Week 0: With a little help from my friends…..

This residency was supposed to get at least one loom out of the house but has backfired spectacularly. I’ve got behind on the Hanging Tree and it isn’t finished; I’ve had to get another loom. This was not the secret plan all along. No honestly it wasn’t. Really, I mean it!  Anyway this meant getting it shod and for that I had to call again on the services of my friend Paula Perrins from Wychbury Designs and her husband Iain, both of whom are fearless with a drill.

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I am a very self-reliant person, but it has been a real lesson in letting go and accepting that there are folk out there that have my back well and truly covered. Despite their drive shaft breaking a few days before and the car being consigned to the garage, they lugged children, planks and drills over to Saltaire on the train to get the job done.

The next challenge was to get the loom over to East Riddlesden and Clarie Foster who runs the Imaginarium Gallery in Haworth kindly donated the services of her husband Barry who is a painter and decorator and so had a van big enough. I had only met him briefly before but he very kindly cleared out his van to make room for the scaffolding, spool rack and seating and a large box of misc stuff. I had assumed the plan was to just take things over but a text the day before to make sure I had a set of ladders, made it clear he was willing to help put it all together as well.

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I have no intention of getting overly sentimental but as we carried the scaffolding through the hall and past the Flemish tapestry that hangs in there it was impossible for a link not to be felt, a sense of continuity and respect to the unknown weavers who made it.

I am based in a small alcove at the end of an upstairs corridor. It was supposed to lead to a second wing which was never built and is now a loom-sized dead-end. The floorboards proved to be more uneven than they initially looked and the right prop has a distinctive lean which meant levelling up the top and bottom beams was quite fiddly. I don’t know how I ever imagined I’d get it done alone! Barry was very patient with me and a great laugh and he is a real perfectionist who likes to see things done right. If anyone needs a painter/decorator I have no qualms at all recommending him. J Hawksby Race & Son is the name of his business; it was his uncle’s and grandfather’s before him.

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On Saturday morning Ilkley based bookmaker/artist Kate Bowles is coming to help with the warping up. I did it alone last time and it took nearly a week – it is going to be much quicker with the two of us. Because of the tight space there is no access to the back of the loom so attaching the cartoon is going to be a bit tricky but I am sure we will find a way.

It has been quite stressful getting everything ready but I did get some good news – the Weaver’s Bazaar under their sponsorship scheme have very kindly donated a pair of tapestry frames and these will go into the sewing room so folk can have a go at weaving if they don’t want to try on the big loom.

And so I find myself sitting on the sofa enjoying the lull before I turn into a lean-mean-dyeing-machine for the rest of the week. As well as congratulating myself for writing a post in a timely manner, I am of course, very much counting my blessings.

100_4001The house is open at weekends until 24th March when it will also be open Monday-Wednesday. Their website is here and there should be a link about the project added to it in the next few days. I will be keeping my times and dates updated on my Twitter and Facebook pages.

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