Hope you're having a great weekend so far! If you're new here, a big welcome to my bi-weekly (well, supposed to be) newsletter! It's great to have you on board.
As promised, I'm updating you with some work in progress. I was deliberating whether to send this email or not, as I'm not entirely sure if I'm happy with what I'm making yet and if I want people to see it. But, I think it's helpful sharing my work with others and it's a good chance to reflect on what I've made so far.
To tell you the truth, I wanted to have a few pieces done by now, but I've had a nasty cold this last week, so I've been bed bound. Weirdly, the Instagram algorithm decided to share one of my reels with a lot of new people, so I've been enjoying seeing more people engage with my work! Who knew that the world would be interested in my lil backstrap loom.
Without further ado, here's what I've been making.
I've been really challenged with this idea of feeling as though the viewer is "confronted by the woven object" (Abakanowicz). It's quite a big challenge. How do you make someone stop and think and really look at your work? I know myself, that when I go to a gallery I spent a maximum of 20 seconds looking at each piece. Unless something really resonates with me. When I was ill and not able to concentrate on much this week, I realised that my attention span is awful. If I was watching something, I had to scroll or text. I spent the longest time I've ever spent on TikTok, having those endorphins satisfied by watching videos that were ultimately forgettable. How do we stop and start thinking more deeply at what we look at?
Anyway, all these thoughts have made me really want to strive to weave something that can be a form of escapism or a way of calming our minds and considering something beyond the immediate. Making something like that though is really hard! I kind of did the classic thing of expecting too much of myself before starting.
So I decided to start with the materials. I got excited about the idea of weaving with very organic and natural yarn, mixed in with some very synthetic and bright yarns. I bought raw sheep's wool, some woad, chopped up some onions and got dyeing.
The result was so lovely, especially the red brick coloured yarns. I also liked the idea of not making just a rectangular flat piece, but one that feels less like a tapestry. I started with a semi circle at the bottom.
I'm trying to have my piece not feel as flat, so that it kind of sticks out of the wall. I had this idea of cutting some of my warp strings, weaving extra on those, and then reconnecting those to the taught warp strings... Yes, it was as complicated as it sounds! I then ended up tying so many knots, that I had to take a break as it frustrated me so much. It didn't even work that well anyway. I then realised I don't have to interlock my weft with my warp and create slits in the weave, which I can then move around once it's off the loom.
This is where I've ended up so far. I'm enjoying the tones and the physical feel of the piece, it's so substantial and heavy. Let's see where it takes us!
Come back next time to see if it worked...
If you would also like to join in on the fun that is backstrap weaving, check out my Backstrap Loom Kit! Wooden tools are hand-carved in Nottingham, and the strap is hand-sewn by me. I'm also working on backstrap weaving teaching videos, so you'll have lifetime access to those if you purchase this loom!
Backstrap Loom Kit
£120 + postage
As always, thanks so much for reading. See you next time for more updates!
Have a great weekend,