Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Oxaback Drawloom

Early in the year I was in Waihi Beach Gallery and Ana suggested I should make my weaving art for the wall.  Yeah yeah I thought, I like the dance of throwing the shuttle, beating the beater,seeing the cloth grow.
Then I was sitting at the table bemoaning the fact no one wanted my beautiful garments, all anyone asked for was blankets.  Well said Peter what would make it easier to weave the blankets.  Oh a 60 inch wide loom I answered and the subject was dropped.  I have always woven my blankets double layer to get the width I needed.
Three days later a friend in Coopers Beach, Northland advertised a 60" wide Oxaback drawloom for sale.  Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined owning a drawloom and must admit I'm still not sure of the workings of it. 
It wasn't convenient for Agnes or I to pick up the loom until mid March and, of course, by then Covid-19 was just arriving in New Zealand and we were at Level 2 shut down. (I think we had something like 5 cases.)
One morning Peter said pack your bag, I think we better go collect your loom.
The day we dismantled the loom and loaded the trailer the country went to Level 3 and we were told that wherever you are in 48 hours time is where you have to stay through Level 4.  Since we are both over 70 and shouldn't have been out and about anyway we scarpered home without even stopping in Auckland to see our kids.

Meet Maude
I call my loom after Maude, my maternal grandmother who was a wonderful needle worker and seamstress.  Unfortunately she died 2 years before I was born.

Who would have thought I would spend 6 weeks of total lock down inside a loom trying to get the countermach system working.

Before agreeing to purchase the loom we realised I'd need a fly shuttle system which Peter studied intensely and built from what was to hand.  Remember we were locked down.  An old rimu book case provided the wood for the box, kwila decking extended the beater to attach the box to and also provided a bar near the top of the beater to attach the cords and later to attach a light.

At Level 2 we were able to go to the city to get timber for Pete to build my seat.  And what a seat it is; sloping top adjustable height, solid on the ground and a tray to put my "stuff" in.
The only thing I need now is a coffee cup holder.
The Taj Mahal of seats.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Colour, Texture and Maipulation

I spent a good part of last year weaving towards this solo exhibition "Colour, Texture and Manipulation" which showed at Laughing Pottery in Waihi.  I wove the pieces with the shibori resist threads in them but had to set them aside as I had a large commission looming and would have to rethread the loom.  So in the new year, that is the beginning of 2020, the magic started in the dye pots.

I had two walls in the studio plus the windows.  Started with the green pieces which blended into blues and the second wall was pinks into reds.  One window showed a blue blanket and the other window my woven coat with freeform crochet back.  My friend, Rene Corder Evans helped me hang the exhibition and it turned out exactly as I planned.  When hanging was finished I stood back to look and have to admit to shedding a tear or two.  A proud moment.

I have to admit I didn't give the pieces names. 
This piece was probably the most experimental with three wave design lines intersecting each other, one in the weaving and two shibori lines, hence it went through three dye pots  It was very hard to catch the magic and the colour.  Sold.
This piece in shades of blue had two design lines, one in the weaving and one a shibori resist.

The following was rather a mission working out the curves to fit within the length of a wrap and you never know quite how the dye will show.  This was rather a surprise.  It looks fabulous draped around a body.
                   The next piece you have read about in another blog post "Pounamu".

Below Pounamu is a neck piece, part of a series of woven jewelry.
This gives you an idea of how the resist threads are drawn up before the white merino wool and/or silk has dye painted on them.
As someone commented to me - you paint you work after its woven!
Sometimes my heart is in my mouth as I do it but ...

Bold orange and yellow on a deep olive green background.

Of course I make art.

Goodness its difficult to keep a length of weaving folded until it can be clamped.  I don't recall how many times I'd just be tightening the clamp and sprong ... it would explode outwards and I'd start again.
But what an effective result.  The blue/turquoise cowl at the top is a double twist, the other two are single cowls.

The table runner beside the cowls has sold.

This silk piece was pole wrapped several times with a different dye colour each time

This silk piece was the only one I made with hand stitching in the resist; mokume.

Another piece in the jewelry range with a woven tube around the neck, cotton medallion and silk tassel.
More jewelry, another tube.  Surprisingly warm to wear.  Sold

More pieces you've seen before.  A machine knit wrap that has been felted, the felt bars making it very organic.  The second piece is a woven cowl with an interesting accent yarn.
A narrow silk scarf shibori dyed with the folds creating the resist.  It has a ring at one end that the tassel end slips through; ideal for warmer climates.
A square silk scarf, again the folds creating the resist.
I really liked this so much I was tempted to weave silk to try several ... until I realised I'd be threading over 2,000 threads.  Nice dream.
And the last piece I'm sharing was woven with shibori resist threads in the body and clamp resisted at the ends, again going through several dye baths.

Andrew from Laughing Pottery was a bit surprised at the number of people who came from far and wide specifically to see the exhibition and asked if I could leave it hanging for another few weeks but, of course, Covid-19 changed our world and New Zealand went into complete lock down on the night of 25 March so my last activity before I was grounded was to go collect my exhibit.
Many thanks to everyone who went to see it.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Eva's Mats

At the beginning of 2019 I had a request for a set of 30 woven placemats which I wove in December 2019.  These were to be the same as a set of 50 I had made for Eva at Chocolaterie in Dilsberg, Germany about 22 years ago.  These older ones are still in great condition even though they're used every day.  As the business has expanded Eva needed more to use in her concert room where a grande piano resides and she holds recitals.

Unfortunately the moths had munched the yarn I used originally so I used some NZ romney being a hard wearing fibre.  I had not kept records from the first run but remembered the brief had been "to look like Opoutere beach as you stepped out of the trees onto the sand".  Originally I had used a draft from an old Handwoven magazine for rep weave glass mats and luckily I found that. Decided to weave them in 2 lots of 15 mats each so set about dyeing one warp chain with navy, a murky mountain blue and teal, the second chain was left natural.

Threading the loom front to back.

Tying on the second warp length.
I did make a booboo in the first warp in that I wove 3.5cm for hem at each end of each mat instead of the 2.5cm allowed for.  15 mats times 2cm equals the length of one placemat.  I was short one mat so had to dye and weave a third short chain giving Eva a bonus as I couldn't do just one extra.

Hemmed pile is growing.

When I wrote to Eva asking what address to send the mats to she responded with "I'll come pick them up".  We had a lovely lunch with mutual friends.

Chocolaterie, Dilsberg

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Touch of Tui

I was asked by a lovely lady from Tauranga if I could weave her several shawls.
Actually the conversation started something like "Are you still weaving?  I want to catch you before you retire!"  One request was for a black and white shawl, maybe with a touch of the iridescence of the tui.  The tui is a native NZ bird which generally appears black with a white wattle under its beak but in the sun it sparkles blue and green iridescence.

 My loom was threaded in an extended advancing twill which gave the ideal platform for big, bold pattern. I tied on a warp of New Zealand merino.   I chose a plait tie up from my archives and wove with an extended advancing twill weft.

The iridescence is portrayed with several shiny lurex threads in the warp borders and at the beginning and end.

And, of course, I never dress the loom with a short warp so chose this wonderful tie up for echoing triangles from Weaver's magazine, Issue 21, an article by Ingrid Boesel for a second shawl, again using an advancing extended twill weft.
Both are versatile garments with the fabric drapey enough to wear many ways.
This triangle wrap is available from the Waihi Beach Gallery.