Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tea Towels

One of the most satisfying moments when weaving is watching the first few inches of cloth appear before you as you sit at the loom throwing the shuttle back and forth.  You can visualize the pattern as you make the warp and dress the loom but there is a sense of anticipation as the pattern starts to form pick by pick. Sometimes the result is a surprise.  The colours may not be exactly what you expected or the texture may add something special that you didn't foresee.  Sometimes you just want to sing out loud when everything falls in to place and you know you have created something beautiful.
Weavers have to do a lot of physical and mental work to get that moment of satisfaction.  Designing a piece, making the warp and dressing the loom can take more effort and time than the actual weaving. It can be very frustrating if you are a novice and lack experience with setting up a loom.  That is where group projects can help.

Our guild is fortunate to have a permanent studio that houses our guild looms.  Earlier this year we decided to do a series of tea towel projects on the guild looms.  The projects were intended to give some newer weavers experience with treadle looms and weaving simple patterns.  For novice weavers this project was also an opportunity to work on even beating and control of edges.

More experienced members in the group created the warps, dressed the loom and acted as mentors.  That meant the weavers could concentrated on the actual weaving.  Having a mentor on hand to deal with loom issues or help people get started was very important to the success of the projects.
The cost of the warp was shared.  Each person was responsible for their own weft.  The results could be quite different depending on how the individual saw the project.  The white striped towel was done on the same warp as the green towel in the first photo.

 The tea towel projects were very popular with the group.  One person commented that her technique improved after doing the project.  It was rewarding to see people gain confidence and be inspired to do more on their own.

A group of tea towel enthusiasts brought their works to our pot luck lunch but we did not make them dry the dishes this time.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fun in the Sun

Family Days is a local event that takes place annually towards the end of May.  It is the first of many outdoor events that bring together various community groups.  It is an opportunity for groups to tell their story to the general public and perhaps spark an interest or attract a new member.  Since we are always keen to tell our story our guild set up a booth with samples, looms and spinning wheels.  As usual we attracted a group of children who were keen to try their hand at the wheels and the looms.

The boy in this picture might be a bit young to recruit as a new guild member just yet.  Who knows, maybe this encounter with a weaver and a loom has sparked a life long interest in fibre arts.  Will he design the next generation of looms or will his work be featured in art galleries across the globe?
The art of spinning also attracted its share of potential fibre artists.  The young lady with the lovely stripped leggings is trying her hand at creating wool yarn on a portable wheel.  Will she become a sheep farmer, or will she become a knitter famous for her stripped socks and garments?  Whatever she does it will no doubt be colourful.

demo in progress
As usual our booth was busy, attracting older children and adults as well.  Occasionally during a lull in the traffic there was time for spinning and contemplating.  But, most of the time we were kept busy explaining, demonstrating, visiting and enjoying the energy of the crowds that came to see our display
time for relaxing
serious weaving going on
inkle weaving
Hopefully our audience came away from our booth with a better appreciation of how fibre is transformed into yarn and how yarn is transformed into cloth.

that's wool?

If you missed us at Family Days and want to try your hand at the loom or spinning wheel then look for us at the ART IN ACTION event in down town Qualicum Beach on July 26th.