Wednesday, 26 April 2017

More on Milos

Walking a lot each day and taking huge numbers of photos which I shall prune severely when back home. At the moment I am transferring only a few to the iPad each day. I have to choose six each day and then e erroneous discusses everyone else's' six. I am not. So sure about all this. I find I have enough of white with blue trim fishing villages. It was more fun at an opencast mine which is still working. 



With the occasional village.

Yesterday we were in a village with a very ancient church. Of course I was the one who asked if the church if the church was ever open to visitors. The effective reply, it is nice and we found some marvellous icons inside. 16thcentury apparently.
 And then there are beaches and little harbours.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Milos is hard work

We go for 7or 8 hours a day,arrive back at our studios exhausted and grubby. The first was incredibly cold and I had not taken enough warm clothes. I am learning a lot and taking a lot of photos. Only a fraction are any good.  We have visited early Christian catacombs, a Roman theatre, an open cast mine and quite enough quaint Greek fishing villages.




So there you are. The weather has got warmer and I got a bit sunburnt today. The food is excellent and I am learning a lot from the others in the group.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Athens day 2

I had a personal guided tour of Athens today starting at 1000 and ending at 1500. No lunch and we would not have had a break at all if I had not declared an immediate requirement for coffee. And all we did the Acropolis and its museum. The textiley bit comes at the end of this blog.

So firstly the Acropolis is on top of a hill and we walked up. Secondly two cruise ships were in port and the place was full of buses and their contents. I had not realised how much space there was at the top so there was lots to see. And also the top is the biggest stone mason's yard you will ever see, complete with cranes and narrow gauge railways for shunting about vast lumps of marble.


And then there are the buildings

In the museum. These are copies and then the real thing


And the Parthenon itself, full of scaffolding and cranes.

We walked down the hill past another few little temples, an odeon and a theatre to the museum. This is a magnificent modern building which holds only  items from the Acropolis

A lot of these were excavated onsite. So loads of black and red pottery because weddings were celebrated up here and offerings to the gods made. One of the startling objects on show was a pile of spindle whorls. No photos were allowed in the display of originals but I bought a postcard and then discovered the shop had life size replicas so bought five. There are going to be five lucky spinners.


There are exactly the replica designs in that pile of antiques.

The really big surprise was among the statues. You can clearly see on these which are originals that there is paint on them. A lot of work has gone into identifying the colours and retrieving the patterns and several of the statues have a copy next to them painted up as they would have been when new. The paints were minerals, lapis lazuli, cornelian and so on. So to the interesting bit. When the women are painted, they are wearing two garments. One goes to the floor and the other over the top and belted at the waist. Each garment is decorated with what could easily be an inkle or tablet woven band. The guide was not at all knowledgeable about what yarn was used. But if you told me the clothes were of fine linen with wool braids applied I would believe you. Most, well all, of my questions were unanswered. When I got back to the hotel, I could find loads of images of the painted statues on the web. There were three samples in the museum where someone had woven part of the braid but there was no sample of the background. I have found one book devoted to the museum and its contents and will get that when I get home. It is said to be prolifically illustrated. My guide said she had attended a lecture where a loom photo was shown and from her description it was a vertical loom. I am beginning to wonder if I should write to the museum curators.

After all that and walking a lot, I was very tired and returned to the hotel. It was 1530 and definitely time for lunch which was moussaka - very good - with a view of the Parthenon. I have to go to bed early because I am being collected for the airport at 0530.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


The way I can tell it is Athens, is that,if I step out on to my balcony, I can see the Acropolis in the setting sun. See below. Tomorrow I get to visit it. Tonight I am too tired to appreciate it.

Up very early this morning and off to Heathrow. It was Terminal 2which I have not visited since they rebuilt it. Very posh, it has a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, and loads of couture shops. Air Aegean was a bit disconcerting. The staff  just talked Greek. A four hour flight then 40 km into Athens which is very spread out. Apparently in the 1970s, someone put up a tower block. Everyone was horrified and it is now illegal to have more than five floors. So a very spread out city.

I have a personalised walking tour organised for will report tomorrow evening.
I have worked very hard over the last few days. The Open Studios stuff is all hung up or laid out and the studio is tidy. I shall be glad when the Open Studios is over, end May. It has been a lot of work.

I have spent the last hour trying to get photos from my iPad into the blog and failing completely. It is a very new iPad and there has to be a way of doing this.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Working Hard

I leave for Greece on Thursday morning and the Open Studios starts the day after I get back. This bad piece of planning means I have to have everything ready for the Open Studios before I go. So today I warped up the Meyer 12 shaft so as to have something on a loom to show visitors. Not very exciting just some 20/2 cotton in a 3 shaft twill. All the planning was not helped by having the entire local family (10 in all) to lunch on Sunday. The big advantage is that we have enough food for the rest of the week!!!!

So have I done anything interesting. Well I have been trying to design a book cover for a rather nice unbound book I bought from a private press two years ago. It is the libretto of Duke Blue Beard's  Castle. And it has magnificent prints illustrating the text. That is part of the problem. The other is the book is a very odd size. About A3 landscape but taller and narrower. The other problem is whether there should be anything on the cover at all since it is well illustrated alreay and I could not match the style. So here are two trials, neither of which I like - or think appropriate.

Both covers are front, back and spine. There is so far no title on the spine. I do not like either. The top one is based on doors in Indian Palaces and I like it a lot less than the second one but not enough. I had hoped to submit this this summer to the Bookbinders but I am abandoning that idea. More thought and brooding is required.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Nothing on any loom

There is nothing on any of my three looms. I need to think about winding a long warp and am procrastinating. This topic seems to be everywhere this week. Tien Chui has identified procrastination as being caused by a problem which you do not want to face. Oh well! Might as well confess. The next Megado warp is 12 yards long double cloth 40 inches wide and of 2 colours in each face . But one yarn is actually a mixture of six different colours. I have not started winding a warp yet. I would like to have it done by next Thursday when I leave for a Greek island.

I am going on a photography course in Milos with Jacqui Hirst. And having two days in Athens to start. So I have spent time finding out if my camera when in Greece is covered by our household insurance. It is.

Most of my time lately has been spent getting ready for Berkshire Open Studios, sewing on labels, making cards from my linocuts, deciding what to submit for the exhibition which is at Greenham Common Art  Centre starting 29th April till May 21st. I might point out that I get back from Greece late on April 28th!
Market at Wokingham. My favorite stall

Buying apples
Signs of spring are everywhere. A baby rowan tree. Two foot now. It will be 20 foot high in a few years and covered with rowans in autumn.

Thursday, 6 April 2017


The effort put into the garden is paying off this springtime.
The front garden. The back garden is not so good but is coming on. However the auricula theatre is back in use.
And my auriculas are having problems with vine weevils. So much reading of instructions on packets.

On other fronts, I have got the fan reed piece finished and the Louet Kombo cleared for trials on velvet.

I spent some time taking 'artistic' photos of the piece. This is in an attempt to improve the photos I send in to exhibitions. The problem with fan reed piece is that it needs to be shown as a length so that warp can be seen.

Monday, 3 April 2017


A lot has happened in the last week, since I returned from India. Probably the thing that affects my life most is that my term of office (4 years)  as Guild Chairman (Weavers, Spinners and Dyers) ended on Saturday with the election of a new Chairman. So last week was spent printing off copies of reports, 2016 AGM minutes, AGM agendas and so on, not to mention writing a chairman's report to read at the AGM. This was in the morning. In the afternoon the Guild had a talk from Cally Booker (last year's Chairman of Complex Weavers). That appealed to a lot of people and she was swamped by people rushing to the front to talk to her when she stopped her talk.

Lots of other stuff got dealt with during the week. I downloaded all my photos of India and stuck them in file folders and looked them over. There were about 1050 phots when downloaded and I deleted a couple of hundred for being out of focus, spoilt by getting something else in, unfoccussed because things/people rushed across the scene. Most of the remainder are okay but need dealing with one at a time. What is interesting is that I reckon the photos of Sarojini Market are best. And this has lead me to realise that the photos I have taken of markets all over the world are best or at least the most memorable of my photos.

I remember in photos
- the market at Kyoto
- the markets at Samarkand, Istanbul, Shanghai, where few sellers had a stall  and they just spread a cloth on the tarmac. There were other markets on the Silk Route, the Fergana Valley for instance where they sold seven different qualities of sultanas
- the market in Holland where the Bosch exhibition was, notable for cheese and bread
- Lake Como
- Sarojini market

I have become expert in taking photos of people without them realising. Which has made me decide that I do not like posed photos. But I could add photos of Thomas Keating Limited where people had been told to ignore me and in any case  were too busy looking after machinery to pay any attention to what I was doing. So people going about their lives. That is an enormous discovery.

I finished my bomber jacket of blue/brown tweed and have worn it a lot. I have started on the last length of warp using the fan reed. It took me a weave of 6 inches to remember how to weave it. I must write up notes on this. Today I started in earnest again and wove about 40 cm. I should be finished this week.

I have also done a lot of gardening, weeding, tying up climbers, planting small plants. I have been hardening off some of my seedlings ready for planting out in the next few days.

Oh and I nearly forgot, since Cally was staying with us, we all went to London on Thursday and saw the Hockney retrospective at Tate Britain and the Raushenberg at Tate Modern. Big argument about the Raushenberg. The others thought he was terrible but I am not so sure. It is so different from Hockney that doing them on the same day was a mistake. I wonder what everyone would have thought if we had done the Hockney second.

No photos today! But I will take some in the garden tomorrow. It is looking good.



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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.