Not weaving this time

I do wish these web sites wouldn’t keep changing their format, I was quite happy with the old wordpress for this blog, why do they have to change these things. Oh dear, I think I sound like my Mum!

So this blog is not about weaving. I did a short course at West Dean last week on working with leather. Well, I was meant to do 4 days, starting with making a belt and then moving onto to something more exotic/complicated. Unfortunately on the first day I went down with the lurgy that is going about so spent the second and third days of the course at home in bed, so all I managed to do was make a belt, as below:

Belt 1

Sorry it isn’t a terribly good photo as it was taken on my ipod, it is easier to take them on that than get out the big camera, especially as I can then email the photo to myself to get it onto the laptop, the sockets to download photos on the laptop are a bit temperamental. They say laptops only have a life of 4-5 years so mine is definitely geriatric.

So I chose bright red because although I don’t wear belts very much I liked the colour. Belts are actually much more complicated than we think, much more than just a strip of leather with a buckle on it, you have to do all sorts of things to the edges with very sharp leather working tools. The sewing on of the buckle is also an engineering feat because of course you have to sew one side of the keeper in under neath the keeper, if that makes sense. Here is a better picture of the stitching:

Belt2I won’t post a photo of the back of the stitching as it isn’t as good as the front. As you can see the keeper is a bit twisted due to the fact that top loop has to be in place whilst you are trying to get the stitches in underneath it, getting the awl and then the needle through the three layers of leather. It was very fiddly.

However, I do not think I am going to start making belts for a living. I am quite taken with leather work and am now thinking about  leather sculptural pieces and boxes. I like the idea of leather boxes and have sent off for some offcuts of leather to give it a try. It is always tricky with these short courses, you spend a few days with a tutor who is a specialist and very enthusiastic about their field and you feel you will let them down if you don’t immediately become as enthusiastic as they are and it is easy to swept up into far too many different disciplines.

In my defence I have always wanted to work with leather and now I have a new pair of boots in sight, made by my very own hand, brown and green I think and I have found somewhere to get soles which was something I always struggled with previously. I am not giving up weaving by any means but this was very useful. I had always seen this course as a bit of a treat following finishing my dissertation which went in on Thursday. Well, I hope it did, the emailed copy got there and I left the two hard copies in the tender care of a fellow student so I hope she handed them in.

That’s enough about leather. I have two other projects on the go, one is the one with Jake Abrams for London Craft week which I mentioned a few blogs ago. We have decided what we are going to do so now I just have to weave a giant figure 3 metres high. It is going to be woven very chunkily so will not take too long. (I hope).

The other project is a small format tapestry exhibition I am organising. Yes I might be mad. It is called ‘Heallreaf’ which is an Old English word for a tapestry hanging in a public place. I chose that because I looked at all sorts of words to do with weaving, warp, weft, woof and many others and if you google them you get some really strange stuff coming up with which I really did not want to be associated. Anyway, I have written the web site: and have sent out calls for submissions across the world (!) and hopefully there will be enough interest for it to go ahead. I think there will be as I have already had several responses. It will run from 1st August to 8th August 2015 at West Dean, all details to follow.












Better picture, I’m not so lonely

I thought this picture of me at Modern Art Oxford was a better one and as I am wide awake at 3am took the opportunity to post it.
MFJ Textiles Oxford 150103_0034

We all still look a bit chilly it in but it does show someone turned up and did some weaving. I think one of these gentlemen sat down for a minute to weave after I assured him it was originally a mans profession. He didn’t stay long but did sit there and say something along the lines of ‘oh its odd numbers one way and even numbers back the other’. which of course makes perfect sense but no-one has ever described it like that before. Maybe it’s a boy thing.

Happy New Year

Just got back to college and everything is just moving so fast.

Last weekend I was at Modern Art Oxford demonstrating and showing people how to weave on two little frames I took for that purpose. I don’t expect much to come out of it although I did give out over 50 cards and one nice lady came all the way from Bristol specifically to see me.

Picture of me here:

MFJ Textiles Oxford 150103_0018a-1 PJ took the photo and I do look a bit lost in the corner but it is nice to have ‘Modern Art Oxford’ in large friendly letters so prominent in the image. Most of the time there were more people than that there. I was there both Saturday and Sunday. It was a bit chilly on occasion but I survived.


The next bit of news is that I have been chosen to do a collaboration with another artist for London Craft Week. This is through Qest. The artist I am working with is called Jake Abrams, he is coming down to college on Thursday so we can make a start. Then next week all the artists involved go to the gallery where it is being held to see that space. It is ‘The Crypt’ at St Pancras.


The other thing in the pipeline is an exhibition I am arranging (I guess the word is curating) at West Dean in August. The studio spaces are completely empty during the summer so I asked if I could put a small format exhibition on during the first week in August. Things look promising so far and I have a meeting with the powers that be in Thursday to finalise everything. It will be a show with an open call out so I am hoping to get artists from all over the country and abroad (coo!). The show will not have a theme but the name is ‘heallreaf’ which is old English for a tapestry hung in a public place. I hope to do these exhibitions there very two years and am trying to encourage West Dean to put on a symposium on the 1st August so it coincides with the private view of the exhibition.

I am trying to finish my dissertation in the next week, although I have until the end of the month but I just want to get it out of the way.

The next post will have more photo’s of weaving – promise.