Friday, 31 August 2012

DWP off the Megado

I took the Diversified Plain Weave off the Megado this morning and this is inspection time. For Rosie Price's sheep, I have added a piece of ribbon with flowers on it below and a piece of space dyed cotton above and mounted the whole on pelmet vilene, thend sewed on ribbon at each end so that the edges can be pulled in to form a circle and it can stand up by itself. But it can equally well be mounted flat.  The sheep were woven in heather-coloured chenille and have blue sequins for eyes.

At the bottom are a whole lot of candles. I shall paint over all the flames with gold paint. I might put on one very large candle in the centre. At the top is the tail end of a piece of fabric which is sort-of Art Deco. Quite pleasing. These are deemed a success. The candles are intended for an exhibition in West Bromwich.

This is another sort of Art Deco piece and I like this too.

This had  a painted warp to simulate the sky at night and the pattern in red lurex is lost.
The Catherine wheels in silver lurex at the bottom have worked and show up well (better than in the photo) but the rockets do not show up well even when you are close to the piece. I suppose this is saying that a dark pattern against a pale background is best. This was intended for an exhibition on 'Festivals and Celebration' in West Bromwich but, unless I can come up with some way of rescuing this piece, it is not going to be submitted. 

The Megado has been tidied up but I still have not decided what to weave next. I do have an ikat warp ready for the Voyager. Unless I work myself up to the donsu, it will be the ikat. On the other hand I do have some unfinished Coptic books.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

More on Barbara Walker's course

I have completed weaving off my samples from Barbara Walker's course and cut the warp off the Voyager. I made four mats, one of which is shown on the left. 10/2 cotton and quite nice. The Voyager has been cleaned  up and all the bits and pieces put away. Though I have not put the Voyager away. If it goes anywhere, it will have to go upstairs except that I am toying with the idea of getting a small table to put by the window seat and parking the Voyager on that and storing the 12 shaft under neatyh. And don't ask how I am getting on with the new 12 shaft. I feel quite embarassed about it. I have not unwrapped it yet.

 The class had homework to do every night and this is my work on wrappings. Don't know that I would ever try the colours on the right but I might use the left hand one.

Yeterday I sorted out all the cotton yarn which has been used by Guild members for various courses. And there was a lot of Rosie Price's yarn there so that is now in a plastic box to be taken back to her.

The other thing I did today was attend a meeting of the Midlands Textile Forum in Birmingham. I suppose the most important thing from my point of view was that I had a really good idea for a weaving. Two years ago I wove a set of pictures about songs from South Pacific using a stitched double cloth in 60/2 silk where I painted both warps a different colour. Each song was about 10 cm square. Now suppose I wove something about the same width but 20 inches long and wove five of these so they matched up sideways. Then mount the lot side by side on a dowel. I reckon I could do a picture of the Malvern Hills and I am sure I have a good photo to base it all on.  I hope everyone else at the meeting thought I was industriously taken notes but actually I was making sketches of how it would work.

So there. Now where does that fit into the schedule? I shall be finished on the Megado by Friday and I had intended to do samples of hana-ori (Okinawan weave). But I will have to wait for some weeks before the 30/2 yarn I have ordered for it arrives. So I might do my planned samples of donsu. I can't launch straight into the Malvern Hills. It is too soon. I need a week or two to think about it. And on the topic of 'thinking about it', I have just realised that I think about a book binding project for a year or sometimes more before I start it but I can launch into a new weaving project at a day's notice. Now what am I to make of that?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Stripes with Attitude

I see that it is a week since I last blogged. This is because last week I was busy getting ready for a 3 day weaving course over the weekend and then taking part. Barbara Walker was here from the States at the Braiding Conference and kindly agreed to run a three day course over the Bank holiday weekend. 'Stripes with Attitude'. Of course Barbara is well known for wanting to weave fabrics with only one shuttle so we were introduced to the delights of turning drafts. That was homework as was creating the wrappings which are shown below. I got out of bed early each morning to do the homework so that made for a long day.

 There were 8 weavers, with 3 non-Guild members. There should have been 10 but accidents happened to two. In one way, it was just as well there were only 8 because the room was definitely crowded. We used the upper room at the Church hall where the Guild meets because it was quite difficult to find a hall which could take us for three days. However the room was very comfortable with lots of light and a kitchen next door. Below are shown some samples cut from the looms at the end of the course.

A very productive and useful weekend.

I still have to sort out the stuff I brought home. Especially the yarn which Rosie and I supplied. I am sure  some of Rosie's must be in the bags and boxes I brought home. So that is one of today's jobs. The other one is to decide what to do with the warp left over from the course. It's a nice warp in 10/2 cotton and I think I will just weave it off.

There are two weeks to go before I leave for Complex Weavers Seminars in Washington DC and I have to finish and cut out the Diversified Plain Weave. Mainly because Rosie needs her sheep which are at the beginning of this lot of fabric. And that must be done by Saturday. Oh well, looks like the next few days will be  spent weaving. Better than having an existentialist crisis as my son-in-law phrases it.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Browned-offness and Some Rabbits

A certain amount of browned-offness has developed over the last two days. I have worked very long hours and accomplished a great deal but, at the same time, little of the long hours time has been spent on textiles. On Monday, I dealt with the next issue of the Shuttle which is the quarterly Kennet Valley Guild Newsletter. I had a number of articles waiting and ready but not quite enough. Last issue was a bit thin and I didn't want  another one like that (mind you, no-one complained. Do you think they did not notice or are they all too polite to mention it?) I managed to find an unused article which had never been published and was very interesting and put in a review of an exhibition by me - and added extra colour photos. But I have used up my stash of articles and so emailed someone to be ready for the next issue!! I did not finish the Shuttle until mid-afternoon today (Tuesday) and got it off about 5 pm. In between times today, I have been printing and collating documents for a 3-day course the guild is running with Barbara Walker as tutor next weekend. That seemed to take a lot of time as well.

I am slightly worried about the course as we are using a hall we have never used before and does anyone know where the tables are hidden? So to allow myself more time on Saturday, I have woven my sample on my loom. I do have another loom to warp up because Rosie Price and I thought that one of the drafts supplied was interesting and ought to be done so we are using a Guild loom. Rosie wound the warp and I am to install it.

I did manage to weave a bit on the Megado. The warp is being painted with Deka Silk paints as I go. Blue and aubergine and black. The tie down threads in the weft are a lighter blue shading from pink at the start which you cannot see in the photos.. The back ground cover is godo but I have my doubts about the Catherine Wheels.

Some cards made at a class run by Annette Lucas. Good fun - most enjoyable.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Bookbinding - and Savile Gardens

On Saturday Anna (my bookbinding tutor) ran a one-day class on Crossed Structure Bindings.The photo shows what I had at the end of the day. Quite pleasing and I will use the technique in future. The process was originally intended to replace covers on old books where the covers were beyond repair but now it is used for decoartive purposes. A lively class of 12 students.

At the end of the day, I got in my car and drove to Sunningdale to stay with my daughter. The reason being that I was required to finish pruning the apple tree and other shrubs in their rented house. It was a lovely warm evening spent in the garden watching someone else cook the barbeque! Since Ruth had a full Sunday planned, I got out into the garden at 7 am and had the pruning finished by the time the family appeared. The programme was

a) View the house they have just bought at 1030 - very nice It has two conservatories!!!
b) 1100 walk round Savile Gardens I have not been there for about 10 years and the family had never been there. Now it is 5 minutes drive from their rented house - and five minutes walk from their new house!! Actually in their rented house, Windsor Great Park is just up the road by 100 yards!! The Savile Gardens were really good and a photo or two are shown below.

Part of the long herbaceous border

One of the small rock gardens with a piece of scuplture in it!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Throw is finished

This week I sorted out the multicoloured throw - that is what the yardage has turned into. I cut the piece in half, aligned the patterns, very carefully hand sewed the edges together, then straightened up the ends, zigzag stitched them and applied satin ribbon. This meant machine the ribbon to one side and hand stitch the other. So that is one entry for the Royal Berkshire Show finished. I am going to enter a jacket but need to get it cleaned first.

I have been to London this week. I took up two of Michael's viols to the Early Music Shop with Rosie Price's help and then we visited the Drawing exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery - very fine. We took in the Handweavers Studio and admired all the woven works on the wall and purchased a few things. By this time, it was time to go home and we had not managed lunch so patronised Yo Sushi at Paddington Station. In the evening we went to Moulsford and chatted to other textiley people, sorted out the world, the Guild, Linda's new polytunnel.

I am off to a one-day book binding class today. It is in Ma\lvern but as soon as it is finished I am going to visit my daughter in Sunningdale. To work!! She wants a lot of pruning done in their rented harden. It looks as though noone has touched it for 3 years. I am going on teh roses and the espalier apple tree. So The tools are all packed ready to go.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Art Deco Style

The photo above is of a black and white fabric (DPW) currently on the Megado which I think of as sort of Art Deco. It is finished, that is I have woven enough to make a bag. I have applied Fraystop to the top edge and, when that is dry, I will roll it forward until just unwoven warp is visible and paint the warp ready for the fireworks. Then that will have to dry. I hope to start weaving this evening.

Today I am going back to Bournville for a class with Annette Lucas. But before that I must sort out transport to Washington in September. I have discovered that the Complex Weavers Conference starts earlier than I thought and I would like to move my  flight earlier.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Creative Development Course

Yesterday I had a long talk with Samantha Dadd, the tutor. The day before she had asked us all the questions, which artists do you admire? Which would you like to emulate? I think the answer is likely to be two different names and they will be different day to day. However I have realised that, like the textile problems of recent months, I do not want to create art ' to hang on the wall'. I had not realised this previously. It is the reason why I don't get on with  How to Art books - because the writer has his/her idea of what the end result ought to be. What I want to do is to be to draw/paint well enough to put sketches in my Day Book or in my travel journal. That's all.

So after painting a view of a row of poplars from Sam's back garden, I did the same view in watercolour pencil - rather nicer. On Sunday morning, I brought in a book of sketches of Singapore which my idea of what I wanted to do. This book is by Lorette Roberts and is first rate. I then practised drawing and painting bamboo fences, all taken from my photos of Japanese. These looked good so I took the best one and drew other sketches round it.   See photo below. This was completed by the end of Sunday. I went home and looked out my travel book for the Japanese trip which I had never completed. Lots of photos and bits of paper to stick in. The evening  was spent printing out suitable photos. Today (the course is three days)  I sorted out the Travel Book and drew coloured sketches where I could. There are a lot of photos oo but give me time. I will do better next time. And I am unreasonably pleased with myself. The sketches are not wonderful but the whole effect is what I am after. As I say, I will do better next time.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

At the Megado

I have been weaving on the Megado. The first thing to do was to mend two errors in the warp. This entailed resleying about 60% of the warp when corrected. I now have a row of sheep (Jacobs?) for Rosie Price. I shall sew sequins on as their eyes and mount the strip of fabric on a piece of pelmet Vilene, possibly with green ribbon plus flowers at the bottom. The top bit is an Art Deco design in black and white. I don't need much of that and then it is on to fireworks!!

Yesterday I started on another three day course on Creative Development. We carried out all sorts of exercises and I ended up painting a watercolour of a row of poplars!! I have never used watercolour in my life. Also the tutor asked everyone a question. Who do you want your work to be modelled on? And which artist do you really like? I think the answers to these
questions are different and are probably different on a day-to-day basis. I am taking in a book of sketches of Singapore to show what I really like but I don't see much chance of that happening. Why am I doing this? I have always wanted to draw, not in an end in itself but so that I could add little drawings to my Day book. The Day Book is about weaving and bookbinding plus other things like books I have read, places I have been - and I do not keep it up religiously. It contains ideas for weaving drafts and sometimes a sample draft. When thumbing through it yesterday, I found a really nice draft for a silk fabric. Great advantage is that it is broken 3 and 1 twill. All the detail is the colours of the warp - and I need to get to Uppinghams to get the colours of 90/2 silk I need.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Garden in August

 If you plant the most popular plants in your garden in the UK, you will have flowers until the end of July and then not much. Michael spent a lot of effort selecting plants that would flower from August to November and, this year, the garden had a blank period in July and has suddenly burst into flower. There's the hibiscus and a few feet away is a carpet of lavender blue convolvulus mauritanicus.

There is a splendid hydrangea called 'Wisley White'

And to its left, a planting of agapanthus backed by a herbaceous clematis. And a rather good pot filtched from Ruth's Purley house fiver years ago  and which she has been inquiring about now she is back here. Mine!! All mine!!

And a photo of the patio looking rather good. Everywhere you look in the garden, there are shrubs in flower, especially fuschias. Of course it is probably all the rain we have had. Fuschias like a lot of water. On the textile front, I have actually been weaving on the Megado and have finished the 2012 Xmas cards. I have cleaned upstairs and put things away. And answered lots of emails. I am here for the next four weeks with not much in the way of commitments so I aim to finish off the Megado warp.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Brighton is the Pattern Capital of the World

Not to mention containing the oddest shop window decoration. Last time I was in Brighton, this cafe sported a knitted model of the Brighton Pavilion. This time it was a working (that is, rotating) model of the Brighton Wheel. It does a good line in made-on-the-premises cake.

From which  you can gather that I am in Brighton. My eldest daughter and I went to Glyndebourne last night to see a Ravel double bill. I have always loved L'Enfant et Les Sortileges but it is not performed often. The trouble is you need two singing armchairs, a randy (singing) teapot, a singing cup-and -saucer and a princess, lots of shepherds and shepherdesses and a full choir of birds. Anyway it was beautifully done at Glyndebourne.

In the afternoon, we went shopping. There is an interesting shop, 'Get Cutie', which sells dresses and skirts made from wildly patterned cotton. If they don't have your size, you can have it made from the fabric of your choice at an extra cost. I was so taken with the fabric that I persuaded them to sell me some to cover books with - see photo. Some of the patterns are very way out. Cowgirls 8 inches high singing with a guitar. Cowboys on bucking horses, Peacocks of enormous size. And people walk round Brighton wearing these!! No lifesize chickens though.

I came home by way of Ann Sutton's where she is selling off the contents of her studio. I have lots of cotton yarn , a few things like reeds and a whole lot of books including two which are full of samples of Japanese cloth.

I spent Saturday at Ruth's (previously of Kuala Lumpur) house in Sunningdale. Noted for my son-in-law's comment that I seemed to have recovered from my 'existentialist crisis' I was indignant about this for all of 5 seconds and then thought it was funny. I would not rated my worries about I should be doing in such grand language.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Studio

I have spent the last two days having a major reorganisation in the studio. This is the result of reading lots of magazines and books on 'How to Reorganisation Your Studio' at my sister's house.  The most important statement I came across was 'Clutter is storing the same kind of thing in lots of different places'. I agree with that. The problem arises when I want to find a specific thing and having to rake through four or five different sites to find it. So I carried out a major amalgamation and things should be easier in future. Mind you I have not started on upstairs yet but that will be next week's job. I have also

1) found an awful lot of felt in various places which is now stored in one (labelled) box
2) found an awful lot of very thick fabric (which is going to another good home)
3) found that I am missing three of my beloved Bluster Bay shuttles. There are going to be a few menacing remarks at Guild tomorrow. My name is on each.
4) found all the lino cut stuff. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that, I had great plans for doing a book which was discussed with Michael. So it must have been two years ago. I must re-instate that as a project
5) threw out all my attempts at Pop-up engineering. Yes I loved it but life is too short and I would rather do the lino-cuts
6) sorted out the paint brushes. I do not need so many so am giving some away but I could not bear to throw away Michael's beautiful Chinese brushes so need a home for them.
7) excavated the Louet Kombo which has a lovely warp on it. I last wove some of it 2 years ago. The loom could not be moved downstairs and so it got neglected while Michael was alive but then got forgotten. This has to go high on the project list which currently reads

  • finish Diversified Plain Weave on Megado (in next week)
  • warp up Megado for Hana Ori samples for Complex Weavers Japanese Textile Group. I am taking them with me to the States in September when I attend the Complex Weavers biennial binge outside Washington DC. The warping up in 30/2 cotton will take some time but the weaving should be quick. It has to be done by end August.
  • finish up on Louet Kombo - this is slow. It is fine double cloth and I remember that I could get 10 inches done in four hours but it was punishing work. I have got a fair bit to do - several yards. I have done samples and made a four page book already so I know it works.
  • and after that who knows.  Donsu on the Megado?I have two drafts ready. Some silk yardage in 90/2 silk? I have a draft ready. I need to sort out colours for this
And just in case you were wondering, I ought to be able to start on the lino cut book in parallel with all this weaving. The family is all away on holiday and I am not going anywhere for the next several weeks so here's hoping a few projects get completed.

I am now off to Bournville. The class is holding an exhibition at Selly Manor, Bournville for the next week. Today we are hanging it. I will post photos tomorrow.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bradford Silk Exhibition

I drove home from Dundee on Tuesday and took in Cartwright Hall, Bradford which added several hours to the journey. The exhibition celebrated the silk manufacturing in Vctorian times in Bradford. The world's largest mill weaving velvet was Manningfields in Bradford. The exhibition showed some students design books

I drove home from Dundee on Tuesday and took in Cartwright Hall, Bradford which added several hours to the journey. The exhibition celebrated the silk manufacturing in Vctorian times in Bradford. The world's largest mill weaving velvet was Manningfields in Bradford. The exhibition showed some students design books

In addition to Victorian velvets and sumptuous wedding dresses there were several items of silk from present day workers, both in the Indian sub-continent and in Bradford. There was a very good video with lots of workers talking.  There was a wall of small samples of which one is shown below. All modern and all exquisite. Vaux le voyage as Michelin says. It is on until September.


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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.