Monday, 13 October 2014

Collaborating with Sheep of Steel . . .

Earlier this year I was delighted to be contacted by Irem Arig, owner of Sheep of Steel, to see if I would be interested in making some collaborative scarves with her. Irem spins the most fantastic yarns and has an amazing sense of colour, so there was an proposition I couldn't possibly refuse!

After design meetings with Irem I set up a large sampling warp ready to test out all our ideas and possible colour combinations.  By the time I'd finished all the commission pieces in July we were ready to pick our favourites and get weaving the full size sample scarves.

But picking just 4 designs for our first batch of scarves was no easy task! We had ideas for hundreds so we really had to rein ourselves in.

So without further ado I would like to introduce to the chosen 4, Holoholo, Shamaye, Kwele and Ekoi.  And where do those names come from you may ask, well honing in on our African inspiration we picked the names of African tribes.  The scarves are all handwoven in small batches by myself.

With our first sale heading across the pond to a customer in New York if you'd like get your hands on one for yourself you can order your very own handwoven beauty via either Irem's or my own online shop for £200.  If you'd like to have a chance to try one on, Irem will be showing the collection at Handmade in Britain 2014 from the 14th - 16th of November at Chelsea Old Town Hall.  Likewise if you're in the Shrewsbury area you're welcome to pop by my studio for a peek!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thank you Interns 2014!

I'd just like to say a massive thank you for all the hard work of this years summer interns. Sophie, Emma, Laurence, Helen and the two Alice's, I could never have got through the summer production run without you guys! Thank you for winding, reeding, threading, knotting and sewing. You were all fabulous! H x

Monday, 10 March 2014

Commission weaving for Noemi Niederhauser . . .

I started 2014 with a commission piece for Noemi Niederhauser, a Swiss artist currently completing a Masters at Central St Martins. Noemi contacted me because she is trying to reintegrate some textiles from the 1940's and wanted to know if I could weave a sample she had sourced in an old pattern book.  I asked Noemi what her project was about:

My practice is concerned with transcribing and reassembling cultural artefacts using discourses of ethnography and practices of the archive, to make surprising and fascinating new objects. In doing so I try to challenges historical, ethnographic and scientific narratives and  proposes new systems of exchange and modes of interpretation. For example, in my current project I am using an inherited  early twentieth century catalogue of fabric samples  and hand drawn patterns, originally the basis for the fabric design. I am using these as a basis for transcription, to make new, challenging sculptural objects in a variety of media- which themselves propose a micro order of relational objects.

An attempt to rethink conventional approaches to assemble and recount history and to propose a historiographic/ethnographical model that acknowledge doubt, subjectivity and reduction as inevitable factors when making sense of elements.

part of 'Sea melt into the sky melt into the sea melt into the land' by Noemi Niederhauser

Original fabric in pattern book.

The big challenge for me though was I'd have to do all the calculations for the warp without seeing the original piece of fabric.  This super fine cloth became one of the greatest challenges I have ever undertaken, with 100 ends per inch and being 40 inches wide, it really was epic.  Needless to say the process was extremely time consuming with 20 warp bundles to make and a total of 4000 ends to be threaded, reeded and tied on.  Just setting up the warp took me the equivalent of a whole week.

warp bundles.
fabric being woven on the loom.
myself with the finished piece of fabric.
Many hours of weaving later and the beautifully delicate fabric was done.  You can see the full photographic journey of the piece from fibre to fabric on my facebook page. Now I look forward to seeing what Noemi will do with it.  Her work will be on show at Central Saint Martins in May.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014 . . .

Oh my what a busy 6 months it has been (hence the long break from blogging). Since I started the summer production run back in July I don't feel like I have stopped! I have been working the two looms in rotation, using 'Levi' to produce the Regal scarves and 'Lawrence' for the Festival collection. Its been a great system which has allowed me to weave on one loom while the other has been set up by one of the amazing interns I have had through this year. And my what a fantastic help they all were, I couldn't have done it without them, so special thanks must be awarded to Nav, Victoria, Katie, Alice and Charlotte (especially Charlotte who put up with me for 10 whole weeks!).

Charlotte knotting on a warp

With three shows this Autumn, a whole host of new stockists, plus my regulars and a pop-up shop at Somerset House I needed to weave a lot of scarves! At my final count just before Christmas it totalled 153 woven this year. Nothing like being ambitious!

My stand at Lustre, Nottingham (Nov 2013)

So after such an extensive weaving schedule I've let myself have a well deserved break for Christmas and New Year. Now I'm looking to the year ahead.  Part of what has kept me so busy lately was that I was asked by Stroud International Textiles to curate a seminar which will be taking place in May. The seminar is titled LOOM and will feature some fantastic speakers (even if I do say so myself!). Tickets aren't available just yet so I will be posting more details of this later.

And then my real big news is I've decided to move to Bristol. I'll be setting up a studio with one of my best friends who is also a weaver, all very exciting but means there is lots of planning to be done. This will be happening around June/July so  if anyone would like any commission weaving now is the time to get in touch. So thank you for your continued support over the last year and if you're looking for a bargain there are still a couple of days left to take advantage of my Winter SALE!  Happy New Year everyone!