I am teaching a simple weaving course at a community house to a small group of enthusiastic students. These are the samples I made for the basic weaving techniques covered in week 1 and for tapestry weaving in week 2.

The first is made from garden hemp cloth stretched on a frame and then threads withdrawn and replaced with a wool yarn; weaving using a long needle.

The second has a 4 ply cotton warp on the same frame and 8 ply acrylic weft. It shows quite a few tapestry weaving techniques. The frames I made from coreflute, tape and tapered polythene tubes have been most successful.

The next samples are for the weaving demonstration I am doing at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild Open Day next Saturday. 10am – 3pm 655 Nicholson St, Carlton North.

It was suggested that I do a honeycomb weave, actually it was more like told that is what I would be doing. This is because I used a version of this structure in my final piece for Introduction to Weaving.

This time I am using 8 shafts and have picked a draft that uses stripes in the warp to emphasise the pattern. There were two weaving options and I will use the two faced one rather than the double weave which is much thicker. The cells also are a bit too squished but it is still a very nice weave structure.

My problem now is to decide on which yarn to use to outline the cells. I am showing both sides as I used different yarn front and back.

My first choice which is at the bottom is too thick. On both sides. The second is a merino baby yarn which flows around the tight cells beautifully. I used a lighter section of the variegated yarn on the front, darker on the back. It does look very blue.

The third is a multihued wool with different colours plied together. I really like the front with the hint of green but on the back the contrast between the pink and blue is so high the pattern gets lost. This is interesting too. So I cannot decide. Do I have same front and back, or different? And which yarns?

Opinions welcome.



Little trees

Bonsai is an interesting form of gardening and those who practice the art are certainly passionate about little trees. I went to the display put on by the Waverley Bonsai Club at the Mount Waverley Community Centre mainly to check out the hall renovations.

But I ran into someone I knew who gave me a tour of the exhibits, explaining the finer details on each plant. I was told pines are the best and his Japanese Black Pine was a great example.

It was repotted about a year ago and the prop keeping it from falling over has only just been removed. I think Ken said he started it from a seedling in the 1970s.

Acacia spectubilis. Complete with a kangaroo to emphasise that this is an Australian plant.

The eucalyptus is about twenty years old. It had flower buds but no further information about the variety. I thought the pot the melaleuca sat in was well chosen.

Was this liquidambar pining for the freedom of the park outside?

Suiseki is the Japanese art of stone appreciation.

MoMA in Melbourne part 2

In my first post I talked mainly about the art that expected to see when I visited the NGV last Wednesday. Here are some thoughts on what I saw that was new for me.

  1. Fans

    Three works on the same subject. One the original Fan (model GB1) designed by Peter Behrens for AEG in 1908. His design work sort to eliminate barriers between art and industry. The second Giant soft fan by Claes Oldenburg part of the pop art movement of the 1960s.

    Olafur Eliasson’s Ventilator (1997), a single house fan swinging from the ceiling by a thin wire.  So simple in contrast to the large works that are usually in the main hall that it is easily missed. I was not able to get a photo, so this one is from Broadsheet which has an excellent review by Will Cox and 63 photos of the exhibition.

  2. Bold geometries by different artists

    Franz Kline White forms 1955. The title made me look twice at this work, because at first all I saw were the black slashes.

    While many there are many well known American works on the walls, it was good to see artists from other countries. Helio Oiticica was a Brazilian artist who, as a member of the Neo Concrete movement, aimed to liberate geometric constructions from the highly circumscribed prescriptions of an earlier generation. Metaesquema no 348 and Metaesquema both from 1958. I just loved the animation in the work.

  3. Film and video

    Films feature in many of the thematic areas of the exhibition and all worth taking the time to view, if only to see past times. Christian Marclay created the black and white and colour video Telephones in 1995. It is composed of tightly edited clips from film and television showing human emotional engagement with the telephone from first dialling to hanging up in disgust. Most topical I felt.

  4. Text

    Jenny Holzer Living: Some days you wake up and immediately… 1980-82

  5. Global art and displacement

    ‘Flight Patterns’ is the last section which is a pity because energy is flagging by this time. There are many confronting works exploring the digital world, globalisation and displacement. Woven panel 2016 was loom woven by the National Union of Sahrawi Women. It is a map of Rabouni, the Algerian refugee camp in which that population has remained dislocated for more than four decades.

  6. Myself as part of an art work

Roman Ondak, Measuring the universe
My height is recorded by name and the date on the wall of this installation. It falls in about the centre of the thick black band so you won’t be able to find it. Other people’s heights are above and below this mean.



Loom muster

Taking stock of all the looms in the house at the moment.

My new Ashford and stand folded away until September. The Nobel I used for the 4 shaft intensive packed ready to be returned tonight. Rigid heddle Sample-it with the second half of a colour gamp just started. It has been that way for a while.

An Ashford Katie on loan with a complex shadow weave scarf started along with the 8 shaft Ashford for my current course – part way through threading for a twill sampler. Simple frame loom with the beginnings of a class sample. Finally the little Robinson patiently waiting its first warp. Hopefully this will go on over the weekend.

And this doesn’t include the corflute looms  I made for the community centre class that started today. Happily they worked well, much firmer than cardboard.

They are still outnumbered by sewing machines, but gaining fast.

MoMA in Melbourne part 1

The Winter Masterpiece exhibition at NGV Victoria this year is a little bit of New York. MoMA at NGV is over 200 works and spreads over all the ground floor galleries. This means there are two entrances, so don’t lose your ticket. You also get to exit through the gift shop twice.

The layout is chronological starting with a few works from key post impressionists and moving quickly to Paris in the age of electricity. I loved seeing La Japonise: Woman beside the water by Matisse up close. The squiggles and dabs of paint, some straight out of the tube, really rocked the established art world in 1906 leading to the label les fauves, wild beasts.

I was also struck by the work of Sonia Delaunay, Portuguese market 1915. She and her husband were members of the Orphist group, who explored colour theory and optical effects.

The swirling colour takes over the scene and the orphists talked about simultaneity were no hue dominates any other. The descriptor says that Delaunay’s work in textile and clothing design contributed to her understanding of the possibilities of abstract colour.

I was interested to see works produced at the Bauhaus. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was a teacher there and experimented with photography and film. This influenced his painting process which he reimagined as an art not of pigment but of light. His Z II 1925 is an exploration intersecting abstract elements in space.

Gupta Stolzl was a weaving student at the Bauhaus who went on to become and instructor and the first woman ‘master’ at the school in 1927. Under her direction the weaving workshop went on to become one of the most experimental areas.

Wall hanging 1924. Wool, silk, mercerised cotton and metal thread

Anni Albers also trained at the Bauhaus in Germany and then went to on to become head of weaving at Black Mountain College in the United States from 1933 to 1949.

Two of her Free-hanging room dividers c 1949 use cotton, cellophane, braided horsehair and cord. They combine art making with utilitarian design, controlling both light and space.

One of the ‘big’ pictures on show is Salvador Dali’s 1931 The persistence of memory.  You come across it as soon as you enter the gallery focussed on the 30’s and post war period. I was quite shocked. It is tiny. Perhaps because it features such a broad landscape I had always thought it to be a large painting.

Seeing a Hopper was rather special too. His Gas 1940 has an amazing sense of drama. Edward Hopper is not depicting a single scene, it is a composite representing several gasoline stations.

Tapestry challenge

I thought I had missed the July exhibition at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild, but fortunately it was still up on the last day of the month when I called in to return library books. Of course I borrowed more books and even bought a second hand one too, so a good visit all round.

The Exhibition was the AuNZ Tapestry Challenge 2018 with the theme Growth. Organised by an online group of tapestry weavers the pieces had to be up to 20 cm square.

There were about twenty five tapestries on display. Many represented plant life of various forms, but there were people, bacteria, graphs, fantasy forms and abstract responses to the theme as well.

The Weaving Matters group are exhibiting in August and on Saturday 25 there is an open day where all are welcome to see a multitude of weaving techniques and have a go.IMG_0290

A different kind of flat pack

A phone call on Friday from the delivery man saying he was at my door alerted me to the arrival of a purchase I had made at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show. Unfortunately he had the address wrong and was actually next door. Rather than put it back in the van and drive across he lugged it all the way up the driveway and was panting a bit by the time he got to the top of the stairs. He let me know it was 28kg!


Inside were two boxes, and inside them it looked a bit like the usual Swedish flat pack, except these ones come from NZ.

IMG_0270 I like the way the instructions show you when it is time to turn the construction over.

I am not sure I could have put it together if I didn’t know what it was supposed to look like or how it functioned. There are a lot of assumptions in the directions. But after finishing my weekend of weaving classes I successfully assembled and threaded a large 8 shaft loom and stand.

Here it is from the front and the back with a light I bought some time ago fitting perfectly. It is about as wide as a treadle sewing machine and twice as deep.

IMG_0281Both items fold flat to make it easy to move from room to room and to store under a bed. Except that under the bed is already a bit crowded with vintage sewing machine lids!