Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I did on my summer holiday

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners took a break from our regular meetings but never the less we have been a busy group.  The studio has been buzzing with various activities.  We finished painting warps then set up our guild looms for scarves and rugs and tea towels.  Expect to see some of these items at our fall show and sale in November.  I have included a small example of the many different scarves showing the painted warps.

Over the summer we attended a number of local events.  The first of these was the Art in Action display in Qualicum Beach.  This is an annual event organized by The Old School House Gallery.  It showcases the wide variety of local painters and artisans that practice in our area.

Next we set up our tents at the 100th Anniversary Celebration for the Train Station that we call home.  There is a photo of the train station beside this post.  Our guild occupies the second floor of the train station.  It houses our studio and resource centre.  We also use the space for small meetings and working groups.  The first floor is an electronic arts media centre.

Our display was a sheep to shawl demonstration starting with how raw fleece was processed, spun and finally woven.  We had a particularly dirty fleece to show the slow process of picking and carding the fleece using a drum carder.  The fleece was donated by a local farmer.
  We used the guild's portable Leclerc Compact treadle loom to weave a shawl that will be an item in the silent auction at our sale, Elegant Threads.  We demonstrated both weaving and unpicking the weaving to correct mistakes while answering numerous questions.  You could say we demonstrated why weaving is best done in a quiet place.
As usual we attracted a group of very young weavers who tried their hand at working our demonstration loom.  The little two harness Leclerc loom is great for demonstrations as it is very simple to operate and easily demonstrates the principles of weaving.  It seems to be a magnet for little boys.  The little weavers were so enthusiastic they finished off the warp.

The final event in our summer program was a display at the Lighthouse Country's Fall Fair.

There are a small number of fall fairs in our area that still have judged exhibits including weaving and spinning categories.  Some of our members have earned ribbons this year and hopefully more will be encouraged to enter these competitions and keep the weaving/spinning categories alive.  Congratulations to Mabel and David. (The pumpkin was not entered in the weaving category It was just a lovely picture that might inspire a weaving.)
Our exhibit included demonstrations and a range of item including felted puppets, baskets, tapestry, hand spun yarn and finished woven goods.

  We had an impressive display of scarves.  It is interesting to see all the different interpretations of a simple item like a scarf.  The photo shows a small selection of the scarves that were on display.  Some are made of silk, others are cotton or wool, a rayon yarn or synthetic.  Some are long and narrow and meant to be wrapped around the neck while others are wide and flat, meant to be tucked inside a coat.  Some are as decorative as any jewel while others are practical protection from the cold.

Once again our little demonstration loom was in action.  A number of potential new weavers "made cloth".  Lucky for us the loom is simple to warp.

 This time we have a brother and sister team trying their hand at being weavers.

 Audrie demonstrated tapestry techniques using her copper pipe tapestry loom and managed to concentrate at the same time.
That's all for now folks but look for news about our upcoming exhibition, "Keep Me Warm" at The Old School House Gallery in down town Qualicum Beach.  It takes place October 27 to November 17.  Right now we are busy finishing our pieces for the show.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Flopsy and her friend Mopsy (hidden behind the curry bush) are suggesting that gardening time will soon be competing with studio time.  Until then we are having fun painting warps, learning to spin and weaving scarves at our guild studio in the Train Station in Qualicum Beach.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Train Station and soon we will be busy planning our contribution to the celebration.  The celebration will take place on August 23rd.  If you are in our area come and join the celebration.  More information will be posted as the date draws near.

At our monthly meeting we were treated to a presentation by the "colour study group".  The group began by exploring basic colour theory then went on to consider designing with colour.  Recently members of the group have been using woven colour gamps to illustrate how threads crossing in different weave structures will alter the perception of colour.  After their presentation they challenged the audience to do some yarn wraps to explore colour combinations.

Cathy's painted scarf in bamboo yarn

Over the past couple of months guild members have been learning how to "paint" a warp with dye.  Many versions of painted scarves have appeared at monthly show and tell sessions.  They have been so popular that we set up one of the guild looms with a painted warp.

These two pieces were woven from the same warp by different weavers.  The warp consisted of mixed cellulose based fibres that work well with fibre-reactive dyes.  The bamboo scarf pictured above came from a different warp but the same dyes were used.

The red and the blue scarves were also woven on a painted warp.  The dye process is messy and requires a lot of preparation so it makes sense to dye several warps at a time.  The problem is we may not have a detailed plan for that warp so we need to improvise when the plan and the materials don't match.  In the case of these two scarves the clever weavers used solid stripes to get the required width and add a design feature.

 While scarves have been very popular some members have been exploring new areas.  We were treated to an example of "bead leno" a technique that uses beads to twist yarns during the weaving process so that an open but secure cloth is created.  The example shows how various weft materials alter the look and texture of the cloth.  Some areas are almost transparent.

And finally we have a lovely reminder of Christmas in this hand towel with the border of trees.  I think they must be the Douglas Fir trees that are so common in our area.