Introductory Weaving Workshop

An enjoyable Saturday was spent with Alice Hume at her wonderful Hotwalls Studio in Portsmouth. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’ve dabbled with weaving, even exhibited some with TRAC’s Line of Flight and the latest Ryde Sands weaves. But there is no substitute for learning a technique properly with an expert. Alice patiently guided us through the whole process of threading the handloom, weaving the sumac and weaving the pattern. I learnt how to integrate 2 and even 3 colours along the line and how to tie tassels properly.

Alice incorporates copper into her tapestry weaving and uses recycled denim too – I have plenty of that I could experiment with! I also admire her floor loom work – it isn’t just a piece of fabric, it has texture and echoes her tapestry weaving style. People travel from all over the South to Alice’s workshops and I can see why. You can even buy a workshop gift voucher for a friend. I think I will try her Macrame workshop next.

Here’s what I accomplished in a day:

Hume Looms

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Memories of a Sculpture Garden

This piece has taken me out of my comfort zone in many ways. I have already referred to the challenge of working with memories, but I’ve also been challenged to work with alternative materials – paper, recycled fabrics; slow stitch techniques and unfinished edges! My husband stopped me from neatly backing and bias-binding the edges. Knowing when to stop is such a hard thing. Going back to Cas Holme’s books I can see that he’s right.

I enjoyed learning about the transfer techniques and quite enjoyed working with the softer papers, but I don’t think I will incorporate the thicker papers into a piece of embroidery again. Perhaps a smaller piece which celebrates the stitched paper piece, rather than trying to integrate into a larger whole. Perhaps I’ll experiment with this year’s Christmas cards!

I did enjoy the hand stitching  – the ability to just sit in the chair and stitch. I think I will take more pleasure in the art of slow stitch – stitching for the shear delight of it now that I have removed myself from the pressure of TRAC. I don’t have to make to sell anymore – hooray!

 

Memories

West Sands, Ryde

The driftwood for these two pieces was found on the peaceful “working” beach near West Sands, beside the small boatyard. Here the driftwood is of a more industrial nature. I love the contrast of the burnt wood and the vibrant colours of the beach string on the piece on the left hand side. On the right, the plastic edging adds interest to the design. Presented in oiled pine box frames, these pieces (4 in total) will be for sale at the next TRAC Show, entitled Ryde, at the People’s Gallery from September 4th – 16th. It will be my final show with the group.

Ryde Sands

The following pieces were constructed from beach string and driftwood found on Ryde Sands before the dog ban marked the beginning of summer. Now each day a tractor combs the beach from one end to the other, burying the traces of flotsam and jetsam, pizza boxes and lollipop wrappers to make a perfect surface for new footprints to mark.

The driftwood in the piece on the left is perhaps from a packing crate washed by the sea and rusted in places from the nail that remains embedded. The beach string is unraveled plastic cord (pale blue), orange fishing twine and the white is elasticated, curling nylon, I think from an old shoelace. Crochet thread was used for the warp on both pieces.

On the right, the wood is possibly marine ply leaving interesting patterns as layers have separated. Unraveled plastic cord in several shades of blue and a piece of orange are layered with orange fishing twine and the nylon shoelace again.

Both pieces are mounted on card and framed in 8″x 8″ oiled pine box-frames.

On the theme of Ryde

I have been working on my Ryde themed pieces for the September TRAC exhibtition and as you will see, I’ve decided to work in the abstract rather than to try and reinterpret popular landmarks.  There has been a lot in the news about the impact of   ‘Ghost gear’ from the fishing industry and a stroll along Ryde Sands revealed that even the beautiful beaches here are not free from such detritus. The pieces of ‘beach string’ seem to be shorter here than what is often found on Cornish beaches, for example, but still just as harmful to marine life. How could I incorporate them into my work?

I collected some multicoloured string and a couple of pieces of driftwood for good measure. After some trial and error, I decided that I would deconstruct the string and work on some small woven pieces. I found my trusty Spear’s weaving loom, a childhood toy that was rarely used, was perfect for working in this way. Tune in next time to see how I turned this into a piece of work: