Creativity, Making Mistakes and Happy Accidents

Got my wrists slapped last night for not updating my blog. Truth is I have been enjoying some pretty serious Chrissie time, mucking about in my workroom.


I’ve been playing, sketching for the first time since school, printing, painting, exploring with my camera. I’ve been thinking about my Nan a lot too, the making and doing we used to do at her table, I guess I have been tapping into that freedom to explore and create we enjoy as children but shun as adults, doing things for their own sake, not worrying why you are doing it or how they will turn out.

At the same time I put a small warp on my scaffold loom Evil Norris. The project I had planned of my great-grandmother will involve such a big time commitment I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. I did another sample area of the rose and wasn’t too happy with it – rather than a flower, I was merely reproducing the artefacts intrinsic to the blown up photograph; I realised I would have to start the design process again.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep” Scott Adams.

But one afternoon I spent printing, the images I made were quick and spontaneous, they were also quite dark and atmospheric – all aspects at odds with the methodical, slow going, warmth traditionally associated with tapestry weaving and I liked that contrast. I also saw a mythological element in the images and felt that link to the past which as an archaeologist I crave. The images just seemed darker and deeper and a bit more ‘me’.  One in particular I started to like, it reminded me of a tree and with its nine branches it brought to mind the Yggdrasil from Norse mythology and I made some samples on the loom that seemed to look ok. Initially I thought if I was going to try to weave it I would be sensible and do it on a smaller scale, but it didn’t seem right, these images are landscapes and I want to weave a ‘gateway’ into them, plugging into that link between weaving and myths, and for that the tapestry needed to be large and I’ve made a cartoon a couple of metres long. It will be woven on the side so that will be the finished height.

I haven’t seen tapestry like this before, and of course there may be a good reason for that and it might not work – will the atmosphere of the print translate into a tapestry? Nevertheless I have decided to give it a go – if it works it could be brilliant, and perhaps I have found a voice intrinsic to me as a weaver, and if it doesn’t well so be it – it will be a lesson learned and the skills I develop can be used for the next project. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be doing my great-grandmother project at some point, but it will be on the back burners for a while.

Saltaire Makers Fair Festival SpecialSaltaire Makers Fair Festival Special

I have a busy month ahead, the Maker’s Fair Special for the Saltaire Festival will be on the 14th and 15th September (please note I am on the leaflets – a legend in my own postcode 😉 )


And I’ve also have an order to fill for the lovely Imaginarium Gallery in Haworth, and have been weaving some of my ‘Rainbow Twill’ for that, working hard to clear the decks as much a I can and plan to put the warp for the tapestry onto Evil Norris tomorrow.

Patchwork Hexagons

Today – I am sorry to confess – I am nursing a hangover but it is a good excuse to add to my stash of patchwork hexagons – they are a great way to relax away from the looms, very addictive and easy to do but which will one day hopefully end up as a bed spread of black-framed flowers. For some reason I thought it was really difficult until someone showed me how to do it a month or so back. I am sorry to say I was eyeing up a perfectly good dress of mine though wanting to use the fabric.

Before I go it seems right to link to this great post by Dixie Nicholls from Handmade Lives  –  Creativity The Elephant in the Workroom which I hope you find as interesting as I did. So ta-ta for now, and I’ll try not to leave it so long next time. x

Hexagon Patchwork


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