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.

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

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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.

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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 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.

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 May 2013

May 29, 2013

This month started with a flight out of Brisbane and an arrival in Toronto, Canada where spring had not quite arrived. I had never been to Jette and Harry’s place outside Barrie at this time of year and it was a totally different visual: bare trees and I could see their house from the road. And then the next day, a hint of what was to come: this patch of yellow in a sea of grey bare trees.

 Not a leaf!

 A splash of yellow

The weekend was spent at the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Conference teaching. I have very fond memories of OHS as I have had a connection with them since the mid 1990’s with their home study program. It was great to catch up with friends and it was by all accounts a successful conference. I know I certainly enjoyed it. Here is a snapshot of three of some of the very diverse work covered in my East Meets West class.

On the way back to Jette’s place we stopped off in Toronto. No visit to Ontario is complete without a visit to the Textile Museum. There were two exhibitions on. Marimekko, with love “is a retrospective look at Finnish design company’s role in shaping a new aesthetic through printed pattern and textile production.” It was founded in 1951 by Armi and Viljo Ratia. The exhibition has fabrics, swatches, fashion and archival material.

Marimeko retrospective exhibition

Shine, is an exhibition drawn from the Textile Museum’s collection and curated by Natalia Nekrassova and Sarah Quinton. “For centuries, the light and lustre of materials have captivated cultures, artisans and artists, attributing to even simple objects an allure of beauty, power and opulence”. A wonderful collection of ethnic textiles formed the core of the exhibition. www.textilemuseum.ca

Chinese textiles

And then there was green…and a week spent with Jette and Harry watching the amazing transformation.

A carpet of terrilium under a canopy of green.

Time out to visit McMichael and an exhibition Changing Hands: Art without Reservation 3. “contemporary and compelling, touring from New York- 130 mesmerising works ranging from intricate beadwork and video to sculpture and jewellery”. The work was all contemporary native North American art. My favourite piece was a large scale sculpture of fishing net hung in rows. It gave an interesting visual experience as you walked past. There were a number of pieces that really spoke. What a shame I can’t share any visuals. The exhibition is on till 2nd June.  www.mcmichael.com  But, I can share this amazing totem.  I just love the new age influences.

Totem in Foyer

Montreal and the Centre of Contemporary Textiles. www.textiles-mtl.com.   I spent the week working on some jacquard designs. I can’t speak highly enough of the help that was given to me during the week. Thank you Adrien and Lheila! It was a wonderful experience and I am absolutely delighted and excited with what I achieved.  This work will be shown as part of my solo exhibition in August. Here’s a hint of what I worked on.

 My first warp woven.

The Montreal experience wouldn’t be the same without charming streetscapes (I just have to walk back to the apartment in spite of the weather.) and the fresh food market round the corner. Here are some of my favourite things.

Early morning in the market

My favourite bread shop.

Montreal and it's staircases right on the footpath.

I was also fortunate to see an exhibition: Peru: Kingdom of the Sun and the Moon. It is on till 16 June at the Museum of Fine Arts www.mbam.qc.ca

Inca feather weaving

Inca gold

Inca pottery

New York; there’s much to see and do. I met up with my friend Judith for this adventure.  Here are the top three highlights.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was visited twice. (I’m counting this destination as one highlight.) The first was to see two exhibitions: Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity and PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The former had large scale paintings of, in the main women, accompanied by actual garments from the era. In fact in a couple of instances, the dresses were those worn by the models in the paintings. It was delightful to be able to see in detail the fabrics and construction details. The punk exhibition I found rather frustrating. This exhibition seemed to be focused on the experience… the lighting effects just made examining fabrics and detail just too difficult. Unfortunately neither of these exhibitions allowed photography.

The second visit allowed me to find treasures in the collection. I revisited the medieval velvets in the European galleries. Some of these I had seen before while there were some new pieces.

FFlorence second half C16. Cut,uncut and voided velvet with metallic thread.

This time I discovered velvets and other textiles from Turkey and the Middle East….and pattern. MET: metmuseum.org

Egypt C17-18. Silk doubleweave.

Turkey mid C16. silk, metallic wrapped thread, taquete.

Velvet, silk and metal wrapped thread Turkey C16

In Madison Square Park there was an installation by New York based artist Orly Genger. Red, Yellow and Blue has “1.4million feet of undulating, layered nautical rope covered in over 3,500 gallons of paint”. The rope had been collected from the Eastern seaboard and was knitted into long strips.

It seemed that I had come full circle when I came across the retail outlet for Marimekko. Here was the current work of the same designer whose retrospective work I saw in Toronto. www.marimekko.com

From New York to Atlanta and a visit with Judith at home. She took me to her delightful cabin in the woods. Some scenery:

Sunset across to the Appalachian Mts

White water rafting. This was the location used for the Atlanta Olympics.

And an afternoon making books.

Making books with Judith and Tricia.


October 2012

October 31, 2012

There is an amazing experience to be had at the Queensland Art Gallery where an extensive exhibition is on: Portrait of Spain, Masterpieces from the Prado.  This exhibition is coming only to Brisbane and has over 100 works. Seven themed rooms have been set up.  I have been told that this is the biggest exhibition coming from the Prado. To augment the Prado experience, there is La Sala Del Prado, “ a large scale lounge area complementing the exhibition, which includes an integrated café, fun multimedia activities, drawing activities, daily live Spanish guitar playing and talks on Spanish themes” and of course the exhibition shop.

What makes this exhibition exciting from a textile point of view are the textiles that can be found in the paintings. The one that stands out is The infant Isabella Clara Eugenia and Magdalena Ruiz by Alonso Sanchez Coello and workshop c 1585-88. In the catalogue, the motif is described as embroidered though I heard there is some discussion by textile experts and historians whether the motif could also be woven brocade. Of great interest is also the line at the bottom of the dress which is where the hoop of the farthingale sits. Apparently because the line is so clearly defined, not too many petticoats were being worn underneath the dress. What did take my eye was the velvet on the wall behind her. In discussion with Dr Michael Marendy, (Textile Conservator and Senior Curator, Cultures and Histories Program, Queensland Museum), I found out that the experts suggest that both the dress and velvet originate from Italy, probably from the Florence area.

Also on in Brisbane’s arts precinct is a wonderful textile experience to be had at The Queensland Museum. Dressed by the Best: Fashion, Glamour and Gwen Gilan. Gwen Gilan was the leading dress designer in Brisbane during 1950’s and 60’s. The garments are from the Museum’s archives as well as those on loan from family, friends and clients. Due to popular demand, the exhibition has been extended into next year. Some garments are to be exchanged with new exhibits. Dr Michael Marendy has been the driving force in putting together this comprehensive exhibit.

In June, just before I left for the States and UK, I received a copy of a new book: Shibori Recreated, edited by Leah Rauch with book concept and creation byKaren Davis and Pepa Martin. ISBN 987-0-646-57675-6. The book takes the format of interviews with 19 artists from around the world. I am honoured that I am one of them.

I have recently driven past an icon of Australian folklore. The Black Stump is often used to identify the start of “the Outback”. The tradition started in the 1830’s when land beyond this locality was refered to as being “beyond the Black Stump”.


February 2012

March 2, 2012

This month I’ve been back in the studio. Inspiration for this month’s design has come from Italy. I visited there in 2010. I had a very profound experience, standing in St Marks Square looking up at the Doge’s Palace. It was so reminiscent of a point twill weave pattern. In fact it is often credited as being reminiscent of textiles in numerous publications. For instance a Google search from Wikipedia quotes it a having a herring-bone-pattern paving. I also enjoyed the series of “floral” shadows thrown on the wall under the arches. I have used both motifs for inspiration.

It is no wonder that I was going to visit Italy for inspiration at some stage. I have had a long fascination with Renaissance textiles: their luxury, their style, their complexity, their richness. Velvets of this era are magnificent and have been a long time focus for research. I am also fascinated by the history of that era and the role and importance of textiles. Textiles and the textile workers had a very significant standing in society. Laws governed their use. It was a golden age for textiles.

I found this length of velvet in the MET in New York. I’ve shown a detail of the length. It was exhibited behind glass which has affected the quality of the image. This quote comes from the wall plaque: Sumptuous velvets were among the most highly prized luxury fabrics of the Renaissance. Woven in Spain and Italy – particularly at Florence, Venice and Genoa- they were exported throughout Europe and became an essential component of the visual “magnificence” with which the ruling elite were expected to demonstrate their wealth and power.

While I have not chosen to weave velvet for this series, I have however used other aspects of Renaissance textiles balancing with the motif from the Doge’s Palace for inspiration: large scale pattern, metallic yarn (though not real gold or silver) and brocaded or inlaid pattern.

What colour? Red and purple were chosen as they are the colours of royalty and the elite of the Renaissance.

 This shawl uses the motif of the decoration above the columns as a large scale pattern in 60/2 silk. When used without the circle it becomes reminescent of the shadows cast on the wall behind.

While I did not weave velvet, I did elect to use some chenille to give the feel and visual appearance of pile fabric.

Variations of the brickwork pattern was used for the design of these table runners.

 It’s red, silk, is based on the brickwork pattern and has metallic brocade. Several aspects of design criteria have been used.

Check out the latest Textile Fibre Forum magazine. I have a three page article in there written by Myann Burrows on the work that I have been developing over the past few months and that has also appeared here on my blog.


The next adventure

November 6, 2009

I have decided to continue this blog that I began at Sturt. I have had such fabulous feedback on it, so I’ve decided that I’d like to continue to share my adventures and musings.

Now here’s a challenge! How do I condense 7 weeks of an amazing trip into a few words and just 10 photos? I was home just one week before I set off on this next adventure to the USA/Canada. A basic overview includes some teaching, some visiting and participation in a class at Vavstuga. So here are just a few highlights:

 9.9.09 What magical numbers they are! I left home on that day and arrived in the USA on the same day flying onto Reno. 1  Early morning at Virg City

Early morning in Virginia City. The sun is just shining up the valley. The shadows are long. The heat of the day is yet to begin and the day is quiet. Look at how the town fits in amongst the tailing mountains. There may be wild horses.

First stop: Reno where I finally got to meet Suzanne. We had been in contact for a number of years so it was great to finally meet. After a day or so to recover and collecting provisions, we went to Virginia City for the first of the workshops. I was fascinated by the history of the area. Crossing this area in the early settlement days with wagons over this very harsh high mountain dessert was an amazing feat. Then came the miners creating a tent city with their search for silver. There’s no city here now though. Impressions include the amazing harsh landscape, buildings in amongst the tailings, the most amazing clear blue sky and early morning sun coming up the valley. It was an inspiring spot to hold a weaving workshop. Great results were achieved. Those ladies worked from early till late at night, achieving an impressive quantity of samples.

 Some of the Reno Class undoing their shibori.

This is the moment when all is revealled. What fun!

Next stop: Atlanta. What a contrast: from hot and dry to wet, wet, wet! I arrived in the middle of flooding. Again I was there to teach. A visit to Swan House provided a day for recovery out of the rain before I started work. The curtains there have the most amazing variety of trims. Again both classes produced an impressive quantity of work. It is amazing how diverse a range of samples can be achieved because of the direction and interest of the individuals in each group. Between the workshops, my hostess and friend Judith and I had a day of play in the studio. We did some experimental dying, but more will appear of this at a much later date. Needless to say we had fun!

The first Altlanta class

The first Atlanta class with their amazing collection of samples.

Second Atlanta class.Work produced in just 3 days by the second class. What variety! Put the two group’s samples together and what a real mixture there is. And no, one group didn’t produce “more” or “better” than the other in spite of how many times I was quizzed on which group was better… They were just different and the work equally full of potential.

North to Waynesville and my stay with Catharine Ellis and husband Kent was next on the itinerary. It was great to be able to spend some time with them as our friendship has developed over many years through a mutual interest and the development of loom controlled shibori/woven shibori resist. Fall had started. I drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway in an open topped sports car watching the leaves starting to fall. I also got to see Biltmore House. This was an amazing visit. Both Catharine and I had been to France for the International Shibori Conference last year. On that trip we had visited Prelle, a weaving mill in Lyon. They had the most amazing resource of records from their past clients including what was woven, and all the dye recipes and weaving details for each client. I was excited at the time because they were weaving velvet, one of my areas of interest, while Catharine was excited because they were weaving a commission for Biltmore House, just down the road from her. Imagine our delight when we came into the room and saw that velvet which we had seen being woven in Prelle installed!

 Baltimore  House

There were treasures inside: 3 rooms of the most exquisite velvet: drapes and bed coverings. WOW! What a shame we couldn’t take photos inside.

 Mill at Asheville

From the traditional to contemporary. Blankets were being woven on a small privately owned jacquard mill in Asheville.

Next stop: Philadelphia via Kati and John in Alpena, Northern Michigan. I was in a quandary: how to divide up time between Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York in a week? I think that I can safely say that I maximised my time: 3 days in Philadelphia with Bettes and Larry , 1 day in Washington DC ( Textile Museum and the Smithsonian complex), 3 days in New York. (Smithsonian National Museum of  American Indians with a costume exhibition,  Here are some visual highlights.

 Bettes at the entrance to "Lace in Translation"

Four artists used a collection of old laces and interpreted them  in various ways for this exhibition at the Design Centre at the Philadelphia University: Lace in Translation. I particularly enjoyed this chain wire fence and a huge cut out metal cylinder.

C15 velvet.

C15 velvet under glass in the Metropilitan Museum of Art, New York. There was an amazing collection of very beautiful velvets that I just happened to find. I had asked at the front desk if there were any textiles on display with “no” being given as a reply. I decided to go in anyway and see a collection of old masters. This is what I found instead!

Detail of the spider silk shawl, Museum of Natural History, New York

I had been hearing about this silk shawl ever since I had been in Atlanta. Reports on it were just surfacing and here I was in New York and able to see it. Woven from Golden Orb spiders silk in Madagascar it was surprisingly large and very yellow. The design was very complex with a mixture of supplementary warp and discontinuos weft pattern on tabby. The shawl had been woven in bands and joined. A surprising detail that seemed to be at odds with the detailed weaving and intricate fringe was that the fringe was very uneven. Possibly all the left over “silk” was used with not one iota wasted or trimmed off.

Four of us collected in Philadelphia and drove north into the New England to Shellbourne Falls and Vavstuga. 8 of us had the most wonderful week of exploring a variety of weave structures, with wonderful food such beautiful surroundings. I got to experience Fall and I even had a bit of snow one morning. My friends were not impressed by snow and I wanted more. They thought that it was way too soon to be starting winter. In 5 days we had put on 10 warps and woven on most and that was just till 9.00 at night. When we were evicted from the studio, we progressed upstairs where we were exploring Laos looms under the guidance of Deb McClintock, an expert on the technique. We were all excited by the similarities of what could be achieved by those “primitive” looms and double harnesses on Swedish looms.

The class of 09, Vavstuga, Shelbourne Falls, New England

What an amazing collection of work: 10 looms threaded and woven on in 5 days! Samples include Rep, Monks Belt, Swedish Crackle, checks in fine cotton, Satin blocks, Leno, Honeycomb, Treddled Opphamta (supplementary weft patterns in 3 different processes)

Weaving using a Laos style of achieving memory of pattern

The fun never stopped. Late night activity: How to weave supplementary complex weft pattern on a “Laos” loom. There’s more than one way to achieve the same goal!

view from Vavstuga

This is the view from the room where we had meals. It was surely an effort not to “hog” the view every meal time. I am entranced by the Fall colours!

For the last week, I went north to Ontario. On the way we were fortunate to have an appointment to see the collection in the American Handweaving Museum at Clayton. It has an amazing collection of the work by weaving pioneers including Bertha Frey, Lucille Landis, Mary Snyder and Theo Morman .

Theo Morman woven hanging

What I found delightful was the transparency of this work. I had been familiar with a denser background for this technique. It was a treat to see a real piece of Theo Morman’s work.

On the way north, we also stopped off to do a usual “must see” visit to the Textile Museum in Toronto on the way up to Barrie. How did I fill in that final week? I played in the studio of my friend Jette and visited the ROM. They have a very wonderful textile section where you can get to pull out drawers and admire old textiles, including velvet. The week flew and it was time to head back to Australia, arriving home on 28th October.

The trees at Jette and Harry's place.

Did anyone count photos? Well I did it: 14 photos!