I haven't made a post in this space for a long time and I doubt I'll be returning to any kind of regular posting schedule but I wanted a space to share some photos and links about weaving, something I've taken up recently. I mostly wanted to share some photos of things I've been working on and links to resources that I've found useful, if only for my own future use.
I decided to teach myself to weave because I wanted to make my sister in law a nice house warming gift. I'd never seen anyone weave before and had no idea what it entailed so I started by watching some videos - I took Rachel Denbow's Skillshare class Weave Your First Woven Wall Hanging and also watched Annabel Wrigley's Weaving For Beginners Creativebug videos on Youtube. I recently borrowed Rachel's book DIY Woven Art from my local library - while it's a largely a beginner's guide (and I think I've graduated just past that stage), it has some really nice projects and easy to follow technique guides.
I assumed I'd make my own loom using an old wooden canvas frame with the canvas removed and attach tiny nails, but decided this was going to be a hobby I could justify spending a little extra on and I bought this medium sized loom from Spotlight (it's 39cm x 26cm).
Most of the yarn I've used has come from opshops and a couple of splurges at Spotlight - it's fun seeing the variety at opshops, I've found some really unique yarn there. My favourites are usually natural fibres but I don't mind an acrylic mix. I find that synthetic fibres don't look or feel as nice and can look too shiny. I love laying out a selection of balls or skeins of yarn and choosing colours for a project.
I have admired a number of fibre artists on Instagram - such incredible work! Here are some of my favourites.
Learning new techniques as I go has been really fun - The Weaving Loom has a great collection of technique tutorials as does Loom & Spindle. I love rya knots and soumak stitches and have recently tried my hand at a double warping my loom. I found it surprisingly challenging to work on - I kept missing warp threads and wouldn't notice then I'd have to undo some of my weft threads to fix the mishaps. I'd really like to try a shag weave sometime and use different coloured warp.
At the time of writing this post, I've made 8 weavings so far. I finished up the last one a few days before Christmas for a friend. I've given all 9 weavings away, mostly as Christmas gifts. I've got one more to make for a friend and then I might make a few to sell. I've got a long to-do list before I start my Masters of Teaching in late Feb, and I'd like to fit in making as many weavings as possible before I become very time poor. Here are some photos of them - they're in the order that I made them, so hopefully it looks like I was improving!
It's quite nice putting my loom on my lap and watching TV while I weave (not great for posture though). I've been watching a lot of The Crown Season 2 while I weave lately. I should really make myself some kind of stand so that I'm not constantly hunched over.
I feel as though I'm just about outgrowing the medium sized loom and would love to try my hand at making a larger sized loom for bigger projects. Fall For DIY's Giant Loom post seems like a good place to start. I recently unearthed the electric jigsaw my neighbour gave me several months ago and replaced the blades for a small project and would love a reason to use it again (<3 power tools). If I attempt making one I'll post how I went about it (if it's a total failure I might not post about it, ha).
I'd also love to try making a latch hook wall hanging. My mother in law gave us an enormous latch hook that she made before she got married (30-something years ago) and had in storage (see below + my dog and new bed). A little ambitious for my tastes.
The 'tools' I use other than my purchased wooden loom are just a large metal wool needle, a shed stick that came with my loom (a stick that is placed over and under the warp threads to separate them to make it easier to weave over/under) and a pair of scissors - simple! My loom came with a heddle bar, which I've not used and have since misplaced. I don't think weaving tools have to be fancy to get a nice result, howeverI thought I'd post a few of my weaving wish-list items here as well.
I'd also love a proper pompom maker as the ones I make with a piece of cardboard are just never as perfect as ones made with a proper maker.
Here are a couple of books I'd love to have a browse through for inspiration.
I'll finish up with some yarn I like from my stash. Rachel Denbow refers to them as 'yarnicorns' - the balls/skeins you hold onto for just the right project.
Here are some fake womens magazine covers I made for a project that is on hold. I thought I may as well share them. I've got more ideas for a few more. Reading the covers of actual magazines is basically inspiration enough - ha!
I haven't been around these parts in a while so I thought I'd share some little drawings I've been doing lately.
I am oddly passionate about what you should and shouldn't feed ducks. Theo really likes feeding them, so I started looking into what was good to feed them and we began taking along a bag of oats each time we went to the park - only about a dollar for a bag. Often we'd arrive just after somebody with a big bag of homebrand white bread had been there, so the ducks were lethargic and not interested in our nice oats and the pond was full of waterlogged bread. I guess people go along to feed the ducks primarily because it's a nice caring ritual and they care about the ducks, so I wanted to spread some small amount of awareness about what some nice foods to feed them are.
The second image Theo's dad asked me to draw months ago and I finally got around to it. Mmmm, platypus custard.
I thought I'd take a handful of iPhone shots while I was in my studio today (the photos of me were taken last week by Alice Bennett). I didn't make much today, much procrastinating was performed instead, but I think it's important to give yourself a bit of room to move. Tomorrow I will research, write and create!
I've recently started my Honours degree in Contemporary Arts. I'm in the midst of writing my project proposal, so ideas are swirling, but at this point I've identified my main subject matter as being a study of the supermarket and I'd like to create a suite of work that illustrates the goings-on of the supermarket - the 'theatre of life' if you will. I've been a 'checkout girl' for 5 years at the same supermarket and I supervise the service area two nights per week. Since I started I've written down observations and now I can't stop doing it. So, why not do an art project about that?
I'm looking forward to working with some of the material I've gathered over the past few years - conversations had with customers, scrawled on the back of receipts, observations of products, staff and the store itself and my collection hundreds of shopping lists. The main themes of my work will revolve around art of the everyday/the quotidian/the theatre of life/the poetics of noticing/the accidentally miraculous with some subtle allusions to consumerism. I hope that makes more sense to you than it does in my head! Ha. I'd like to look at the supermarket in an anthropological, sociological and ethnographic way and create illustrations based on these observations.
My desk! For making things upon. Here is my open notebook - I am gluing in inspiration.
Here is my collection of shopping lists, gathered over the past 5 years (with some help from the door greeter who used to work with me and shared my enthusiasm for collecting them). Found abandoned in baskets, in trolleys, left on or kicked under shelves, discarded onto the floor. I have been known to unashamedly pick one out of the bin if I see it on the top. I think a lot about how the lists are relics of momentary importance, immediately discarded once the lists' items have been collected. The author cares not for the fate of the shopping list once it has been put to use. They are tiny windows into the every day lives of strangers and their individual supermarket rituals.
I'm not sure that I'll do anything in particular with the shopping lists, rather just have them displayed en masse. I did a project a few years ago illustrating the lists via woodcuts, but I don't think I need to mediate people's interactions with them - I think they speak for themselves. They contain beautiful nuances - handwriting (large and messy, tiny and neat, scrawled in haste, written carefully in script, etc.), paper choice (post-it note, back of an envelope, scrap paper, lined notebook pages torn from book, etc.), crossings out (violent scratches through words, ticks next to items), scrunching or ripping up (I've pieced a few back together), creative misspellings (and sometimes correcting of misspellings), question marks (perhaps asking "Can I afford this item?" or "Do I need this item?" or "Will the store have this item?"), collections of items (for a specific recipe, for a particular family member, from particular shops, written in chronological order of the aisles one goes up and down through the store, etc), groupings of needs vs wants (Eggs, milk and bread vs chocolate, biscuits and ice cream). The authors of the lists unwittingly convey details about themselves. They invoke you ask questions about the authors.
Back in the 3rd year of my degree, my studio also contained this arm chair and friends would pass by and come and sit in it. My friend Brenda used it to breastfeed her daughter, other friends would bring in their takeaway coffees and chat and sometimes C would bring in baby Theo and we'd sit him there. I like that it invited people in - it was a happy distraction. The blanket and crocheted cushion were thrifted and the ice cream truck pillow was a gift from Megan when Theo was born.
I also have a cute little locker with a kettle, cups and a container (somewhat) full of biscuits. I've been drinking lots of Rooibos tea and eating Pfeffernusse.
Some of my favourite art books. My eyes are always peeled for more beautiful art books. Do you have any recommendations?
It's all in the details.
Some of my materials. I like most to use gouache paint and a tiny brush, a HB pencil and an eraser and lovely Pentel 'Touch' pens I get from Officeworks which are good for lettering.
Some miscellany. A bills and letters sorter just for fun. Beautiful old playing card designs. One of Theo's drawings. Some photos. A painting I began and didn't finish.
I'm sure this space will be ever evolving once I get my head into gear and begin making work! Onto that!