A new year

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday time, and a peaceful new year. I like to take a little time at the beginning of each year to think about how the year was, and what I want the next year to look like.

As a weaver, I want to make more things – new drafts, new colours, new fibres. I’m going to try to keep the joy right up front with whatever I’m making – it makes me happier, more creative, and I like to think that each  piece might just be infused with  a little bit of that creative passion.

I want to do some traveling, and see what others are weaving. I’d like to make my life and practice more local, more sustainable, deeper. I’d like to collaborate with other makers, maybe. I want to go places, creatively, that I can’t even imagine right now.

And that’s the fun of it, right? I hope for all of you a creative and happy new year, in which we all stretch a little bit and see what happens.

What are your plans for 2018?

Smooth as silk

I’ve been spending some time lately trying to make my work processes more efficient. It’s really bearing fruit, too.

Today I warped my loom (meaning I got all the fibre on the beam and rolled up). It can be tricky sometimes – if you are, like I was today, using delicate fibre, or if you are trying to keep the tension  regular throughout and the dog is barking, something snags, the phone rings… or you all of a sudden find that you really need three hands….

I’ve been dressing my looms for years now, but it’s still tricky to me, every time. Sometimes my husband helps, sometimes I just do it myself and muddle through. Weavers are a clever bunch – we use weights, water bottles, hang weights from strings. We use trapezes, friends, dowels, etc. We’re always looking for an easier way to wind on.

Today, though?

I used this lovely tool made by my talented friend Lee Yorke, who made it after  seeing  other tensioning devices online. It’s custom fit to my loom, and even has a spot for me to hang a roll of paper that will magically roll between the layers of warp. It’s quite something.

Here it is, in action. It seriously hastened the process, and was a pleasure to use. I just had to share because I didn’t swear once during the entire process. A miracle!  (Please note, the noise is from traffic outside my window, not the tensioner.)

This warp, by the way, will be jewel-toned mohair shawls, eventually.

Looking for last minute gifts?

Christmas is fast approaching. I have a few pieces still available.

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img_3255Stole, pink/orange/red. A gorgeous handspun wool. 26″ x 70″
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Understated generously sized scarf, 12″ x 78″. Very pretty tweedy grays with subtle panache – greens, purples, blues. Cotton warp, Merino weft. $100

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img_3259One of my favorites. Large scarf, “peacock colors” of teal, purple, green. Who can resist? Chunky nubby Blue Faced Leicester wool, with merino, silk and bamboo warp. $100img_3260

 

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Sea and sky, with some bottle green beach glass thrown in. Wide and slinky scarf, 12.5″ x 80″ all in a 70/30 mix of superwash merino and tencel. It’s really beautiful. $140

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Woolgathering

IMG_1291I know I’m probably not the first fibre artist blogger to use the term. I know it’s a bit…obvious, but it’s also exactly what I’ve been doing.

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In the time since my last post I attended the Expo, went to Belgium, Scotland, and Ireland, redesigned my studio, had a lovely bunch of visitors,  and got a (very time-consuming) puppy. It has turned into a bit of an extended hiatus for Berwick Weaving Co., but that’s the beauty of working at your own pace, by your own rules, right?

With the beginning of August, though,  work will soon begin again. I feel a strong urge to get my hands in the wool again, to design and work with colors, to have those stretches of real peace when working with the rhythm of the loom. There’s a quickening, when I think of the work I’m going to really get my hands into this Fall.

All of that reverie, that woolgathering, is where creativity comes from. Without it, I’d be a machine just cranking out woven goods.

Here then, is a gallery of those things that have provoked my dreamy imaginings for the past few months.  Everywhere, there’s a feeling or a colour, something to translate into woven work.

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Off to the Expo!

2016 is racing along – it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-April.

expo-previewRight now, I’m racing to create some inventory so that I have something to show at the Saltscapes Expo this weekend. In case you don’t know about the Expo, it is the “biggest consumer show east of Montreal, celebrating all things Atlantic Canadian” and with nearly 500 exhibitors from across the region, you should plan to come for the day. I’ve been as a consumer and enjoyed it heartily (wear comfy shoes!).

This year, I’m excited to tell you that Berwick Weaving Co. is joining a group of amazing Atlantic Canadian artisans in Saltscapes’ “Crafter’s Village”. I’ll be demonstrating weaving, and you can come see my loom(s) and pick up something pretty or commission something just the way you want it.

I am really looking forward to meeting people and showing them what I love to do. I’ll be there all three days, so look for me and my looms. Please drop by and say hi.

Some of the work I’m bringing to the expo:

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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.

Today, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for all of us, regardless of gender, to channel a little bit of what this woman had.

This is Gunta Stölzl, the only female Bauhaus master, founder of the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop, WWI Red Cross Nurse, mentor to Anni Albers and countless female artists of her generation, listed, “degenerate artist” by the Nazis for her political views, uncompromising advocate for textile arts.

(for more, go to this site which is where I got this photo)

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New Additions

Berwick Weaving Co. hasn’t been idle of late. Here is some of the work that has come out of the workroom. I’m still in love with plainweave – that most simple of over-under weaving patterns there is. The fibre is allowed to speak, the colors and textures and “hand” all give me such pleasure.  I’ve been working with a new loom – a 32″ rigid heddle from Ashford; a happy loom that is quick to dress, and is portable enough to move around my workroom.

This one, I kept for myself (sometimes you just have to).
This is a stole, 28″x 40″. Bamboo and merino warp, “Slubby mix” (BFL/merino).

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Next there is “The Memento” stole. The colors are moody and mysterious, like the elegantly written book that inspired it. Christy Ann Conlin‘s new book isn’t out until April, but you can pre-order it now. For the moment, you can look at the gorgeous cover art  painted by  Marie Cameron. The book is a haunting Atlantic gothic tale – honest and elegiac, mysterious, funny, and true.  It’s an astonishing work of art.

The book has inspired me (I got to read an advance copy) to explore more of the simple and not-so-simple “art” that goes hand in hand with “craft”.  It has also shown me – anew – the gorgeous and sometimes tough beauty of my chosen home. The Bay of Fundy ain’t for sissies, but it’s rich with history and there is a deep legacy of art, history, loss, and memory attached to it. Go order that book.

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Further, I was tasked with making a blanket for wee Renaud. This is his little  wooden stool:

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And this was my interpretation of said stool:

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And then, during some of the bleakest dull days of January… a request for Spring: this is a shawl, with lots of drape – mulberry silk and cotton.  It was a distinct pleasure to weave this particular piece.  This is a sister shawl to the “Patricia” a red and black number I wove late last year, a sparkly detail of which you can see below.

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As January draws to a close, I have other commissions that I’m working on, and then will be on a bit of a hiatus until mid-March.

 

Happy New Year

Wishing you all the best for 2016.

NYE 2016

Berwick Weaving Co. has had its 1st birthday recently, and I’m happy to say that 2016 is looking to be a fruitful and creative 2nd year.

Many thanks for all of your support interest in what I do here in my little Nova Scotia workroom.

The “Patricia” Shawl

A classic colour combination, with a bit of sassy bling for the holiday time.  This shawl is 74” x 30” and made of luscious merino woven onto a merino/cotton warp.

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