Saturday, 22 October 2011

Weaving on the Loom

We have finally started using the weaving looms!! (Although not the massive foot controlled ones- we are using the baby table top looms, which are still quite hefty!)
It is very exciting, and much more physically challenging than I thought- you have to push buttons to select the shaft (with the heddles in) that you want lifted, then pull a lever down to actually lift the shafts, move your shuttle across, release the lever, release all the buttons, reselect your buttons and shafts and away you go again! Lots of shoulder exercise!!
Still, it is looking really good and you can kind of get into a rhythm, especially if you are doing a plain weave and I was going quite fast at one point. It is the harder patterns that get me a bit because you have to kind of count and remember which bit of the pattern you are on. Here are a few of my samples so far!

 In the left hand image I have experimented with plain stitch in three different yarns, and also tried a hopsack weave which is almost just a bigger version of the plain weave. The right hand image has lots of different weaves in, several variations of the hopsack, a twill, a zig-zag twill, a barley corn weave, my own experiment of random buttons etc. It is really good fun to see the pattern emerging, I think my favourite was the zig-zag twill which looked really pretty.

In these experiments I have kept to neutral colours as I haven't really decided on my colour palette yet and I will want to put these samples in my sketchbook without them standing out as blatant first attempts.
The most annoying thing about weaving here is that you have to wait for the warp thread (the one going the length of the weave, the weft thread is the yarn going the width of the weave and the one I have been inputting) to run out, which is why it has my name all over it so no one pinches it!!

Of course, doing this weaving project has made me think about other artists who work with weave, and the history of weaving.
Weaving comes from all over the world and can be found in all kinds of textiles! A nice website I have come across which has different woven items featured in it is the Weaving Art Museum.  As it says in it's opening paragraph it was 'established to promote increased appreciation for the historic weaving art of indigenous weaving cultures located in the Eastern Mediterranean and the adjacent areas'. So well worth a sneaky peek at.

I have of course sourced some interesting artists for you (all this dedication!) and have come across Margo Selby who has won many awards for her woven textiles.

I particularly like her wall panels which are huge and gorgeous and spotty!

Muriel Beckett specialises in hand woven wall hangings and rugs, with colours often inspired by the sea and mountains. They are quite clean, simple and soothing and I really like her work.

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