I have been floored by a horrid head cold and have spent a great deal of the time wrapped up in blankets on the sofa in sight of my upright loom Doris. When I started to feel well enough to want to do ‘something’ but not well enough to trust myself upstairs with the big tapestry, I found myself putting a warp on. It was only narrow and I had a few drawings I wanted to play with, but apart from that, no real plan, just weaving with what yarns I had to hand that I normally make cloth with (I didn’t have the energy to go upstairs to raid my hand-dyed stash) and I just wove. It was very much like sketching in a notebook. It was a really great experience and quite liberating. It was also a good opportunity to sample some techniques I’ve been meaning to explore, like using eccentric wefts (which sucks by the way). It was nice to know I could weave on the small-scale as well as the large, even if I don’t seem to be able to do noses.
It was great to get back up to the big loom, and perhaps I did need a break from it. From the moment I sat in front of the weaving and dived my hand into the cool soft stringy-ness of the warp I felt like I was home. Crazy I know, but that was how it felt. Oh and the tapestry has now got its name – The Long Night. The idea behind the tapestry is that even the longest nights must end, as mine has with weaving. It does feel good to have something to call it at last. I’ve discovered a local source of cheap daylight bulbs – they are doing a good job keeping me warm too.
I have had some great news, I have been awarded a grant by The Eaton Fund to purchase a new loom. Since the injury to my knee I’ve not been able to climb step ladders to warp my scaffold loom, and it is very uncomfortable to use, as my incessant whinning in previous posts stands as evidence. The new loom is beamed so it will be much easier to warp and I’ll be able to sit at it properly instead of sitting on the floor or standing or balancing precariously on stools and boxes. I am about to be discharged by the physio and they have done as much as they can but I am still a long way off from being where I was before the accident and it looks like that is the way it is going to stay. It has been a lot for me to take in, but I am really greatful for the grant which will mean I can keep on going; I am feeling very lucky. It also means a great deal that someone has that kind of faith in me and my work. Very humbling. Hopefully I will be able to get the new loom up here to Yorkshire soon – the vendors have been incredibly patient with me. I will have to double my efforts to get The Long Night finished so I can swap the looms around in my workroom; I am hoping to have a pretty free diary over Christmas to knuckle down to it. I’ve also been asked to contribute an article about myself to the Tapestry Weaver, the magazine of the British Tapestry Group. A great honour for me, and I was quite giddy to be refered to as a tapestry weaver by someone who actually was one! I’ve also got my cheque from the National Trust for Maides Coign so all in all, it is proving to be a nice close to 2014.
More generally there have been lots going on in the heady world of tapestry. The shortlist for the Cordis Prize has been released and there are some stunning pieces selected. It is great to see tapestry looking so vibrant and being recognised as such. Tapestry was also featured on BBC Radio 4’s On Your Farm. The weavers and spinners involved in the production of a tapestry at Dovecot Studios using the undyed fleeces of various sheep breeds discussed their experience. You can still hear it over on the website if you missed it.
Right, I think that’s it – oh except to say I’ve started to use Instagram, I treated myself to a tablet through the Bank of Mom as my laptop is about to die. If there are any of you out there who might want to follow me, I am there as chrissiefreeth.
Toodles for now xxx