Weaving the landscape

While this space has lain dormant for over a year, my creative exploits have been developing; some in my head as ideas, others as tangible objects. At times I’ve found my head spinning with ideas, resulting with an urge to do and make all the things, all at once. Inspired by the many talented makers I follow on Instagram, one idea or craft led to exploring another, which led to another. I found myself falling down a long and seemingly never-ending rabbit hole. Anything but a slow, considered creative journey, more like an out of control helter-skelter ride. 

 The desire to explore more and more led to an inertia to create very little. It was time to breath and reflect, stand back and assess. While I prefer to be spontaneous in my making, I’ve recognised that some gentle planning would help in starting and completing some of the projects I have in mind. I know my resistance to rigidly plan my creative pursuits is a reaction to the years of restrictive and stifling project planning in my previous working life. However, just writing down a few objectives wouldn’t go a miss . . . 

 Earlier this year I was looking at the ever-increasing collection of my hand spun yarn and wondering what to do with it. Like all new spinners, my early attempts on both drop spindle and wheel, were lumpy and bumpy. The yarn on the bobbins was anything but the fine consistent yarn I had dreamed off before I started to spin. The yarn I had spun was mostly undyed; the natural colours of the various sheep breeds in my fibre collection. The colour palette almost identical to the countryside around my home. On my walks, I started to take photos and even tried a little sketching. My aim; to capture the colours and textures of land around me through the seasons.

 After warping my rigid heddle loom with some Jamieson's of Shetland double knitting yarn I started weaving with my hand spun, augmented by some commercial yarn. I had no plans or no idea what the finished result might be. I pinned the photos and little sketches to my loom using them as reference and inspiration. I started conventionally with a plain even weave, then as I started to introduce different colours and yarns, shapes began to emerge. Referring to the images and recalling in my mind’s eye the shapes and textures, I rummaged for yarns that would give a woven essence of the landscape. I found myself weaving intuitively, becoming unbound by my expectations of what weaving on a loom should be. 

 Rigid heddle looms aren’t ideally suited to this style of weaving, as the warp has to be wound on regularly. This has two disadvantages; your work gets hidden and adding textures or objects can be problematic as they can be flattened or squashed. However, with a little care and planning I have been able to incorporate texture and some natural artefacts*. From the original warp I’ve produced three pieces; my interpretation of the landscape. 

 As winter turned to spring and spring has turned to summer, I’ve continued to collect ideas for further spinning and weaving exploration. The helter-skelter mind spinning with ideas of earlier has resulted in an unexpected but very rewarding result; weaving the landscape.

*One piece in this series includes natural artefacts (small sticks and lichen). All had fallen from the trees and walls and collected from the path.