Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Not Gone (and hopefully not Forgotten!)

This is where I started today, and this is where I finished:-

The best weaving day in quite some time!

There have been some major life changes since my last post - one on that very day, and completely out of the blue. Another is that I will be beginning a new chapter as the part-time 'Anna' Chaplain for Chichester; https://www.thegiftofyears.org.uk/anna-chaplaincy-older-people gives a full explanation of the principles of the rôle, but I will be tailoring it to include art and creative practice as paths to supporting the spirituality of older people, their care-givers, and care-workers. I am so honoured, excited (and a little scared) about such a wonderful opportunity to weave art and spirituality together, alongside my studio practice. I was commissioned last Friday by the founder of Anna Chaplaincy, Debbie Thrower, but will be fully 'in post' on September 19th.

Last Monday I saw the gynae-oncologist for the last time, and have been 'signed off' (not 'written off' as I first phrased it!) from the cancer centre; two years all clear!! I danced a little jig on my way back to the car.

Location:The Loom Room

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Making, and Making Plans (for '19, not for Nigel)

'Geode (139:15)' on a marble pillar at West Dean.

After a few struggles with warping, some diversions, and rather too many occasions when life got in the way, finally 'id1:nefesh' is properly underway. I have, since this photo was taken, woven up as far as the spacer on the right, and am now switching to bringing 'id3:neshamah' (glimpsed to the left of frame)up to the same level before winding them both on. My studio remains a complete joy to me.

One of the diversions was a rediscovery of printmaking and making artist books as other strands to my practice; there has to be something to go on the wall alongside plinths with sculptures on! I plan to take some classes, but have begun to really enjoy both the process and the results of Japanese Woodcut printmaking; no press required, designed for small space working, and the watercolour / rice paste combo suits my subject matter and drawing style. I did a 'drawing a day' of patterns from the stones on my windowsill of wonders in February, and have been working on woodcuts from those drawings. Not ready for public viewing yet, but showing promise.

The plans for 2019 are not yet for public announcement, but they are making me very excited!

Location:The Loom Room

Thursday, 2 February 2017

'Geode (139:15)': Completed

I am very pleased to say that the experiment worked; it is possible to make a hollowed out form from one long piece of weaving. The texture both inside and out is exactly what I hoped for.

My Open Studio went very well; a goodly number of visitors who experienced The Loom Room and my enthusiasm for weaving with good grace! I also had a pop-up gallery in the sitting room, which generated some sales. People lingered over tea and cakes, chatting and making friends. An Art Salon almost. I shall certainly do it again.....

Today is the post cut-off clearing up ritual in The Loom Room. The warp for the new series is ready to go on (I was able to use the warping mill at WD last week; 400 ends of 5m would have been tricky on my Heath Robinson warping board) and I plan to start the dressing process too.....

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Looking Forward by Looking Back

My original plan for 2017, once 'Geode (139:15)' is finished was to start weaving a full-size version of 'Shrine', but it had begun to dawn on me that it might not be the best plan; various considerations fed into this:-

- once the 'Big Shrine' warp is on, the loom is then 'blocked' for up to a year
- I need to build up a body of 3D weaving at a more reasonable size
- a sketchbook review showed me some abandoned ideas worthy of re-evaluation
- A visit to Anselm Kiefer's 'Walhalla' last month showed the value of revisiting and iterating forms and themes
- There is a delay in the arrival of the 2.0m reed

And so, 'Big Shrine' is on hold for a few months.....

Instead, I intend to revisit the 'Identity' series that I was working on in 2012 and had to stop when I moved out of Time Machine, but on a smaller scale (the original banner format was w30cm X h100cm) and in combination with the Shrine form. There will be five:-

Nefesh (Soul)
Neshamah (Spirit)
Ruah (Breath)
Hayyah (Life)
Yehudah (Uniqueness)

By making them 50cm high, woven sideways as before, I can fit two side by side on the 1m warp that is my current maximum, with space for a sixth design still nebulous in my head...

I have adjusted the cartoon plan so that the join will occur inside the cleft, and will incorporate a tracing of my fingerprint with the text, as I did in 2012.

There are some other technical changes to the warping (a 5m length), sleying and heddling which I shall describe in a later post.

First I have to finish weaving 'Geode (139:15)'......................

And I am holding an Open Studio on January 14-15th:-

Location:The Loom Room

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Studio Joy: addendum

IKEA racks on the back of the door.

I can listen to music without headphones. Radio 3 is a frequent companion.

I can sing along to said music without alarming anyone (it has to be said that me singing along to the bass parts in Walton's Belshazzar's Feast would alarm the most sturdy soul!)

My favourite armchair and blankie are just across the landing for knitting / thinking / reading / crochet breaks.

A purring cat on my lap or at my feet.

I will be sharing this happy place with an Open Studio Weekend, January 14-15th 2017. Message me for details. There will be cake!

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Studio Joy

Since beginning this journey from utility textiles to textile art, there have been many permutations of studio spaces. At one point during my BA I had small workspaces in Leicester, Northants and Jura simultaneously; keeping track of what was where was a logistical challenge, but I learned to pack light (eventually) and trusty trolley Marilyn came into her own:-

as she still does!

With the arrival of Lemminkäinen I now have a single studio, small (10' X 10') but near perfect for me; I have to be well-organised, which is a good discipline, but I have my desk, my books and equipment, and my loom. The studio faces south, so I know that the sea is only a mile away as I gaze out of the window; the sky over the sea is almost always beautiful. When I sit at Lemminkäinen, who resides against the north wall, the sun often shines on my back. I have a prism in the window, so I often work in rainbows. Other advantages:-

Close proximity of good tea.

I can (and often do) work in my PJs first thing in the morning.

I can work late into the night without travel concerns.

Doglet and catkin are faithful companions, if not any actual use!

Desk and loom are only a step apart, so ideas can flow between most easily.

I can weave, draw, plan or journal in even the shortest periods of time.

Last week, when my old back problem flared up, I was able to carry on weaving (if only a little) between lyings down.

You can probably tell that my studio is one of my happy places, and I am well content.

And I have this splendid sign, salvaged from a rubbish dump, on the door.

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

Sunday, 13 November 2016

On the Mending of Bobbins

My favourite ebony bobbin, the one that has been my faithful weaving companion throughout, came apart again; my whipping technique was not enough to withstand my weaving technique!

Enter my colleague Andrew, of Artisan Bobbins, who mended it with glue and boxwood dowels (only 2mm diameter!) with ebony shards. Watching a craftsman at work is always a delight, and he was very happy to be trying out his new lathe to turn the dowels.

Very glad to have it back in working order; the reserve bobbin was just not the same.

Location:West Dean

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