As there had been some interest in seeing my Big Beastie loom our group’s next meeting was held at my house in December 2013. Two of our number had been back to the gallery where our exhibition is to be held in order to discuss further details and needed to report back. Each weaver was also requested to bring some work along (or photos of it) and to say something about it, so that we could see how the exhibition was shaping up.
My work, of course, was already here and in my mind this was to be my make or break point – if the others considered it not to be up to standard I was prepared to withdraw from the exhibition. As ever the other weavers were very kind and encouraging and seemed to think there was no reason why I should not participate. They suggested that the relative simplicity of my work, would make it easier for the general public to see how it was done than would be the case with their more detailed work.
I had deliberately opted for a self-set brief of ‘simple but effective’ which would enable me to produce work fairly quickly but I was still concerned that I would not produce enough in the time available. However it soon became apparent that we did not need a vast amount of work to fill the gallery space – indeed the exhibition would be more effective if the works were well spaced rather than overcrowded. It was also pointed out that the tapestries did not need to be big, small pieces could be just as effective.
With renewed confidence in the acceptability of my weaving and of being able to produce sufficient work I began to think smaller. Inspired by a gilded tea light holder on my coffee table the idea of a ‘cloth of gold fragment’ began to take shape . I warped up my small wrap-round frame loom with a fine cotton warp used double at a sett of 8 epi and bought some beige crochet cotton and some gold metallic thread. I had used the warp double thinking to intersperse some filigree fringing threads by singling out the warp from time to time. Unfortunately I found the metallic thread quite difficult to handle as it was very slippery and difficult to tension properly. I soon wished I had never embarked on the project! Also I couldn’t find any filigree thread to match the other threads in the way I wished, so I abandoned the fringing idea.
Because of the slipperiness of the thread and the difficulty of controlling the tension I found it almost impossible to keep the edges straight, so the weaving began to taper towards the top. I had warped the frame in such a way that I could do a piece on each side so, never one to give up, I persevered with both pieces. I think this was a worthwhile exercise, from which I learned a great deal, but I am far from satisfied with the result, nor am I pleased with the designs – they are nothing like the idea I had in mind when I started out. For what they are worth I picture them below but they are NOT going in the exhibition!
Maybe I will return to the idea at a later date to see if I can produce something more like the tapestry I had envisioned, but meanwhile it was back to the drawing board.