Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Today I Go Public

This is where I will be weaving for a month next year!  I was a bit afraid to post before in case they changed their minds :-), but no, from Feb 1st - Mar 1st 2013 I am Artist in Residence at Chichester Cathedral (they are even giving me a badge!!!  Hop-te-tooty).  I can go for something complex / fine and large because it does not have to be finished within the month; I can have an exhibition in the autumn to display the new piece, and other work (= Lament).  I have to do a day in school, and a family workshop as well as a talk to MA students at WD (who jointly fund the residency).  WD also offer free board & lodging and studio space if required.  The spire fell down in 1861 and there is currently a large project to gather and digitise the records and memories of the event.  They are happy for me to go with a theme of rebuilding / resurrection rather than collapse, and I can have access to the archive for visual research.  I am so excited I could bite a grape.  Little me, next to Gustav Holst's grave and round the corner from a Chagall window, John Piper tapestry and Sutherland painting.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


This is a detail of a tapestry I completed during my PGDip in 2010 - a precursor to 'thebigone'.  At the time I called it 'Christmarks', but now that it has gone for proper mounting and framing (sans glass) for Arundel, I have changed it's title to 'Corpus Christi'.  The second weekend of the exhibition coincides with the festival of that name, and Arundel Cathedral make a big thing of it, so it seemed appropriate.  I am also putting in some of the Pieta prints and drawings, along with the small tapestry of the same name, also now professionally mounted and framed:

You will have gathered that I decided to go ahead with the show!  Many pieces are still at the framers, but I still have a lot here too - I have amassed quite a body of work in the last two years.  I shall take it all with me on Friday, and make choices as I set up.  Tomorrow afternoon I am collecting some porcelain from a lovely lady who is going to share the space with me, and who is trusting me to arrange her pieces alongside mine.  I am very excited, and a teeny bit scared - this is very much more 'exposed' than an end of year show, or anything I have taken part in before.  But I have at least 12 definites for the Private View, so I will not be drinking cava alone.

Tomorrow I have a lunchtime meeting with the Education Officer from the cathedral for some preliminary discussions about my residency there in Feb 2013, and a possible solo exhibition in the autumn of 2013!  Jolly times.

Friday, 25 May 2012


...soumak, background, wrapped stems and the beginnings of a knotted flower in orange tulle.  I may do some selective melting of the tulle with a heat gun, but the texture is rather nice (and it grows quickly, because I am not putting in picks).  Although I started it at a higher level than the white flower, the 'drop' means that it looks at the same height - need to bear this in mind for another time.

Off on trips today; collecting Diana from WD shortly and going to look at daylight lamps (they have them in the studio and we want to research having some for our very own) and sheet metal (I can't remember why Diana wants to look at this, but it will be weaving-connected!).  This afternoon collecting Eleanor (also from WD - I can't keep away) and driving up to London, then bus-ing and tube-ing in to Late Tate to look at the Damien Hirst's and other things.

Tomorrow is the BTG South East meeting in Angmering, talk in the morning, then we are going to do a 'round robin' weaving on each other's frames; Sunday I shall either weave or sleep!!

Toodle Pip.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I Like My Life

Today I worked on a lot more background and the start of the next flower - soumak knots in 4ply flax.  I may do the centre in that lovely red mix.  This afternoon I was sitting perched at the next level (low stool on weaving platform - I have progressed through: cushion on floor, low stool, three-legged chair, three-legged chair+cushion).  There was a soft breeze ruffling my hair, the shade was dappled and I was doing work I love, and I suddenly thought "I REALLY like my life".  And despite a bit of a setback when I got home, I still do.

The setback?  The person I was due to share exhibition space with at Arundel (starting next Friday) has had to pull out.  I now have to decide (pronto) whether to go ahead on my own........

Monday, 21 May 2012

Blue Flower and More Background

I did the blue one yesterday, in the 90 minutes I was at TM before the cold wind blew me home to weave indoors.  Ghiordes knots with continuous loops.  Looking at this I see a loose end at bottom right that needs to be anchored behind.  I filled in more background today (lovely and warm!) and wrapped some more cord.  Paul had locked up and gone off to rescue some bees or mend a wall or something whilst I was at my exhibition meeting, so I had no access to the studio to replenish my green bundles and had to stop until tomorrow.

Off to a concert in Brighton tonight; ' 'The Lady', A Homage to Sandy Denny'.  The tickets were advertised on Freecycle this morning, and I replied in time to be given them.  WooHoo!!.  Am going to put my folkie glad rags on shortly and drive to Littlehampton to meet up with a friend, then travel on to B.  What Lovely Impromptu Larks, Pip!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Partners in Crime (Psycho Cat and Dog the Destroyer)

WARNING: If you are of a sensitive disposition, look away now!!

<> I have a collection of robins in various media (as you might guess from previous posts).  It is now depleted by one.  This was one of those Christmas tree decorations - a bit tatty - , and was in the cupboard under my drawing desk.  In a suspiciously concerted act, it was stolen by the cat, who batted it round the room a few times, then feigned boredom.  The dog (similarly feigning disinterest during the cat's dance) suddenly pounced on it and basically flayed it to the gruesome state you see here.

Clearly I shall have to watch them closely for further signs of wickedness.  I might be next......

Friday, 18 May 2012


The box; 14" x 10" x 4".

The contents: 10 2" (5cm) square copper plates and two drypoint engraving tools.

Had they put the items in a padded envelope they would have fitted through the letterbox and NOT required three delivery attempts and my two hour round trip to an industrial estate on the far side of Fareham.  What can I say??

Flowers and Flo

Progress by the end of a seven hour weaving day on Wednesday  (without extreme weather gear :-))

This flower was made with mixed Harris singles (about 8 in a weft bundle), Ghiordes knotted around pairs of warps, Lark's head around singles where numbers demanded it, with a pick between each row of knots.  Fun but time consuming!  The centre is 4ply warp.  I opted out of plastic bags, because so many are biodegradable and I don't want it to disintegrate too soon.  The next flower will be blue and turquoise rip stop nylon, the result of a secondary womble in the TM loft; where Paul wombled it in the first place I am not sure.

Bonus shot of the weaver's dog.  She does enjoy her days in the TM garden (I don't have a suitable one at home - it is a front garden without a fence, and not very big - the only downside of my little flat)

Yesterday was a bit of a loss.  Woke up with a blistering headache and back spasms.  Possibly due to excess weaving, but more likely a Wednesday evening of fun, playing and wrestling with a 5-yr old!  [Mental note not to enjoy self so much]  Weather was a bit yuk too, but managed a hobble (me) and romp (doglet) at Hunter's Race.  Today is for parcel collecting in Fareham (they missed me three times) and probably an afternoon at TM before baking bread for the Transition Chi Green Cafe tomorrow.  Also have to design some invitations to the Arundel exhibition, which we have brought forward by three days - to 1st June.  No panic or pressure there :-)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Essential Wear for Outdoor Weavers

The weather was a bit showery this morning, so I did not go to TM until after lunch, when it seemed as though there would be bouts of dry interspersed with a few showers.  This was indeed the case, but what I had not bargained for was the VICIOUS north wind gusting through the garden (and my bones!)  Already wearing a vest under my smock and trousers, I added my trusty fisherman's smock and then (raided from the TM dressing up box) a naval commander's dress jacket which had rendered me toasty warm last week.  Not today, even with my lovely cashmere fingerless gloves and regular input of tea, and even soup.  The weaving was going well - more stems, more background and the foundation for the next flower - so I dashed home to collect my thermal flotation sailing suit, last worn off the Isle of Wight in a force 6 last summer - much better, and clearly the answer.  Good job I don't need to be glamorous in my line of work!

It enabled me to get another hour of weaving done, before a final icy deluge drove me from the loom.  Paul took this delightful photo making me look even shorter and rounder than normal (I do have another 40cm of leg below the red line)  Home for hot bath, hot tea, a bacon sandwich, clean PJs and cuddle up with doglet and cat.

Ghiordes knots for a red flower tomorrow.......

Monday, 14 May 2012

I should explain....

The panels on the cave-to-be are part of two projects; the first is to be an element in the sensory garden and the second to be a community tapestry.  To that end, the panels will be full of different textures / sounds and dimensional areas.  The challenge (and the community part) is that all the materials are donations from the local area.  We are hoping to make a memory book where the yarn or fabric comes with reminiscences, and to make individual flowers for those groups or people.  We shall see how it pans out!!  So far the background is made of bundles of 11 strands of Harris yarn from the Loom Lady at West Stoke; the flower centre is chunky Swaledale rug yarn from her, dyed yellow by her and her husband; the core of the stems is 30 yr old 21 ply flax carpet warp from WD (the same I used for 'Lament' - the warp here is 4ply of the same) and the purple is an acrylic chunky - which packs down surprisingly well, and gives a velvety surface in contrast to the rougher Harris.  I had to PVA the back of the yellow because the locking picks would not be strong enough to resist little hands.  I shall Lark's Head knot round individual warps on the next fringing, which will be a main flower in rusty reds, with a plastic bag centre.

I have to attend a seminar until 4pm today, but hope that the weather will be good enough to do some weaving afterwards.  I would rather be at the loom now and for the day.

We are hoping to set up my main loom inside the cave (with a tarp roof!) once these two panels are done, so that I can stay 'in residence' while the renovations continue to make space for me inside.  This will be good; I much prefer working there to working by myself at home.  It is better for my head!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Good Days

 This is where I got to after 7 hours of weaving on Friday

with a detail of the wrapped cord 'stem'.

And this after 7 hours today (the plastic bags are to contain and protect the core and weft bundles in case it rains tomorrow)

Detail of the first 'flower', with fringed centre.

Doglet loves being in the garden at TM all day, as do I, but I have grown unused to such long weaving days and have stiff shoulders (and tomorrow will have stiff adductors from perching on a low stool!!)
Lovely to be working large again.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Poles and Peggy; Warping and Warbling

The cave-to-be!  The spaces between the side and rear poles will be filled with climbing plants, as will the roof, and there will be a water feature (made from a parabolic reflector and radar dish) inside.  There will be tapestry panels either side of the entrance...

There was a sudden good weather window at 4pm, so I drove over to TM (oh the joy of being mobile again!), Paul moved the bottom poles up, and added an extra horizontal and I set to, marking the poles at 2cm intervals and then (deep breath, loo visit etc, because once you start, you CAN"T STOP) started to warp.  It took about an hour (and more than 100 climbs up and down the step ladder), then a very welcome mug of tea from Caz, followed by the tensioning, twining and half hitching (for which I sat cross legged on a cushion, singing Peggy Lee's "It's a good day..." buzzed by passing time trial cyclists.

And so to weaving tomorrow if the weather holds......  I have lots of lovely yarns and materials, donated by members of the local community, to work with, and the plan is for semi abstract floral design which will integrate with the planting.  The people who funded the garden are visiting on Friday, so I hope to have made some progress and be seen in action.

Plan B is to continue with 'Thread of Grace' at home.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

'Über-Foraging' or 'Why I ♥ Wombling'

On Monday Paul called from Time Machine with news of a loom donation.  He picked me up and we went and met a delightful lady in West Stoke.  I had expected a small table top loom, and Paul a tapestry frame like my Ashford.  Imagine our surprise (and delight) to see a full size four shaft treadle loom.  And bags of Harris, Swaledale and Herdwick yarn for rug and cloth making.  Deep Joy (and then some)

Paul (being the engineer) dismantled it straightaway, it being one of the few occasions when the back of his van was empty and clean.  Despite visitors and all sorts we managed to reassemble it at TM - not in its proper place yet, the weaving area is still not ready - but in a space where it can be used.  Now I have to find my weaving books and revise how to put a warp on.  A pleasant challenge.  We may make some Time Machine rugs for fundraising.

The garden cave-to-be has also been built - thus far a framework of scaffolding poles, which will have climbing plants and a water feature inside.  My task is to weave two front panels in situ, using materials donated by the community (and some of this new yarn).  We are waiting for a dry day to warp it up using garden twine........

Predictably, I did not have my camera with me.

Yesterday I went to WD to talk to people about my ideas for the Cathedral residency, and to do a 'research walk' on the Andy Goldsworthy chalk stones trail.  Today is for errands and weaving.  Only a month until Arundel.
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