Monday, 12 October 2009

Kennet Valley Exhibition

Kennet Valley Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is having its 30th birthday. To celebrate this, the Guild has organised an Exhibition which is being held at Greenham Arts Centre (South of Newbury). It opened last Thursday (October 8th) to fanfares (there were a lot of chains of office around as well as Buck's fizz and vanilla slices) and closes on Saturday 17th October.

A wider range of 'things' is on show than you would have thought possible.

The exhibition includes a display of 100 spun skeins of wool, each one from a different breed of sheep in the United Kingdom. Really interesting. For instance, Herdwick is hard and Blue-Faced Leicester is lovely and soft and there is one which like a Brillo pad. This has all been created by the Chairman, Linda Scurr over several years. 500 hours of spinning, she says.

This wheel of skeins of wool dyed with nature dyes was created by Ros Wilson, the Guild dyeing guru.

I like the madder variants at 7  o'clock

This wheel was also created by Ros Wilson and is of wool dyed with acid dyes under the tutoring of Martin Weatherhead. About 12 Guild members took part, all cooking up different dyes outside  in a heat wave. We all went home sun-burnt and with a complete set of samples while Ros collared the remnants to make this wheel.

Some of the Guild wove their own fabric and then went to Gill Arnold in Birmingham for a crash course in how to make a perfectly fitting waistcoat.

And then, of course, there are the things you know you would never start, never mind complete. This is a lace weight shawl knitted by Gill Cross. Of course, there are hundreds of things on display and this is just to whet your appetite. Go and see for yourself.

The organisation of the Exhibition is rather good with two people demo-ing all the time plus two stewards. I was there today with my small loom doing double cloth (of which more in another blog). The only problem was, with warp and weft interchange going on, stopping to tell visitors about weaving and discussing different sorts of loom meant a lot of thought and many errors when I started weaving again. I spent more time unweaving than weaving. Shades of Penelope. The really surprising thing was that there were a lot of visitors on a Monday morning.

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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.