Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rule Breaking Weaving @ The Devon Weavers Workshop

I've just returned from delivering another wonderful 3 day workshop at the Devon Weavers Workshop in Totnes.  Entitled 'Rule Breaking Weaving', participants were encouraged to consider the 'rules' of weaving, and then set about exploring ways of breaking them.  Discontinuous weft, distorted warp and weft, differential warp tensions, and loops, tufts and knots with unusual yarns were all experimented with.  We also spent some time on the final afternoon exploring finishing techniques such as devore, melting, burning and foiling to excellent effect.  The resulting samples were incredibly inspiring and give the participants much food for thought for future integration into their work. The weavers all deserve enormous praise for being incredibly bold in their experimentation, ESPECIALLY when I asked them to prepare warps in qualities new to them such as ultra fine lurex, monofilament, acrylic and polyester.  Wonderful things happen when you're outside of your comfort zone and happy to 'see what happens'.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Forthcoming weave workshops...

I have a couple of workshops in the pipeline for this coming year which might of interest to some of you.  Please follow the web links to book directly with the host organisations.
2nd-4th April 2016 RULE-BREAKING WEAVING, Devon Weavers Workshop, Totnes
A workshop that is designed to encourage participants to break the rules of weaving and push themselves outside their comfort zones. The workshop will begin with a discussion and exploration of what the definition of weaving is and what the 'rules' are. Participants will discuss what their preferred yarns, colour palettes and usual outcomes are. They will then be encouraged to do the opposite! As many samples as possible will be woven, many of which could then be further processed exploring finishing techniques such as devore, discharge dyeing, melting, pleating, burning etc. Weavers will be encouraged to explore ideas unencumbered by the restraints of functionality. Laura will bring a range of weft yarns for students to experiment with, detailed handouts, tools/materials to explore some finishing techniques, plus a portfolio of samples to look at.

19-20th March 2016 INTRODUCTION TO TABLE LOOM WEAVING, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff
Using prepared 4-shaft table looms, you will be introduced to the basics of table loom weaving.  On day 1, you will be taught basic weave structures, hand manipulation techniques and encouraged to experiment with a variety weft yarns in many fibres, textures and colours, in order to create a collection of technical and creative woven samples.  Detailed handouts will be provided.
On day 2, you can either undertake further sampling or alternatively weave a longer length of cloth to make a scarf, table runner or wall hanging.
Suitable for: complete novices with good manual dexterity
Please bring: a notebook and pen, fabric scissors and if desired, your own yarns.

£110 (10% reduction if you are a member or Friend of the Makers Guild in Wales)

21st May 2016 Weaving: Explore weft floats, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff
An exciting workshop exploring the design potential of various structures which encompass weft floats to create design detail.  Working on a pointed draft on at least 8 shafts, you will explore brocade pattern weaving, corduroy, distorted weft, and other ‘extra weft’ float structures. As well as weaving some brocade patterns given to you, you will be taught how to draft your own unique brocade motifs to weave. You will be encouraged to use unusual weft yarns to create untypical fabric samples.
What to bring: Participants are asked to bring a prepared handloom – you must have at least 8 shafts for this workshop.  Please prepare a balanced sett, pointed draft warp in a yarn of your choosing.  A plain coloured warp would preferable to stripes in order to fully appreciate the structures you’ll be trialling. The warp width and length are at your discretion, depending on how industrious you feel! Please also bring at least 2 shuttles, a notebook, point paper / graph paper, pencil, rubber, black felt pen, fabric scissors, dress makers pins, your warp yarns and your own weft yarns.
Laura will bring: detailed handouts, a range of weft yarns for you to experiment with and a portfolio of samples for you to look at.

Cost: £65 (10% reduction if you are a member or Friend of the Makers Guild in Wales)

4th June 2016, Taking plain weave one step further, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff
A workshop for rigid heddle weavers as well as shaft loom weavers to enjoy alike. Plain weave, the most basic and fundamental weave structure is often overlooked for its ‘first step’ simplicity. However, great things can be achieved through exploring hand manipulation techniques to take plain weave into the realms of the untypical and unexpected.
The workshop will begin with looking at a wide variety of ‘plain weave’ samples, discussing how they are made.  Participants will be given a range of hand manipulation techniques and processes to explore as per individual preference.  Techniques will include tufting, knotting, discontinuous weft, leno, soumac, loops etc. Consideration will also be given to colour mixing, beat and finishing possibilities.
What to bring: Participants will be asked to bring a loom prepared with a smooth fine or medium weight cotton, silk, viscose, polyester or similar warp (not wool and no slubs or knops).  Please choose a balanced sett. Could either be a single plain colour or a multiple colour stripy warp depending of your individual preference. Likewise, warp width and length is for you decide depending on how industrious you feel! Please also bring shuttles, a notebook and pen, fabric scissors, dress makers pins, your warp yarn and if desired, your own weft yarns.
Laura will bring: detailed handouts, a range of weft yarns for you to experiment with and a portfolio of samples for you to look at.

Cost: £65 (10% reduction if you are a member or Friend of the Makers Guild in Wales)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wandsworth 'rugs' and columns

Back in 2014, I was contacted by Walter Jack Studio, to develop some brightly coloured geometric designs based on weave structures to be used to create outdoor 'rugs' and pillars within the public space outside a new housing development in Wandsworth, London.  The Walter Jack concept was to create a contemporary ruin - traces of a previous building are alluded to and the 'rugs' suggestive of the domestic space.  Its also hoped that this scheme will encourage residents to picnic outside and for children to play in the space.  Needless to say, this project was right up my street, so I relished this challenge enormously. 

One of the 'rug' designs, produced using my weave software

I very much enjoyed using my weave software in an entirely different way to create design work, that would be scaled up and translated into hard materials.  The designs have been made from coloured resin bound recycled glass by SureSet, which were carefully inlayed by hand into a bespoke steel grid structure. 

The project has nearly been completed - more planting and finishing details to be added, but I really couldn't wait to share some of these pictures.

All photos (c) Walter Jack Studios, 2016

Huge thanks once again to Walter & Paul at Walter Jack Studio, for inviting me to contribute to this project; to SureSet for being translating my ideas impeccably; and to Plan Projects for their overall project management.