October 2014 was spent in European travels. The impetus for the trip was the invitation to present information on sprang at the Early Textile Study Group conference in London. The topic for this year’s conference was Peter Collingwood. Dagmar Drinkler agreed to present her research on the subject of ‘tight fitting clothing in antiquity’, and I contributed my experience making leggings.
I did take the time to tour around London, spent a day on a double-decker bus.
While in the UK, I stopped in to visit friends. First up was Oli and Erica of Weavolution. They hosted me while I taught a finger weaving class to the Cambridge Weavers.
Next I visited my friends Elaine and Andy. They toured me through Yorkshire, including a trip to Chatsworth House, an amazing place.
Elaine and I talked sprang, and the probability that ancient Persians and Celts work sprang clothing.
Back in London, I stopped in at Alexandra Palace for the Knit and Stitch show, on Oct 9, minding a booth for The Braid Society, and gave a class on finger weaving: Weave a scarf on the train.
After the Early Textile Society conference in London, I travelled to Reading. There I was able to have a sneak preview of an amazing collection of braided pieces in the Reading Library, the Braid Society’s Biennial Exhibition.
Near Reading is the town of Aldebourne where individuals interested in diverse braiding techniques meet regularly in the local town hall. Thanks to Sally, and to my hostess Rosie, I taught another workshop there, this time finger weaving (last time was sprang).
On to the mainland of Europe. Thanks to Frieda who met me at the train station in Antwerp, Belgium. I taught classes in the Belgian town of Sint-Job-in-‘t-Goor.
This was an ‘advanced finger weaving class’, the follow-up to a previous session. Participants explored some of the variety of patterns possible.
The following day was a sprang class. Pauline brought a sprang cap that she had made after the sprang class last year.
By then it was time for a rest. My friend Karin took me home. I sat in her backyard and worked on other sprang projects.
Accepting an invitation to visit a very talented bobbin-lace weaver (this sister of a Winnipeg friend) I travelled to Braunschweig. Between discussions on the subject of bobbin-lace, finger weaving and sprang, we toured through downtown Braunschweig, and made a visit to the top of the newly rebuilt ‘Schloss’ and the Quadriega.
On to the Netherlands. Braid Society member and friend, Ria toured me around the Netherlands.
We had been invited to the island of Terschelling.
Resident of Terschelling, Marianne, is a very talented textile artist. She also has an amazing collection of textiles. She introduced us to the neighbourhood chickens.
While on Terschelling, I visited the local yarn store, Tante Lies. Come to find out, I’d been volunteered to give a talk on the subject of sprang at the Tante Lies yarn store. I brought along a frame, and people were invited to give it a try.
While in the Netherlands I was privileged with a visit to another Ria.
On Nov 1, I taught a sprang class in The Hague at the textile studio known as DeSpinners. Thanks to Dineke and Katia, this was a follow-up to a finger weaving class I taught last year.
What a pleasure to spread the good word about these amazing techniques to individuals interested in learning.
On to the final destination, Lyon, France.
The Greco-Roman museum is built into the Fourviere hillside, right beside the remains of two Roman amphitheatres. If you’re in Lyon, you really should stop in, it’s a ‘must see’.
The theme of the month at the Fourviere Gallo-Roman Museum in Lyon was textiles. I had been invited to give a lecture on the subject of sprang bonnets. This is the reason I’d been working on that sprang turban. Wednesday I presented a workshop for children (and their parents, grandparents) on diverse braiding techniques. Thursday I presented my lecture and workshop on the subject of sprang. I brought along several replica sprang bonnets that I have made. Sprang frames were available and seven women took the opportunity to explore the basic sprang technique.
The Gallo-Roman museum had a lovely little sprang bonnet, on loan from the Textile museum.
Back at home, I’m now trying to map out the pattern.
My flight to Belgium stopped over in Montreal. They were having a snowstorm, and I worried that the plane would not be able to take off. Not to worry, we arrived on time in Brussels.
I taught two sprang workshops in Sint-Job-in-‘t-Goor. Some of the participants had taken my finger weaving workshop last fall. They brought items they had made to show me.
I led two sprang workshops.
A big thank you to Ina Verhulst for organising these workshops.
I also met with the textile group called Metamorphose. They explored finger weaving.
Winter is getting to be rather long here in Winnipeg. The snow is up to my waist. It’s been difficult to keep up with the shovelling, and then the snowplows pass by and completely block off access to the street.
Yes, it’s time to go South. Weather in New Mexico was very mild by Manitoba standards.
Luckily I had been invited to teach at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center in New Mexico. The group there was keen, and learned fast. We covered flat warps as well as circular warps. Glenna Dean of Abiquiu Dye Studios helped me special dye some yarn for multi-colored circular warps, and participants learned how to make some fancy patterns.
Then on to Albuquerque and the Las Aranas Weavers and Spinners. I gave my powerpoint talk on sprang to the guild meeting, and then presented three days of workshop on sprang.
It must be something in the New Mexico water. Everyone did well. Some even started exploring ‘S’ and ‘Z’ patterns, interlacing and intertwining.
Many thanks to the folks at Village Wool (fiber addiction specialists), to Chris Allen and Ruth Ronan and Extra special thanks to Glenna Dean.
Back in Lyon, staying with my friend, I tried to keep up with my daily walk. There are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre near her house.
In my spare time I’ve been working on writing out patterns for some of the hundreds of sprang lace motifs that I saw in Brussels.
I taught a finger weaving class in TheHague.
My host in TheHague pointed out some flocks of birds, all bright green. It seems that escapee parakeets have adopted certain parks in TheHague as home.
Very near Antwerp is the village of Sint-Job-In-‘t-Goor. That’s where I held a class in finger weaving recently.
The organiser provided these wooden stands, clamped to the table top to hold the samples. The students were eager, and explored diverse motifs.
At the end of the day some of the students had samples of both lightning and chevron patterns.
And the chevron, a sample made by a participant that day:
The skill of people who worked sprang in earlier times never ceases to amaze me. One detail that Anne Kwaspen and I discussed was the manner in which interlinking is mixed with twining. One would think that the twining threads, travelling a longer distance would require a longer thread. How can this be possible in sprang? The problem has been turning around in my head. At length, I have tried a sample for myself. It seems that if I use different materials, one elastic and one non-elastic, and found it worked for me in this sample.
White silk interlinking and elastic lavender wool twining
A while back I accepted an invitation to visit Lynn Lake, Manitoba. Check it out on Google Maps. It’s as far North as the summer roads take you. Lovely country, clean air, bright blue skies.
It’s mid-March but Winter still has a firm grip.
Someone said that the wind chill today was -40.
Yes, it’s cold here, but people’s hearts are very warm.
I spent the day at the local school, teaching basic braiding techniques to K-8th graders. Tomorrow I begin a 3-day workshop for the adults. This is going to be a town of weavers.
Manchester UK was the site of the 2nd International Braiding Conference. It was an amazing opportunity to meet top experts from a variety of braiding techniques. I attended Joy Boutrup’s class on loop manipulated braids, and made several myself.
Simple braids can be made by one person. We learned how to work together making even more complex braids.
It was then my turn to teach sprang.
We spent a day at Macclesfield, learning about the English silk industry. I also visited Platt Hall and the Stockport Hat Museum. Very interesting.
On to Lyon where I was treated to backroom tours of the Guimet Museum and the Textile Museum. I was priveleged to view some sprang bonnets associated with mummies in these collections. I am going to have to set aside some time now to try to replicate some of the designs.
Presently I am in Bern, on my way to visit the Abegg Stiftung.
They call themselves the Confederated Helveticans.
Glenna Dean had invited me to visit New Mexico after Convergence. I had a lovely time. We spend a couple of days dying wool in her studio. Some of the places we visited include the Ghost Ranch, Espinola Valley Fiber Arts Center, Village Wools in Albuquerque, and the Southwest Regional Spinners Retreat.
At the Retreat Glenna led a dying workshop.
I also took a workshop from Ric Rao on punch needle embroidery. I must find the time to explore this technique more, it’s quite fascinating.
I taught a workshop as well, on oblique interlace weaving. When not in workshops I sat at my sprang frame.
I had a lovely time in New Mexico, must figure out how to come back again sometime.
Convergence 2012 is well under way.
Arrived in Long Beach to attend the 2012 Handweavers Guild of America Convergence.
Lest I get bored on the long plane rides I brought along something to keep my hands busy. Fingerweaving is well adapted to airplane travel. The fold-down table clip is a great place to attach my weaving.
It is being held at the Conference Center here in Long Beach.
Yesterday I went on a tour organized by HGA. First stop Cameron Taylor-Brown and her tree house.
Cameron does her part to integrate the arts into schools and other aspects of daily life. What an inspiration!
Next stop was the Craft in America Study Center and the Freehand Gallery.
Some of the artists were on hand to talk about their work in the current exhibit ‘looming election’.
The afternoon was spent at the LACMA.
What an amazing collection they have. We also were given an hour’s ‘backroom’ tour a close up inspection of some ancient textiles from the Andes. Absolutely stunning.
Today I’m setting up for my classes.
I’m teaching sprang tomorrow, and fingerweaving Thursday through Saturday.