Friday, 1 October 2010

Woolly Wales

On Wednesday and Thursday Linda Scurr (driving) Rosie Price and I went to South Wales to see a few weaving exhibitions. We started at The Welsh National Botanical Gardens where there were two exhibitions. One was on 'Exposed Textiles' which looked like you might imagine - damp, rotting and scruffy - except for this one which is plates of knitted teacakes where the decorated tops looked like auricula flowers because there used to be an auricula theatre on this spot. Definitely raised a smile in the on-lookers.

It was quite difficult to find anything even with a map. A few signs would have been helpful.

Then to the exhibition from the West Wales College of Art. I had to show this one by Kelly Jenkins. It is completely knitted and was about 8 foot high. Very subversive. We stood in front of it pointing out bits to each other and  giggling.

The Botanical Garden came in for much attention and I fear I have more photos of the garden by far than of weavings.

We stayed In Carmathen over night and the highlight was a meal on the Wednesday evening. Carmathen on a damp autumn evening reminds me of the Edinburgh of my youth. Dimly lit streets with noone else out and certainly not much sign of any where to eat. So Linda interrogated the assistant at a SPAR and we traipsed off to an Indian restaurant. Now you might expect the story to end in gloom and despondency. We entered and the man at the door said 'You'll have to wait'. So we did - along with various other people. In short, it was packed, Wednesday night or no, and the food was first rate. So if you are in Carmathen - try the Ginger restaurant.

Next day we drove to the Curlew Woolen Mill which Linda knew and were shown round the looms and the spinning machinery. They weave to order as well as weaving cloth for making up themselves. All very interesting. Then we took in a biscuit factory so that Linda could buy a whole carton of biscuits. After that we made it to the Welsh National Wool Museum and viewed an exhibition called Warp + Weft which covered the work of weavers who had gone from hand looms to commissioning production runs. This was all very interesting and it is grossly unfair to show just one photo but I have done. This is silk by Wallace and Sewell.
There is a production weaving shed on site and this is one of the 16 shaft looms . There were 2 16-shaft and 2 4-shafts looms which were working. I watched while a weaver tied a new warp on to a ghost warp. I must practise that. He was very fast.

And then back to Carmarthen to see one last exhibition at the Oriel Myrrdin

This was high class weaving from top class British weavers. Shown here is Ptolemy Mann  with the two boxes in the foreground and Peter Collingwood with the microgauze in the background. 
Everything was stunning but there was only one work per person. The photo shows about a quarter of the gallery so there wasn't much. There was a wonderful piece of double weave silk which had been woven in square sand rectangles a few inches on a side. The silk was very fine (120/2?) and so you could see Moire fringes as you walked around the hanging. Some of the pockets contained small feathers which gave rise to interesting disturbances in the Moire fringes.
A good two days, lots of jokes and laughter.

And as a fitting end, I have decided to abandon the Tencel curtain.  I have decided which way to go and will expiate further over the weekend. I think I might write a Mission Statement!!!

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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.