After the lockdown and cold weather, it was lovely to be out for a day by the seaside. Made all the better by seeing a wicker family out for the day as part of Art on The Prom in Felixstowe’s Seafront Gardens.
The original wicker family had been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund 5 years prior, but were no longer in a good state of repair. The creator of the new works is Tracy Barritt-Brown.
Fascinating article from the New York Times on collaborations with Mexican artisans in Oaxaca and elsewhere, where contemporary designers are helping to evolve and protect one of the worlds most enduring handicrafts.
A super resource for anyone interested in fleece. This website - The UK Fleece Directory - connects growers with crafters. It lists fleeces available and how to contact the grower. It's not an online store - you need to contact the growers and negotiate your purchase with them. However, it's really inspirational to see how much British fleece is out there.
...and a belated ‘thank you’
When I stood down as Secretary at the 2018 AGM, the Guild gave me an extremely generous cash gift. I really didn’t know what to say, I was so shocked. I didn’t spend the money for ages as I wanted to use it for something worthwhile. Towards the end of 2019 I spotted a request for crowdfunding to revive the weaving industry on Orkney. I pledged nearly the whole amount towards the project, the reward for which would, eventually, be a hand-woven scarf. By 9 January 2020 they had successfully raised £13,085 with 141 supporters in 37 days.
The Orkney Cloth Company is a start-up weaving business, founded by India Johnson. After completing a degree in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2018, and a graduate weaving placement in Orkney, she decided to set up her own cloth weaving business to revive the weaving industry in Orkney. Their aim is to create sustainable hand-woven products which support traditional craftsmanship and the local community. They hope to revive the traditional weaving industry in Orkney, through training and weaving workshops and by creating small collections of blankets and scarves on a double width loom, eventually weaving lengths of cloth to sell by the metre.
The Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey is a familiar haunt of mine. Set up by Zandra Rhodes, its displays cover a broad range of textile related subjects from designer to manufacturer and from techniques to style.
So it was with great enthusiasm that I ventured out from London Bridge to see the exhibition on the weaving traditions of Peru. I have seldom met any weaver or spinner who does not find the traditional clothes of Peru appealing.
Having seen the various comments on Facebook about this exhibition, I vowed to get to see it before it finished. A family wedding was occupying much of my time but I foresaw no problem with buying tickets for a later date. How wrong I was! As I tried to book online, the dates filled up and ‘sold out’ appeared against each date.
I finally resorted to taking out membership, just as they extended to exhibition to September. But, it has meant that I can go when I like and as often as I like.
The whole show is beautifully stages in a new basement gallery at the museum. Having subsequently looked at images from the parallel exhibitions in Paris and Dallas, the same guiding hand has obviously curated them all.
Billy & I have been wanting to divide our garden to allow our chickens to roam in safety - away from potentially marauding Jack Russells/feline articles, and I'd seen lovely pictures on Pinterest of artfully created willow fences. I enquired around and found Wasseldine Willows who were prepared to come to us with the materials, and to teach us on site how to make our fence.
So finally last month Guy from Wasseldine turned up one sunny morning with a trailer full of willow and hazel stakes, and we got stuck in.
I was lucky; I was there on the Sunday. Hilary and Michele had to set up in pouring rain on the Saturday but by Sunday it was merely just dull, drizzly and windy. Still, we were in a good solid marquee so sheltered from the elements. Finding the actual festival site was quite tricky as it’s a 1,000 acre site with tracks going in all directions and not signposted for the likes of tradesmen! However, having gone down one incorrect muddy track I was sent in the right direction by a lady walking her dog.
The Festival was held in a large, wind-swept field but it had a very nice ‘feel’ and all the stallholders and visitors were charming.
The Fashion and Textile Museum: Swinging London: A Lifestyle revolution
Terence Conran and Mary Quant
I came of age in the sixties. This was my era so my visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street was more than a little tinged with nostalgia.
I had grown up under rationing so my family home was one of make and mend. Even our Christmas presents were recycled from ones my father had fashioned previously. My middle brother searched in vain for his old wooden steam engine. It had become a fire engine for our younger brother. I learned to sew at a very young age; so young in fact that I was accused of lying when I took some doll’s clothes in to show my needlework teacher.
At our March meeting, Michele Turner led a fascinating Shibori Resist Dyeing workshop. Shibori is the Japanese word for a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing.
The word comes from the verb root shiboru, "to wring, squeeze, press." The result is beautiful, unique fabrics that can be used for just about any purpose. Our workshop used stitches to create hidden areas of the fabric that dye cannot reach (people are generally familiar with Tie-Dyeing; tie-dyeing is a form of Shibori Resist Dyeing.)
We started by transferring a sampler template to some cotton fabric using water- or air-soluble pens. This allowed us to see for ourselves how different stitch shapes and combinations produce different effects.
We are a group who enjoy learning and improving our skills and are genuinely interested in sharing these skills with each other and any one who would like to join us.