Saltaire Arts Trail Looms

I’m taking time out from the week thing, as I haven’t really got a chance to work on Found Drowned. It proved too hard to settle knowing I had so much to do in preparation for the Saltaire Arts Trail this weekend, so I decided to ban myself from the studio and just get it done. It proved a wise decision as it took me twice as long as expected. On Monday I am running a day of weaving activities for around 200 children (gulp) on behalf of Sponge Tree. I had all the instructions for the activities to write-up and get tested, as well as getting all the yarns and equipment ready. There will be peg loom weaving (which also involved dyeing a lot of fleece and carding it), tapestry weaving (did I mention I am still waiting for the tapestry frames and peg looms to arrive? Calm, aren’t I?) And then there’s the straw weaving and card loom weaving. IMG_2973 IMG_3191 IMG_3251I was also going to take along a table top loom and a replica Viking warp weighted loom, but then I had a call from an old friend from my archaeology days asking me if I had any use for some ancient Egyptian ground looms he had to get rid of. It was, as a friend of his outrageously suggested, like offering vodka to an alcoholic but how could I say no? There are five of them and perfect for children, simple to set up, easy to understand and perfect for folk who like to crawl about on the floor. And I wove on them myself twenty years ago as an undergraduate, of course I would make room!. I set them up, quite counter intuitively as the closed shed is kept open and it is the open shed that’s manipulated, if you know what I mean. I love, love, love them and quite frankly the children will have a great deal of difficulty getting me to let them have a go. But I think they will make the warp-weighted loom and table loom rather superfluous and so will leave them for another time. The ground looms will also be able to involve more kids at any one time than the warp weighted one. IMG_3344I’ve also had to get my smaller upright loom ready for demonstrations on the Saturday and Sunday. I’ve just finished the cartoon now and will warp it up tomorrow. With time so short, I wanted to weave something that I can actually use of later in the year, rather than something I will just cut off and throw away the minute the event is over. I’ve ended up with a similar design to a previous tapestry, but one I have longed to rework, and it will be quite different once it is woven. Cripes I’ll need to dye the wool tomorrow too. IMG_3402I think I’ve managed one day on the larger tapestry though, and have wound it on. It is quite frankly a wonderful thing to see more of the cartoon, and to have something different to look at over the coming months (although my g-g-g-grandmother does look a bit ghostly behind those warps). And that has what has got me through the last two weeks, knowing that the next two months should be clear weaving in time for Art in the Pen and the Art Market later in the year. IMG_3291There’s no where to hang tapestries this year at the Arts Trail and in the end this has worked in my favour, and I’m able to make use of extant stock rather than produce new work, I suspect that would have tipped me over the edge (although it was a good excuse to make a few new buttons). I am happy to report btw that I have been injury free these last two weeks, apart from walking into a kitchen cupboard this afternoon and bruising my forehead. I call that a successful fortnight, what with no broken bones.

IMG_3244Before I go, I do just want to share this rather fantastic video about one of my favourite artists, Claire Wellesley-Smith. She has a book coming out in September, ‘Slow Stitch; mindful and contemplative textile art’ published by Batsford, and quite frankly, I cannot wait.

So there we are. Please pray for me this weekend, I care not to whom. Ta, ta x

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