronson, Bronson Lace, Swedish Lace, Huck). Nine warps were woven off so they went home with quite a collection. The following are some images taken over the five days.

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Four weavers with some of the warps being cut off.

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Experimenting with finishing using a modified mangling process: glass bottles filled with cold water. A marble rolling pin on a tile or a piece of glass would be a preferred option.

Then two days later I had Joan, a weaver from Hawaii who combined a tourist trip to Australia with an opportunity to weave in my studio. She decided to explore weaving on a draw loom. But first, there was a minor problem. I had a warp on this loom. It had only been there for about nine months waiting for me to eventually get around to weaving it. There’s nothing like someone wanting to weave on a loom to get you to actually weave. This warp was designed to explore 4 shaft ground weaves. Using just 4 shafts how many basic structures can be woven? But before I show what I wove, I’ll outline the parameters that I’d set. The design was to be basically the same with only variation being in the frame in one corner. I wanted to have a fairly restricted design so that I didn’t spend too much time thinking and moving around pattern shafts (time was of the essence after all). Yet to prevent boredom I allowed myself a small restricted area to play in. You will see the overall standard design with variation.

How many structures can be done on 4 shafts? This many!

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Let’s take a closer look. There’s a 1/3 and 3/1 combination. The direction of the twill line is the same.

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There’s a 1/3 and 3/1 twill with opposite directions. This is a very common effect employed in 8 shaft twill blocks.

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Instead of straight twills, how about warp and weft faced broken twills?

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In the High Court judges’ robes I employed “network drafting” of warp faced straight twill with weft faced broken twill. Here I repeat the effect on a draw loom.

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Moving away from twills, a three end lace weave is possible. This followed very nicely from the previous week’s Linen and Lace.

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A standard 4 shaft straight threading can also be used for pick up Summer and Winter (2 tie unit weave).

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And of course 4 shafts can also be used for doubleweave. Normally the sett would be twice as dense and alternate colours would be used. Instead here I have compensated by using alternate colours in thicker yarns. Obviously by the size of the same I ran out of time before Joan arrived.

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Joan got to pull cords and look at how the loom worked before even getting to wind a warp and thread by playing on the tail end of my warp.

Joan had come with a prepared design based on a photograph of a tiled floor. After planning her project/s, drafting her design, and winding the warp prior to learning about setting up the loom, she got to weave that design. The next challenge was to alter the set up of the pattern shafts to interpret a new design. This one was a simple modification.

This image shows both her first and second design.

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The last challenge required her to use as many pattern shafts as possible threaded individually with the exclusion of a border and design a motif across the full width. She enjoyed the freedom of dropping off all the pattern shafts, rearranging them in a different configuration to allow for total freedom of pattern design. The following images shows Joan cutting off her warp and the different patterns she had designed and woven.

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This is what I love about drawloom weaving: the freedom of developing “block” designs using the pattern shafts of a drawloom. The design potential is so much greater than what can be achieved on any multi-shaft loom (even one with the most number of shafts available on a computer assist loom). The only other loom that has greater potential is a jacquard. It however involves computers. This is the “slow food” equivalent of weaving where there is a much greater “hands on” experience.

 


December 2016

December 31, 2016

 

This month is all about what has been happening in the studio.

Jennie worked on a doublewidth waffle weave towel in Bendigo cotton. Many weavers are content to weave double width as plain weave or twill with the aim to achieve an invisible fold line. This was a great challenge with an additional challenge to the norm. Jennie took a conventional 8 shaft waffle weave, and converted it to a 16 shaft draft. Waffle weave has long floats in a diagonal progression that after washing creates deep cells. These long floats without careful management will draw in at different rates at the fold making a real mess down the centre of the fabric. What did she do? She spaced the warp in the reed at a more open sett for the fold and used a weighted fishing line to keep the folded edge rigid. Check out the end result and you can’t see where the folded edge was during weaving. It’s a great result Jennie.

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Jennie cutting off her weaving. Note the two layers. The piece of paper separates the layers so that she can knot the ends independently to allow for the fabric to be opened full width.

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Here it is opened out full width. The fold can barely be seen and will disappear totally after laundering.

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Jennie examines the laundered cloth. Note that the fabric is now very three dimensional. It has also shrunk in size considerably.

Sally is currently working on a series of three rag rugs. They are of different lengths for different locations. Her aim is to explore different effects with all three being totally different. So far she has woven two. Along the way she has discovered the Fibonacci series; a mathematical method of using different proportions to achieve visual balance.

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Rug #1.

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 Rug #2 is totally different.

I finally got to weave off the last double weave challenge which has been on the loom for several months. This challenge follows on from work initiated several months ago on parallel threadings and was to compliment student work over several months in the studio. The basic challenge: to design a table runner that uses doubleweave as panels to have the end effect of pattern bands on a plain weave background. The first runner has an additional pattern of wrapping (West Timor style) in the centre to compliment the doubleweave panels.

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The challenge for the second runner: to achieve a different effect. In this one some threads were taken from the doubleweave bands and rethreaded to add a colour stripe and supplementary warp either side of the doubleweave bands. I liked both sides so have bound the hem to make it reversible.

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Both runners together with the reverse side of the second one also shown.

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The last of the High Court judge’s commission of the robe sleeves.

This month had the Grand Cutting Off Ceremony when all who had been involved in the project came to the studio to celebrate the final warp of the commission. Everyone had a “go” at weaving, even Saffron’s children. Here they all are:

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Bill Haycock: designer

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Margaret Adam: pattern maker and cutter

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Saffron: sewer

 

And children.

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Then we all posed together before I officially cut it off. We had a grand celebration!

 Soon to come: My intention is to put together the full story. You have perhaps followed the story since the announcement by The High Court. This has been such a significant project that I would like to also report on what went on in the stages prior to this.

 Don’t forget to check out the year’s studio classes. There is one vacancy in the Linen and Lace Class to be held 6-10th February.

 

 


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.

 


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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