As a textile designer and handweaver I am best known for my beautifully soft lambswool throws, cushions and home textiles which are woven using complex block weave drafting techniques.
My designs are strongly influenced by Scandinavian weaving traditions, but my colour palette is strongly influenced by the stunning Cornish landscape surrounding my home and studio.
Each of my designs is a celebration of this love of colour and pattern and provides me with the opportunity to play with new weave structures, design elements, or colourways.
Every piece is carefully handwoven, hand fringed or stitched, and hand finished by me in my Cornish studio overlooking Porthleven and the Lizard. As a result every piece is a unique piece of slowly created art
Why I weave
My love of everything to do with textiles can be attributed to my mother’s side of our family. Here you will find Lancashire cotton mill managers, spinners, weavers, milliners and tailors during the 19th and early 20th centuries, silk weavers in pre-industrial Manchester, and yeoman sheep farmers and weavers before that. Read more…
My own textile journey started at the London costumiers, Bermans and Nathans, where I made costumes for film and theatre, before moving to Cornwall and designing my own clothing collection using handwoven and hand dyed cottons and silks from India.
In Cornwall I also taught myself to spin, weave and dye with natural plants. I still spin and dye, but my great passion is weaving. I undertook the 2-year weaving diploma at Handweavers Studio in North London in 2011 and this enabled me to start my own weaving practice. But I continue to research and studying weaving – particularly Scandinavian weaving and block weaving and drafting.
Why Scandinavian weaving
The history of weaving fascinates me. It goes back thousands of years and in terms of traditional patterns and weaves is enormously diverse. Scandinavia has a particularly rich heritage of weave structures, patterns and techniques partly due to its formidable trading links with all parts of the globe established during the Viking Age. It also has an enormous resonance with me in terms of its strong symmetry and blocks of bold geometric shapes, and the earthy colour palette found in many Scandinavian textiles.
My colour palette
My colour preferences are so old and are completely unchanged with time. My favourites as a small child are just the same today – the ochres, umbers and siennas burnt and raw; gorse yellow; malachite green, sea green and sea mist, muddy olive green; and vibrant indigo, gentian and Prussian blue.
They are the colours of the things I loved best as a child – the colour of Cornish sea and sand, of lichen on gnarled apple trees and granite dry stone walls, the ruddy colour of turned earth and clay, the bright blues of the summer sky and moody greys of winter storms.
The Design And Weaving Process
I weave my throws and cushions on a 32 shaft Louet Megado computer dobby loom and I design my textiles using specialist weaving software. In connecting computer to loom, the electronic dobby mechanism on the loom reads my design and selects the right combination of shafts to lift each time I manually change the shed to weave.
I still use all the traditional knowledge and skills of the handweaver – both my hands and both my feet are put to work, my hands throw the shuttle, beat the cloth and wind on the warp whilst my feet work the treadle to change the shed (lifting or lowering the threaded heddles on the shafts to create the pattern).
All my designs use the same warp threading and are part of an ongoing project called One Warp, Infinite Designs exploring how many unique and original designs I can develop using the same warp threading. Being able to use the same warp threading means I can quickly respond to custom orders no matter what design I may currently be working on.
It also provided me with the wonderful opportunity to share and teach this method in Denmark when I was invited to the Festival of Weaving in West Zealand.
About The Wool I Use
The yarn I use for all my throws and cushions is a shetland type lambswool sourced from two British spinning companies, one in Scotland and one in England. The wool comes mostly from Australia and New Zealand, following a centuries old practise of British spinning mills. It is top grade supersoft lambswool spun in fabulously subtle and heathery blends of colours. I love the colours because they really appeal to my own aesthetic – soft and natural colours that are gentle on the eye.
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