Experimenting at the loom

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I’ve been really lucky over the last few weeks to have loads of time to myself without any of my other commitments eating into it. I thought it would be a good time to work on my upright loom and do some experimenting. I will always lean towards the large-scale for my tapestries but I have enjoyed weaving some smaller pieces, almost as studies, and they have been great to try out ideas and to stretch myself and explore some technical issues. The instant gratification of seeing a tapestry finished in a couple of days rather than a few months is certainly something to relish.


I was keen see what was possible weaving on the side and straight up. Maides Coign was woven on the side, as most tapestries of old were, the tapestry hangs better. These two tapestries below were woven using the same cartoon; although the one on the right might be more technically correct having been woven on the side, I feel the first one has a bit more life to it. I think I learned that each design will have to be considered on its own merit and there is no point favouring one method over the other.

Same Cartoon

On saying that, for some reason I always loved the story of the post-war tapestry woven for Coventry Cathedral, Christ in Glory designed by Graham Sutherland. Dovecot Studios was approached to weave it but they insisted that it had to be woven on the side and the segments invisibly sewn together. Sutherland and the cathedral officials were adamant it be woven in one piece and so the commission went to a french studio willing to do it that way. Inevitably, and as predicted by Dovecot, the weft of the tapestry has succumbed to gravity and has begun to slip down the vertical warps causing its surface to pucker. I guess it is a bit of a monumental ‘I told you so’.

Graham Sutherland Tapestry from Wikipedia

Anyway, I’ve also been trying again with eccentric wefts, but I still don’t like them very much – I find it is a bit unpredictable how the finished piece will end up. IMG_0417

This weaving below came off the loom today. I started it off hating the colour and convinced it wouldn’t work and almost abandoned it (as I had three others prior to this one!) but it has started to grow on me – a good lesson in seeing things through. I think I am going to weave it again but upright rather than on the side.

IMG_0543 - Copy - Copy

I have also spent a lot of time with my sketchbooks and researching ideas. I was staring to get into a bit of a panic over future pieces, but after taking a day off, all the things that had been swimming in my head came together and almost instantly I now have four or five cartoons in my head that I want to start developing. I’ve got a delivery date for my new loom but it looks like it will arrive long before I get to finish the current tapestry on the scaffold loom so I may have some difficult decisions to make; there are only so many looms my wee cottage can take. But that’s another story. Tomorrow I have to do some grown up things, and a few committee meetings are looming (seewhatIdidthere) but it has been a very enjoyable and productive time.

I am looking forward to the next few months and to getting some of these new projects woven. I did want to say thank you for all the support, I appreciate it so much, and I wish you all, albeit belatedly, all the best for 2015.




2 thoughts on “Experimenting at the loom

  1. Like both your red haired ladies. You would thinkthe Coventry people would listen to the experts wouldn’t you?
    My heddle loom is warped up to make a new bag have got some funky yarn to include. Quite pleased so far.

  2. I love the girl with the wavy hair and soft face. I love the way floats into the dark background! I’ve neer woven sideways before so I am ging to try it I am teaching myself so watching other weavers really helps. I live in Egypt currently so don’t have access to classes and trying to get weavers here to teach me? They’re not so good at sharing, too afraid of people stealing their business! Hey ho. Love your blog!

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