I first discovered weaving on a loom when studying at Southwark College in the mid 1980s. The tactile nature of the craft and the use of threads of all colours was an instant attraction to me because as the child of a dressmaker, I grew up sewing, knitting and buried in fabrics and threads. I bought a table loom not knowing it was the start of a life-long love of creating woven textiles. Studying for my degree in Embroidery Textiles at Goldsmiths College (sadly the course closed in 2009), I explored woven textiles around the world. The technique of Ikat weaving fascinated me. It is a technique of adding colour and pattern to the warp before weaving and in some places even the weft thread is also prepared in the same manner by a tie-dye process. I used this technique in my own work at university and also a paste resist process where the thread is dyed, then a paste applied. When the threads are steamed at a night temperature, the paste removes the dye from the covered areas.
Here are some photographs of two woven pieces from my final show. The black and white panel is created using resist paste. The black, white and red panel is traditionally tied and dyed Ikat process:
After leaving university, I purchased a 1m square floor loom which I used only once. it remained boxed up due to lack of space. For over 15 years the loom gathered dust until i moved to live in Amsterdam. I now have space and time to return to weaving.
I am luckily to find myself living very near to Het Gildelab. I approached them with my interest in textiles and soon found myself invited to give weaving workshops to some of their participants. None of the participants had any pref ious experience of weaving, so starting with building a warp to make a backstrap loom, was pushing them into the deep-end! Luckily they all survived, smiling and were happy to rise to the challenge 🙂
I prepared the warps for a public weaving activity at the De Hallen event on weekend of 25th September, where the volunteers I trained in the workshops, helped members of the public learn how to weave using the backstrap looms I made. Images from this event can been seen on the Het Gildelab Instagram page.
I will be demonstrating more weaving techniques at the Het Gildelab opening evening on Friday 9th october 5.30pm to 7.30pm CEST.