February 2016

March 1, 2016

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I am currently working on a series of sotis inspired pieces. This is just one of the techniques that will be covered in the workshop here in the studio (East Meets West 25-29 April) and at Convergence.

At the start of the month, The Gold Coast Weavers hosted another weaving camp at Bornhoffen. It’s a great destination but this time it would have had to have been the hottest days of the entire Summer. In spite of the heat, everyone did great work.


In the late afternoon, it was delightful to relax out on the deck and watch the sun go down.


The workshop explored twill and the potential of the twill threading. Here’s a selection of completed work. No one wanted to cut off as they all were going to go home and finish the warps for tea towels. It is interesting to see the colour choices: from the subtle and classic though to the more contrasting. Everyone was fascinated how the different design approaches affected the treading sequences. While all did great work, I’ve limited the images to 6, purely from a colourway perspective.









At the end of the Linen and Lace workshop from January, I was left with 2 warps to be finished. On the Huck Lace one I managed to weave a tea towel and then a length for a different project. The second was woven in plain weave to be used in conjunction with the other. The first warp came off and I washed it. The yellow ran and no matter what I tried, I have not managed to get rid of it all. The fabric length is now a very pale yellow. Here you can see, the yellow tea towel (the culprit), the dyed fabric and a natural finished item used here for comparison.

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So what about the other plain weave piece? Well, using the same source of dye ( a hank of yarn), I washed it and yes managed to get the same colour with a couple of tries. I also had to go through the same trying to remove process as the first. I wonder if they will wear out at the same rate? Eventually the project will be completed. Here are the two together (with something out of focus behind). I don’t think I could get much closer.

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I have been having an interesting read. This book was written in 1947 from a 1920’s reprint. It’s interesting from a historical perspective. Here’s a couple of quotes:

From the Editors Preface (W. R. Lethaby)

It is desirable in every way that men of good education should be brought back into the productive crafts: there are more than enough of us “in the City,” and it is probable that more consideration will be given in this century than in the last to Design and Workmanship. 

From Author’s preface. This will give you a guide of what is in the book.

The object of the present volume is to inform the student of hand loom weaving of the best methods of preparing warps, fitting up looms and making or acquiring the various appliances necessary for the work, as well as inventing, planning and weaving plain and ornamental webs.

 And from the concluding note by Luther Hooper

This ending, although somewhat abrupt is not unintentional, for it was just at that time that weaving, to a great extent, ceased to be an artistic craft. It was then that the loom ceased to be a tool, more or less complicated, which the weaver himself could keep in order and cunningly adjust, alter, and adapt to any particular work he might have in hand.

On the jacquard loom:… resulted in the multiplication of patterns; patterns for the most part inferior to the traditional ones already in use. The Jacquard machine is also responsible, to a great extent, for the separation of the art of designing from the craft of weaving.

Referring to power looms and the Jacquard. There can be no question that the best weaving was done before these innovations…. It would therefore seem, that the right road to improvement in weaving, as in all crafts, can only be found by those who are willing to return to the traditional methods and simpler ideals of the earlier masters of craftsmanship.

From here in 2016, I wonder what they would make of the direction of weaving now and of their comments in retrospect. This certainly gives a bit of food for thought and even a touch of wry amusement. To finish though these images were real gems. I have woven velvet in the past so this image of the velvet loom and cloth storage is a real find.

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At the end of August 2013

September 5, 2013

I’ve been weaving with fairy floss. Well I presume it must be as it floats in the updraft of the heater beside my loom. It is very cold in the back studio at Sturt and I cope with being cold by looking like “Michelin man” and having the heater under the loom.

fairy weavings
This was the final piece woven for the exhibition. The gold metallic supplementary weft is 3 threads and is very light; hence floating in the updraft. I am delighted that it made the deadline. At one stage I really thought it just wouldn’t be woven in time.

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Work progresses in the studio. Del has finished her beautiful scarf.

The gardens erupt in spring flowers. The magnolias are stunning.

Pattern: A Universal Phenomenon is now hanging in the Redland Art Gallery. I am delighted with how it has come together. My thanks goes to the staff at RAG both for their professionalism in making this happen and to the hanging committee that have made my vision work. The exhibition is open till Sunday 22nd September. My thanks also go to all the people who came to either or both the opening and the floor talk. It was a grand turn out at both and I certainly appreciated the response to the exhibition.

I am including some images. At some stage in the near future I will put the full picture on my website.

Front desk
The front desk.The following images are as the work appears from the left hand side of the gallery working around the walls to the front again.

First section

7 The Creators
The Woodworker’s Rag, The Painter’s Canvas, The Potter’s Apron, The Weaver’s Cloth.

9 The weavers
The WeaversI,II,III,IV.

10 Postcards

11 Take Five series
Take Five series

12 Take Five printed fabric lengths
Fabric lengths using motif from the Take Five series.

13 The Hand
The Hand

14 Journeys by Hand
Journey by Hand. 25 damask pices mounted with matching design source and repeat motif. This series couldn’t have come about to its full potential without the graphics wizardry of my friend Indra Deigan.

15 At work , at rest, at play
At Work, At Rest, At Play

Section of wall show The New Mexico series, The New Zealand series, The India series.

Section of wall showing The Italian series and The West Timor series.

22 Brotherhood of Man
Brotherhood of Man.

Timeless and printed fabric lenghts. One has been overdyed.

Section of wall with Meeting Place.

For this exhibition, I have also produced a limited run of journals. The journals have images from Journeys by Hand. One day not so long ago I spent the afternoon with my friend Judith Krone at her cabin (see June post)learning how to do coptic binding. Little did I know it would result in this. Judith also introduced me to Spoonflower where I have had the fabrics printed.
I would also like to acknowledge the Centre for Contemporary Textiles in Montreal. It was there I spent time and had these jacquard textiles in this exhibition woven.

Finally, here is an image of the front of the catalogue. RAG produced it with words from my friend, Myann Burrows who had seen the work develop and understood.

At the end of June 2013

July 7, 2013

The month stared with a conference run by the Contemporary Hand Weavers of Texas. This was a superbly run and enthusiastic small conference with the focus very much on hand weaving. In fact I have never seen so many hand woven favours in the conference bag and they just kept on coming… covered note books, lunch bag, napkins etc. I heard that every member guild wove something for each attendee. Even the president of CHT personally wove a thank you napkin. I was so impressed by the conference. And there was a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Conference bag with handwoven napkins, lunch bag, covered book.

I had an extra treat. I got to know Kate in my class. She was also one of the enthusiastic volunteers of the conference and contributed hugely to all that weaving. She is also head of the weaving design studio at Perennials. www.perennialsfabrics.com and I was very fortunate to be given a guided tour of the facility. Perennials donated fabric for the bags. This fabric is used for high end outdoor furniture. The company has total control from the design of the acrylic yarn through fabric construction to the end product.

A very pleasant place to pull up resist threads.

A delightful place to pull up resist.

Undoing the samples

Undoing the results.

On to an informal visit with a group of hand weavers in Northern Michigan and followed by a stroll around Norma’s magnificent Spring garden.

In Denver there was a visit to The Fine Line, a centre for creative arts. Of interest to me was the weaving studio, retail outlet and gallery. The gallery was hosting HGA’s Small Expressions. http://www.fineline.org

The Fine Line

Retail outlet.

The shop.

Weaving studio

The weaving studio

The Woodstock Guild hosted woven shibori. Some great results were obtained in just 2 days.

Applying dye.

Applying dye.


Analysing results.

There were two other highlights of my stay with Su Butler. One was sitting out on their back patio watching the stars come out. The night sky here is of course totally different than back home. The other was a visit to Frank Lloyd Write’s first home and studio. I particularly enjoyed pattern evident in many surfaces. http://www.GoWright.org

The front entrance to his home.

The entrance to the family home.

The entrance to his offices.

Stained glass windows.

Stained glass window.

A light fittinhg over the dining room table.

Light fitting above the dining room table.

Denver. Sandy Hutton collected me from the airport and first stop off was Spun at the Denver Art Museum. The museum has several exhibitions with the focus on fabric either as fabric or at the very least in painting.

Denver Art Museum

I couldn’t help taking a photo of these hands of the people who had made donations. There’s a real echo in my current work.

Red, White and Bold was an exhibition focusing on Navaho weaving.

Red, White and Bold

Pattern Play: The contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag focused on printed textiles with preliminary drawings. I really enjoyed her designs.

Irresistible: Multicolored Textiles from Asia: wonderful and large scale velvet Ikats too.

Silk and cotton velvet. Uzbekistan about 1890

Silk and cotton velvet. Uzbekistan about 1890

Other textile exhibits include Material World, Western Duds: How Clothing Helped Create an Archetype. In addition there was a wonderful room that had a permanent (?) display exploring various aspects of textile production from spinning through to various forms of construction. Exhibition runs from 19 May – 22 September . http://www.denverartmuseum.org

Education room

Section of educational room. There was a lot of information hereand all accompanied by samples.

Sandy took me to lunch at The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan has “sister city” status with Boulder and this teahouse was given as a gift to the city. What a treat! I spent lunch craning my neck to make sure I got to see all the patterns.

And then there were the fires. What tragedy for those many people who lost homes. I had an adventure I wasn’t looking for and experienced minor disruption and a move while Sandy coped with the stress of pre-evacuation. The relief of having the fires under control on the last day of the workshop was felt by all.

Twenty attendees explored many and in the main unconventional aspects of tied weaves. Each developed their own designs.

And then I experienced snow and it was falling. Those who know me understand how rarely that has happened to me. Ginger and Tom took me for a drive up the top of Mt Evans and it is to be a never to be forgotten experience. Above the tree line is an extreme climate: snow, rain and freezing wind. This drive is the highest one in Nth America. At one stage there was an observatory from 1941 to 1979 when it was burnt down by a propane gas explosion.

To prove a point!

To prove a point!

The ruins of the observatory. And then lunch with this view on the way down.

Bellingham and another conference: ANWG. This was the largest conference, superbly well organised with a wide variety of weaving related topics.

I was very taken with this view of mixed technology…. Warping boards in amongst computers. There were many more that aren’t included.

At one stage there were many more warping boards in amoungst the computers.

I have chosen just 3 of the very diverse warps woven by the students. I could very easily have included the whole lot. Each was very different. Each successfully explored a number of techniques.

Frankie working on warp manipulation.

Sotis, wrapping and other things.

Sotis, wrapping and other things....

A drive down the coast: one of those superbly scenic drives.

Jan Paul provided me with essential some quiet down time and special time and an evening looking at velvet.

A jacquard cloth: satin ground with imagery and velvet. Exquisite!

Onto the Silverado Guild and a one day workshop exploring “Recycled”. There were a wide range of materials on hand.

A collection.

And another....

And many interesting results. Here are a few. Donna explores different ways to incorporate rope.

Gynne experiments with different methods of inserting fabric and ribbons. She even plays with combining buttons and buttonholes.

Gynne experiment with different ways of incorporating fabric and lace and joining buttons and button holes.

All manner of different ways of using fabrics and cords.

Kate explored many differnt ways of incorporating fabrics and cords.

Barb took me to see the Hess Collection at a winery. What a wonderful collection of contemporary art: a room of Andy Goldsworthy including his melted rocks. I also enjoyed his series of large scale works on paper: “Earth and Snow”. In these works seeds were boiled to extract pigment. The pigment was then used to colour snowballs which were then allowed to melt on the paper. Other artists whose work appealed were Markus Raetz with his work of 60 eucalyptus leaves pinned on the wall to create the illusion of 6 heads. It was amazing as an Australian to see eucalypts being used so far from home. But they are so very common here, so I guess I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Robilee Frederick was another artist whose work attracted my eye with in particular “Fields of Light” It is unfortunate that photography is not allowed. I acquired this postcard of a sculpture of this very thought provoking work by Leopoldo m. Maler.

Hommage 1974

Onto Berkley/ San Francisco.

A walk in the redwoods at Muir Woods with Penny Peters and Anne Rock.

I get to be in the photo with Penny.

Somehow I got on the other side of the camera….

A good reason for creating the park.

Tall trees

Some very tall trees.

An exhibition at Lacis Museum, a small privately owned museum attached to a retail outlet.

Detail of dress.

A couple of workshops and finally July 4th has arrived. The morning provided an interesting experience. Anne, Penny and I went to Albany Bulb(a sort of peninsula). It’s a space that used to be a city dump by the Bay and currently a place the homeless have claimed. We walked past outcrops of dumped concrete, scrappy scrub and paths leading to the homeless humpies. Finally we came to this, our destination: amazing sculptures made out of bits of flotsam constructed by both the homeless and I understand legitimate artists.

One walks over the top of the hill and is greeted. We each had our own interpretation on what she/he was “saying”.

Another sculpture grouping. Again all from discarded washed up “rubbish”.

The 4th July also marked my last day in the USA. This has been an amazing experience. Now to prepare for my solo exhibition: Pattern: A Universal Phenomenon, Redland Art Gallery, 25 August till 22 September.

At the end of April 2013

April 27, 2013

I know it is not quite the end of the month and I usually post then, but I do know how busy I am about to become getting ready for my trip to Canada and the USA.

The term at Sturt has ended, holidays taken and a new one has just begun. Kate Holmes will take over the studio while I am travelling. As normal we celebrate projects as they come off the loom. (Somehow I managed to miss photographing a couple).

Marcia shows Tueday her scarf.

Marcia finished her scarf. She used some wool for the weft which she had spun many years ago.

Maureen (centre) shows off her finished rug.

Maureen finished her rug, and a week later totally finished with a woven edge.

Lyn's rug explores a variety of techniques.

Lyn finishes her rug.

Fibres Ballarat happened early in the month. This is a week- long event where many textile classes are run. My students explores South East Asian textiles. Day 1: We analysed a selection of textiles and put on the first warp. By day 2 they had all (including an absolute beginner weaver) completed their first set of samples. The rest of the week was then spent doing more sampling and/or designing and weaving a project according to student needs. I was very impressed by their enthusiasm and the amount of work and learning that was acheived. It was a great week and we sure had fun!. Glenys sure does run a great event. www.fibrearts.jigsy.com/ballarat-2014

It is a very special event when the first piece of weaving comes off the loom.

Suzanna examines her samples; her first ever piece of weaving. It’s a long narrow strip experimenting with a range of techniques.

The first set of samples.

Judy experiments with a range of techniques.

The weaving class of 2013.

Following Fibres Ballarat, Jeanette, Di and Wendy have all emailed images of their completed projects. It was very pleasing to see the completed projects. Thank you to all for giving me permission to share these.

Jeanette's table runner.

Di's table runner.

Wendy's table runner.

While I was in Ballarat, I had a free half day before the event began. I took the opportunity with four others to go down to Geelong and view an exhibition on at the National Wool Museum titled Future Wool. According to the publicity: It brings together a cross section of design interpretations in merino wool from across the globe. Innovative textile technology from china to classic feminine tailoring from the USA and stunning hand knits from Belgium. It is on till the 19th May 2013. Some garments unfortunately I missed noting the designers.

general view of one section of "Future Wool".

Naeem Khan

unknown designerRimzim Dadu

At the museum is also a working carpet loom.

The volunteer explains how the loom works.We are on the second floor looking down.

A jacquard uses punched cards to select the woven pattern.

Reels of wool used for the warp and pile.

An example of a rug produced by this loom.

I was very fortunate that the latest issue of Handwoven arrived just in time for the Ballarat event. Inside is an article on Sotis, one of the techniques covered in this class.

Handwoven with the runner that appears in the issue.

On the drive to Ballarat, I discovered an interesting fact. When one drives a long way, one has time and perhaps occasion to collect interesting and useless facts. One expects a kangaroo road sign to have a particular appearance. It is a standard sign.

A standard kangaroo road sign.

But then I noticed a koala sign that was different to those at home. In fact I noticed a total of 5 different signs on that trip. Unfortunately by the tiome I had started to register this fact and  become intrigued, the opportunity to photograph them had passed. I couldn’t resist starting a collection of koala signs. These have been added to on the way home.

Mittagong - Ballarat

Ballarat - Geelong

Mittagong - Ballarat

Mittagong - Brisbane

Redlands City Council: my home area.

At the end of March, 2013

April 2, 2013

The garden at the front of the studio.

Sturt is a magical place in Autumn. The trees are starting to turn and the roses are magnificent. Part of my routine is time out to enjoy the garden with morning coffee.

Autumn has started!

Early Autumn and this was the first red leaf. Now at the end of March, there are heaps… and in the true sense of the word.

I wish the year would just stay still a bit. I looked and here is April! The past month has been busy with Sturt classes and activities, a trip to the Gold Coast and the weavers there and finally some weaving.

Each warp that is finished at Sturt is celebrated. Here are some hot off the loom.

Virginia has reason to be proud. This is her first piece of weaving.

Virginia has reason to be proud. This is her first piece of weaving.

Rachael wears her new scarf and prepares the next skeins of yarn for dyeing.Rachael wears her new scarf and prepares the next warp for dyeing.

Isobel cuts her experimental warp. She has been exploring structure. There is a heap of information here.

BronwynBronwyn has finished her floor rug. Now for the finishing…

helenHelen completes the weaving of her scarf. Now for the next stage… first the finishing and then some devore.

JennyJenny is pleased. Shje has been sampling and developing design. Her teddy beatrs are her own design. Now she plans to use them as a border.

RachaelRachael has completed her scarf. This one used the yarn she dyed at the start of the month. She randomly resisted sections of the hank before dyeing in a procion dye bath.

Sturt hosted a “Taster”. It is a four hour workshop where people who have never experienced weaving can come and have “a go”. We had fun! Lots of laughs and they each went home with a “mug rug” to finish. FUN!

Maybe 4 new weavers....

The day started with finishing threading the reed, then learning how to tie on and to weave. We explored several warp faced effects in a variety of yarns from the stash. Lastly they were shown how to finish their weaving off when they got home. It was a very busy 4 hours and they left with a much greater understanding of weaving….. and what fun it is!

The Gold Coast weavers had a full-on 2 day workshop in “Summer and Winter”. Some weavers even came from as far away as Toowoomba. They are a very friendly group. It was a very productive time with everyone being excited by what they were achieving.

Everyone concentrating …..

Checking on progress….

Not a bad two day’s work!

I decided to take advantage of the very large loom at Sturt with a weaving width of 230 cm ( 90”). Floor rugs are usually woven on it. It has an extremely heavy beater. But I wanted to go to the other extreme. This loom is in reality just a four shaft loom and can of course with a bit of care weave any four shaft weaves. I chose to weave a transparency as I want a very large piece for my next exhibition.

The big loom.The warp goes on. Yes those are milk bottles filled with water. It is the most effective way to put a warp on of this width: perfect tension.

Weaving progresses. The weft “thread” consists of 10 different wool yarns. This way I could achieve an interesting “positive” background. the negative space is the area that can be seen through.

Last week we had a “friendship” Thursday. Thursday is studio access day for the Tuesday class and we had a very informal morning tea. I also got to celebrate…. the first warp off my 24 shaft loom that came from home.

Cutting offI cut off while friends helped me celebrate.

detail of runnerThis table runner combines Indonesian weaving techniques with supplementary warps and double weave.

Another warp...Another warp goes on. This time it is just seeing what will happen if….. In the background is the transparency. I’m considering how to mount it. It will make its appearance in my next solo exhibition at Redlands Regional Art Gallery in September.

And for some fun: Check out this video of a Lego loom on YouTube.




At the end of June 2012

July 1, 2012

Officially my Artist Residency at Sturt has finished. It has been a wonderful experience. I came with thoughts of what specifically I wanted to research. Life and circumstances has meant that I didn’t get all that I wanted to achieve, achieved. But I am delighted with what I have done. As a result of my exhibition, I have had all manner of interesting people come and discuss their ethnic textiles with me. As a result I have spent considerable time researching and analysing those textiles. I have managed to recreate many of them.

The following is one example. This textile is from West Timor and was brought by Lynn, one of the Saturday girls. She had acquired in Threads of Life in Bali. This textile combines many interesting elements. It is woven in 3 panels. It has a large buna (warp wrapping) panel and 2 other panels with elements of warp manipulation and colour stripes. The warp patterning has some elements of sotis but not the complex elements that I have previously explored.


I wanted to explore the colour effects in the stripes, the warp manipulation and this form of warp wrapping.  I have managed to recreate this textile in much of its original detail: the motifs found in the warp manipulation stripe and the colour effects in the stripes. I have recreated the style of buna but have used a simple element from the original. I must admit I am very pleased with the end result. It was a very fitting last warp from the loom.

The other long term project that I have been recording is the persimmon dyeing. I have put together the 3 dyed warps. In an attempt to keep track of where the warps start and finish I have delineated them by coloured stripes in silk. These are in the main supplementary warps. I have also added in some natural coloured cotton and while weaving added some inlay of the coloured silk to make a more interesting textile. It is intended to be a tunic top and I have woven it with placement of elements in mind.

Once woven, I continued the wetting and exposure to sunlight process for a week. It continued to get progressively darker and some of the unevenness of the warp dyeing dissipated as all warp threads were now exposed to the sun. It was becoming a lovely pink/brown colour.

It started to rain. I thought that this would be an appropriate time to finish the cloth properly. Intentionally, I washed it in hot water to remove the gummy persimmon. Then because I have no real drying facilities and it was raining I put it in the dryer. Interestingly the pink brown has now become a straight brown. Persimmon dye is obviously heat sensitive too. Am I disappointed about the change of colour? No. It is just part of the experimentation process. The cloth does have a lovely handle now that the juice has been removed. I wonder if it will still get darker.

Students continued to work very hard. Some more warps have been finished; some are still on the loom.


To mark the end of the Tuesday term, we had a party. Notice the lovely cloth from Vietnam that Maureen brought. Yes, I analysed that one too and recreated it.

Finally, the garden: at the start of the residency I took a photo of this approach to the weaving studio. Time passes. Winter is here!


PS I still have a week to go here at Sturt. I am now involved in teaching at the Winter School where we will be exploring the use of recycled materials…amongst other things.

At the end of May 2012

May 31, 2012

I’ve had adventures this month and would like to share those that involve a persimmon tree, activities in the studio and some exploration of the area.

I came across a persimmon tree in the grounds of Sturt. My thoughts turned to natural dyes but I had to be quick to beat the local wildlife. I remembered snippets of information of how the colour got progressively darker with age, how the Japanese use it to mark shibori pattern and common knowledge of how persimmon juice stain is hard to remove. A Google search lead me to this web site http://www.jejuweekly.com Arts/Culture Tradition. I used this as a basis for my experiments. Firstly post haste to the persimmon tree and I picked a quantity of green persimmons, crushed them with a brick and collected the pulp and then immersed a  rayon fabric which I had folded and resist wrapped for a couple of hours.

I then removed it from the bucket and carefully unfolded it before exposing it to the sun. I must admit that at this stage it was pretty uninspiring. The “dyed” area was vaguely more off white than the resisted area. Day 2 showed more promising results and I experimented by tearing the fabric in half, wetting half and exposing both to the sun.  Day 3 and I wound a warp and bound off sections before putting in the bucket of crushed persimmon that I had kept. By this time the cloth was becoming interesting. I continued to wet both fabric and put them out in the sun. The dyed area had an interesting dark halo around a pinkie brown dyed area. Off to the tree again and I collected the last of the uneaten persimmon for a final batch. There wasn’t much left. The possums and Currawongs (native birds) were having a feast! I had decided that the results were of sufficient interest to continue experimenting. Each day the fabric was getting darker. It was interesting to note that the fabric that I had been wetting out each day was much darker than the other. At this stage I had also noted that the warp was colouring unevenly according to how much each thread was exposed to light. I have decided that it would be best to weave the yarn and then recommence the wetting and exposure to light.

In the studio there have been a number of projects finished and removed from the loom. It is always an achievement to complete a project and each is marked with due pomp and ceremony. Firstly a tapestry was completed. It was inspired by a Grandson’s drawing and will be turned into a floor cushion.

There was great excitement when a beginner weaver cut her first warp from the loom. The warp explored many design approached to a plain weave threading. What an achievement!

Another new weaver and a floor rug is cut from the loom. This will be a lovely rug once the finishing is complete.

And a weaver escaped with her hammock under her arm without me remembering to get a photo but those in the studio will look forward to seeing it completed. There is a lot of finishing to be done.

Over the month I have been working on a collection of Sotis samples. Sotis is a warp dominant textile from West Timor that uses colour and weave, thick and thin and is warp manipulated. It is not a supplementary warp technique.

I always stress the importance of “play”. What could be more appropriate than to use the word for a pick up design when doing a bit of experimenting?

In addition I have done some wonderful bush walking. One of my favourite places is Fitzroy Falls, a national park on the escarpment.

And of course there are the gardens at Sturt….

Finally here’s a late afternoon visitor. The possum has been appearing in a group of trees outside the studio door mid afternoon. Possums are usually active early evening. It would also be one of the persimon eating culprits, but I guess everyone’s entitled to a bit of tucker.

October 2011

November 5, 2011

This month’s focus is on design inspired by my adventures in West Timor. (July 2010Post) I have chosen to use two designs. Both have been
chosen from a design point of view but also because the design has meaning for me.

While the “hook” motif is used in their textiles in various forms including ikat and sotis (manipulation of warp floats), I have also seen it used in carvings. It was the experience however of being greeted at every village by the chief with a welcoming speech stressing the importance of  relationships between us that has left a long lasting impression. Then, when our interpreter explained the dance as being another interpretation of the motif of linked arms the hook motif took on an incredible meaning for me. An added interesting fact about the “hook” motif is that I have come across an identical design on a fragment of a carrying strap from pre-Columbian Peru. (Symmetries of Culture, Dorothy K. Washburn / Donald W. Crowe, University of Washington Press, 1998).

These scarves have used the weave structure of warp float manipulation that is used in West Timor. The hook motif has been used as an all over design.

The other design I have been working with is one that I found on a carved post supporting a communal meeting place. The structure consisted of a roof with many supporting posts each carved in different designs by different families. The interlaced design has echoes in other cultures. It is
however the fact that I found it in a meeting place that gave it impact. “Meeting Place” has been a frequent theme in my work in recent times. I have  been using the concept to illustrate the importance of having common ground for cultures to develop understanding and tolerance.

I chose to use both designs as pure graphics in a series of damask cloths. The colours chosen for the damask reflects on my natural dye
experiences there: navy from indigo, red/brown from morinda (tree).

The linked arms motif in the West Timor traditional structure of sotis, has also been interpreted into  several interpretations as a 24 shaft design and used it as an all over motif. Both the following textiles use the design in different structures. In both cases the scale has been considerably reduced and you have to look to see it.

I have also used ikat as a design element. While the ikat style is totally different to the complex designs of  West Timor, I have used it to reflect on the commonality of technique which is found in many countries around the world.

This is a wonderful time in the garden. I thought that I would share the spectacular show of the weeping paperbark. It lasts for such a short time but it is well worth the wait. The soft pink flowers cascade down and totally cover the tree.