Thank you to every body who came to visit me at the Meet Your Maker Event at the Haining, over the weekend. It was lovely to see so many enthusiastic people wanting to learn to weave! The youngest was 2 years and 9 months ( helped by her aunt!) and the oldest used to work in the Selkirk woollen mills many years ago. It was lovely to meet you all. Here are a few memories of the weekend.
I was recently asked to run a weaving workshop as part of a one day conference on Texture. This was run by two PHD students in the English Department at St Andrews University.
Several academics from different universities around the UK were invited to give talks about how texture crosses boundaries and weaves people together. The conference explored the relationship between the written word (or text), poetry, film, textiles and how the digital world conveys texture. It was a fascinating day and made me consider my own design work from a completely different perspective.
There were many inspiring talks, but these are a few that stood out for me:
Dr Frank Ferguson (University of Ulster), gave a talk about the poet John Hewitt who wrote poetry about the rhyming weavers of Antrim and County Down. He described how words have texture to them, that can ‘make things better’. They have an honesty to them, weaving peoples lives together.
Dr Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University), talked about ‘The Eternal Harmony of Warp & Woof: Ruskin, Weaving & Social Harmony. Ruskin’s ethical aesthetics of textiles which talked of educating the mill weavers, giving them proper housing and fair wages, which in turn would result in beautiful products that gave the weaver a sense of pride, pleasure and moral lesson. Ruskin felt that people needed to be entwined to learn from each other.
Dr Lucy Donaldson (University of Bristol), gave a talk about how the film industry creates texture in sound and image.
Lucie Hazelgrove-Planel (University of St Andrews) gave a talk entitled ‘Pacific Island weaving knowledge in the digital age’. She explained how an online museum had been set up to record woven patterns used by weavers who made mats from plants. This included a description of pattern and texture and how they related to different festivals. A fascinating record of information, but most islanders did not have access to the internet.
My workshop, introduced the physical texture of textiles. I demonstrated weaving on a 4 shaft table loom and encouraged participants to have a go for themselves. I talked about how texture can be made by chose of yarn, pattern and how the cloth is finished.
It was an absorbing day and we all learnt something new from each other, just as Ruskin had said we needed to do to develop further.
So much food for thought!
I am taking part in Craft Scotland’s ‘Meet Your Maker’ event on the weekend of 7th – 8th September 2013, at St Andrews Museum in Fife.
Eight different venues across Scotland will be show casing the work of 14 different craft makers. It’s a chance to meet the makers and learn about their inspirations, design process and techniques behind their craft. I will be demonstrating weaving and visitors (both young and old) will be able to have a go for for themselves.
Look forward to seeing you there!