Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Thought I would write a quick note on looms for the job as I forgot how many people over the years have told me that they haven't had a go at tapestry technique yet because they don't have the right loom to get going. I do not own a specific tapestry loom. The looms I have are adequate for weaving the size of work I have been producing thus far.
My work in the main, is woven on any one of my 3-4 looms which are 2-shaft, peddle operated, upright looms. They are all well and truly pre-loved and wonderfully functional. A new and larger specifically tapestry loom would be fantastic, but is not imperative for actually producing a hand woven tapestry.

The first loom I ever wove a tapestry on was a chunky 4-shaft rug loom. Not so hot on the neck muscles, but adequate never the less to decide if I was interested in producing more tapestries or not, and determine what my future comfort needs were likely to be.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paper Making Demo

Heirloom Hand-Made Papers
Last Saturday was the Auckland Area Creative Fibre A.G.M. and I was asked to set up a display table showing the basic process of how to make sheets of re-cycled paper. Making paper from scratch is always a fun activity, and the results look gorgeous. No matter that the ones that include a lot of fresh or dried organic material are more decorative than functional. They always seem so very Victorian and feminine, and are beautiful additions to any craft project that incorporates paper as a decorative element.

Sampler Booklet
For my paper-making workshops I like to spend the morning making the sheets with the students, stop for a shared lunch while the paper dries, and then spend the remaining time putting all our hard work together in the form of a keepsake record sampler book. It always makes for a day of great fun, good food and interesting people. Listening to the reasons why each person wants to learn this basic, environmentally sound technique I find it is usually to enhance or to support a completely different skill or hobby. Mainly envisaged as being used for presentation paper for anything from home preserving to hand-made cosmetic or soap products. Some just want to work with the pulp so that they can go away with the experience and explore the moulding or casting possibilities their art direction is leading them towards. It is this  very broad end use aspect that makes basic paper-making such a very cool medium to explore. 

It is fine to reconstitute waste paper for use as writing/drawing paper, however a good quality end paper is dependent on the initial materials used in the pulp mix. 
Keep those photo-paper off cuts in mind next time you are trimming up the edges, and put them aside separately with other better quality papers if you are wanting to make acid-free sheets for exhibition quality drawing or painting. 

Also, if you are looking for waste paper to re-cycle, a good source for raw materials are the offices of local law or architect businesses. Their shredded paper waste is usually made up of better quality papers and light card and they are usually o.k. with passing it on for paper-making purposes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Work in Progress

New work on the loom, just to keep interest going on what I have been up to. Little else to show you at this stage..... garden grows, years end screaming to the finish line, and not enough hours in the day.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1960's Modernist Cut Pile Carpet/Sampler

Measures approx. 30x37cm
This is is a sampler or small wall hanging I have had for several years and although it is not a Tapestry weaving, it is hand woven. I assume it was made in the 1960's, possibly for the tourist market, and probably originates from somewhere around Egypt or Morocco. The artist/weaver was well ahead of their time and this small hand-woven cut pile rug is a classic for those interested in the history of graphic design and its use in the 20th century textile arts movement.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tapestry Weaving and Social Comment

This weaving measures approximately 30x38cm. The warp is set at 11 e.p.i. with the weft constructed from silk, cotton, wool and rayon. 

I very much enjoy the process of naming my tapestry works. They often have two titles, one which is used while I weave it and a second that sometimes takes over once it is removed from the loom and the work is being tidied up and mounted for show. Long and explanatory titles are usually shortened to a single word or name, as the one shown here has been. 

The title sometimes gives a hint of my own intention or social comment. Some titles are self explanatory while others may be very obscure. This  particular weaving symbolizes the road we are taking towards a genetically engineered future.

I think what makes tapestry stand out so starkly from other forms of weaving, is that it has the ability to convey a story. Whether it is a large and complex set of images presented as a large and busy scene, or simply a small stark image, they both have the ability to convey very obvious subject matter, which is then open to interpretation.

As an artist/weaver I understand that the viewer may not completely understand my sense of humour, my intended comment or what my story is. 
However I believe each and every individual interpretation of the image is as entirely valid as my own. For me, every different interpretation or perspective of what the piece may mean gives me a small glimpse into another persons life journey. It is this validation of the viewers interaction with the design that changes the piece from an internal expression to an external sharing of human experience.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The weaving that didn't want to be woven!!

I have been thinking about the wisdom of sharing my recent disaster on the loom. After all, this blog is a showcase of what should be varied and interesting hand-woven tapestries that are worked smoothly from woe to go. This time it has gone from woe to woes.  Should I be sharing my failures as well as the pieces that I am happy with? Probably, as the planning and background that went into it were well developed and substantial. I like to think that those of you following this blog will be able to identify with the frustration of an idea not coming to fruition despite the best of intention and planning. So here is a tribute to all the learning curves, set-backs and oddities of those works that fought us and taught us along the way to perfection. May they be far and few between.

The warp, showing a good dozen or so warp threads broken at the other end of the loom.

Shown in the fore-ground is my first attempt at this weaving. You can see the initial heavier tan cotton warp I was using. I decided the warp spacing was too close and should have been set at about 8 epi so cut it off the loom. Because the warp was set at 12 epi, it created a bow/spread in the selvedge and slight ridging in the woven area. 

I  re-warped with a finer white cotton warp and started weaving again, but because of the slow progress in weaving, the warp wasn't constantly being wound through the heddles, and because of the constant changing of the shed using metal heddles, I slowly sliced through the warp. With every other loom I have ever bought, the first thing I have done is remove all the metal heddles and replaced them with handmade cotton ones. This is  mainly because I have never liked the noise that the metal ones make when I'm constantly changing the shed as I weave. I also like to make sure that my home-made ones have a generous sized threading hole in them to allow for bulky yarns or knots created when tying on/extending a new length of warp. This is the first time I haven't bothered to do so, so it was a very unexpected and nasty surprise to have my warp slashed. Oh well, you live and learn. 

I have now over-simplified the design and will try again to weave a smaller weaving using only one smaller section of the design. I'll keep you posted to see what happens with this third and final attempt! 

Loving those Miniatures

Re. my previous blog about posting my progress as I weave my new piece. That was a bad omen.

I have Ssooooo had difficulty with this new loom. Should one share ones failures??? Of course.

So next time I WILL post up photos of the disaster/s that should have been humming along nicely by now. 
I suspected the warp was all wrong to begin with and that it may cause some worry. However in the end I cut it off and re-warped with a nice light-weight but good quality cotton warp, only to find that the metal heddles were slowly, silently and maliciously slicing the warps as I was weaving down the other end of the loom.  "Ggggrrrrrrr..."   said I.

Dream State
Any way here are some miniatures for your perusal, the middle piece expresses very well the folly of continuing with weaving and documenting the piece I was going to do. I have totally simplified the design and will post that up at a later date, probably altered somewhat.

Pissing in the Wind

Chester...... With Spots

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tapestry in the Making

These are the first couple of pics of the tapestry I will be documenting as I weave it. Full detail of the colour is going to be dictated by just how fussy I decide to be as time goes on. However it looks as though this left-hand panel will be following reasonably closely to the script. 

The warp-up was a total pain as I haven't used this loom before. Although I won't go into detail here, the warp could prove to be a problem at a later date. I hope not!

Set at 12 e.p.i. on a coloured cotton warp. There is a small degree of fluting/corrugation in the warp, but I believe this is due to the warp-up rather than the weft materials being used as there is no actual splay in the warp spacing as I continue to weave at this stage. It will iron out fine once the spacing has been removed at cut-off time, which is hours and hours and weeks away. By that time I will have sorted it I hope!

Photo 1 The very beginning.

These three sections (the woman, the door and the teacup )will be woven as one complete panel.
 I will keep a visual record of the left hand panel to share with you on the blog.

Photo 2 Introducing the splashes of colour that dominate this design.

Franklin Annual Art Awards

My last post shows the sewing machine ready for action and the hand-made paper sheets drying on the cloths line outside, so best I up-date what they morphed into.

"A Day Well Spent"

This is the re-cycled tapa piece, that much to my surprise won a second placing in the Non-Functional Fibre  category of the Franklin Arts Festival last month. A most unexpected surprise on the night. So a big thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers involved with this long-running event. It was most satisfying for me to feel that the judge recognised my attempt to push traditional boundaries of what Fibre Art can mean. 

Recently I have been lamenting the fact that so few young/marginalised N.Z. women in particular are not well represented in the creative fibres. Why?

My latest series of work have been pondering this. As soon as I finish weaving the tapestries that go with these pieces I will hope to have purged this obsessive, youth oriented and simplistic design phase that has gripped me for the last few months.

As a child, comic books were very much frowned upon, so these pieces are part of a catch-up time for me as well as a salute to the often regarded "low-art" genre of the visual novel.

As an adult, street art is very much frowned upon, so I see this medium as a magnet for future comment......

Close-up showing detail.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Not A Loom In Sight....Other Fibre Stuff

I have recently been making paper for a fibre based art-work that I have been putting together for the annual  Franklin Arts Festival. I love making paper as it is a perfect balance for people like me who actually really enjoy instant gratification, but who choose to spend most of their creative time doing something as slow moving as tapestry weaving. 

These sheets are going to be used in a multi-media piece, part of which is shown below. 

Paper sheets hanging out to dry

Sewing the paper and tapa cloth. Note the very clunky but gorgeous old machine being  used to work on the piece.   

I have just spent another Saturday up at The Art Barn in Orua Bay attending a screen printing course. I have a screen sitting in a corner of the studio that hasn't been used for years, but having been on this latest Tastes Creative course, I would like to think that at some stage soon I will drag it out again and have a bit of a play. 

We had the choice of printing either a T.shirt or a tea towel, so I thought I'd go with a cliche' and print "Home Is Where The Heart Is" on a tea towel. It came out a bit wonky but it was another great day surrounded by good people and good food, that had me refreshing my memory on the technique of screen printing. Thanks to the girls at Tastes once again for organizing another full and inspiring day.

Tea towel screen-print

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Remembering Another Tapestry Weaver and Her Work

Weaving from 2002/2003 N.Z. Traveling Suitcase Exhibition
20x20cm Hand-woven by Astrida Dahm
It's funny how things go around. I was stuck for things to post....I don't have much to show for myself that I can share at the moment due to exhibition commitments so I thought I would add some notes about how I came to acquire a loom that used to belong to a little recognised but very able tapestry weaver I used to know.

A few months ago I was given this loom by fellow spinner/weaver Rowena, who is a member of my local Spinners and Weavers group. It is a Leclerc, Nilart, 8 shed, 10-treddle jack floor loom with a 45" weavable width. This loom is totally unsuitable/overpowered for my tapestry weaving, apart from weaving the occasional rug. Weaving smaller tapestries on it would be like using a steam roller to crack a nut.

Anyway, she had bought the loom from a person who had got it from the estate of a tapestry weaver called Astrida, who used to live and weave in Coromandel during the 1990's to early 2000's. She had told our group leader she was off to pick up her new loom....

Well Glenys knew that I had spent several years living in Coromandel and that if there was a fellow tapestry weaver living in that tiny township, I would know who that weaver was.

And I did. Astrida was born in Germany in 1950. I believe sometime after leaving school she went on to train as a weaver for quite some while under a master weaver in a studio that I do not know the name of, but that she seemed pleased to have received her training from. 

She travelled a lot during the late 1960's and 1970's, until she reached N.Z.'s East Coast north of Gisborne. It was here she met the potter Helen Mason (an extraordinary and beautiful older wise woman with adventurous tales of her own I might add). Astrida settled down on the coast and was soon invited to learn how to weave flax/harakeke, attending regular flax-weaving wananga with the local Ngati Porou women.

In the early 1980's her son Mingus was born, and they both moved up to Coromandel in the footsteps of Helen Mason who was by then living in the Old Tram at Driving Creek Railway and Potteries. 

By the time I moved to Coromandel in 1991, she and Helen had well and truly set up and established the Coromandel Spinners and Weavers in the Pink House over the road from the D.C.R.P. The Pink House was an inspirational hive of activity for fibre artists. It was through this group that Astrida learnt I was looking for a house to rent for me and my 2 children. After a daunting personality check, she gave me cheap rent on her run down old miners cottage over the road from her house, and where we stayed for several years while the kids grew up around us as our tapestry ideas bounced and banged off each other.

Her tapestries always included her hand-spun, often hand-dyed silks and fine wool. The images were organic, feminine, gentle and beautiful. She became quite the mentor for me as far as technical issues were concerned. She was incredibly funny in all ways, often abrupt, and very down to earth. I often wonder whether flax or tapestry weaving would have won the battle for her attention, as it must be getting close to a decade since she passed away.

However I think she would be pleased to see that as her beautiful, much loved loom has been battered and picked over, bereft of reed and other little bits and pieces, that I should now have it taking up a large portion of my very limited kitchen/dining space. 

I have inherited a monster that I love just because it belonged to my fellow tapestry weaver, neighbour and friend Astrida, and I like to think she would find that very fine indeed.

Tapestry Weaver, Astrida Ritchie-Dahm

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Design And Work In Progress

"Time for Tea"     The original working drawing/artwork before it has been modified for weaving.
Made from tapa cloth, hand-made paper, black ribbon, artist canvas, acrylic paint and machine embroidery detail.
(Click on image to enlarge)
This is one of the 4 pieces I exhibited recently that I thought you might want to follow the progress of as I weave it. From earlier postings you can see how I use various design techniques and ideas to form the basis of my tapestries. In this case I was playing around on the sewing machine to make comic book inspired story boxes that I hoped would translate well into weavable pieces. 

I need to have three of these completed by February next year and inspiration for sticking to my deadline might well come from sharing the progress on a semi-regular basis with those of you out there that pop in to see what I have been up to from time to time. I will be setting up the warp for this piece in the next week or so and I will keep a visual record of this particular piece to share on the blog. 

The final adjusted design ready for printing and tracing onto the working cartoon, which is then pinned up behind the warp as a guide for the weaving process.
So here it is, the final piece I will be weaving for the blog. Still retaining elements of the original fibre work at the top of this posting. Hopefully this gives you some insight into the background stuff that goes on between the day I took the drive home, the sketchbook, and the final tapestry weaving you see at the exhibition.

I love this process of where the piece comes from, and it is probably the weak link in the chain for those who do not understand the importance of having at least some form of design process as part of their creative endeavour.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Creating The Tapestries I Want To Weave And Pricing The End Result.

This is the original small oil painting which was used as the inspiration for the weaving shown below. 

It was cropped to produce a width and height that I was happy with.

The image was then adjusted to create a weavable design. This is the most exciting and experimental phase in the design process for me. It is the time where the commitment to weaving time and detail is determined. How much do I want to deviate from the original painting? Do I want to pretty much retain the colour palette or do I want to change it completely? At this stage the warp count and all proposed materials need to taken into consideration as do the limitations of the actual loom it will be woven on.

This is the end result, and as you can see the weaving detail has been ever more simplified and altered as I have woven the piece. This is where the sub-conscious decision making processes of the artist-weaver takes control. It is where the auto-pilot kicks in and intuition takes over. You just go with where it takes you almost, and it is this some-what meditative state that becomes the tapestry weavers spell or magic that attracts different viewers to connect with each different weavers style of work, some more so than others.

Because I use my own images, during the weaving process there is often a certain amount of slimming down the details as can be seen in the finished weaving above “Beyond The Wall Of Melancholy”. If the tapestry were say 4 times larger than it is, obviously more fine detail could have been achieved also. As this weaving was a non-commissioned work that I was weaving to enter into an exhibition with a deadline to meet it was more a case of...Can I finish the tapestry weaving within the designated time frame I have allowed for. 

I think possibly over the years another reason I have tended to over simplify during the design/weaving process has been because I have tried to cut down on the time factor. I have always had a problem with the end pricing and in the past thought the price I ask for my work as very high for the size and complexity of the end weaving. The reality is that the prices reflect an hourly wage that sits somewhere between the minimum wage and the cost of hiring an average trades person. 

I think this constant endeavour to fine-tune and minimize the weaving time ultimately and quite unintentionally has led to the creation of a very distinctive personal style which can be readily attributed to my weavings. As my own particular genre and style has developed I have finally become comfortable with the prices I have to ask for my work.

I believe other artisans working with knitting, weaving, felting etc. who are practicing their art through fibre are beginning to value their own specialist work abilities by pricing the time they have taken to produce it,  including their design and planning time. I also feel the appreciation of these craft based art forms are becoming more and more valued as tomorrows fine-arts and hand crafted treasures. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Craft And Quilt Fair- Hamilton

Running from Thursday 08 Sep 2011 to Sunday 11 Sep 2011, this event is open to the public for a reasonably small entry fee, and has craft related sales as well as the Quilt Exhibition which features quilts from Australia and New Zealand. 

Running in conjunction with this is the Creative Fibre Experience exhibition. This is a good opportunity to see some of New Zealand's finest hand spun, woven, felted or fibre based exhibits in one large exhibiting arena.

It is also an opportunity to network and catch up with friends for the day.

Claudelands Events Centre
Cnr Heaphy Terrace & Brooklyn Road
Claudelands, Hamilton

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Creative Fibre Festival 2012 Marlborough

Here are the dates for the National Creative Fibre Festival 2012 in Marlborough. The team down there has set up a blog site that you can visit. Go to   to find out all you need to know about their planning and activities thus far. The blog also has a link to their face book page if you would rather follow what they are doing that way.

The emphasis of this festival is to Interest, Educate and Inspire no matter what area of the fibre arts your particular interest is in.

The National Festival runs from 12pm Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th April 2012 and will be held at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim, with the Exhibition on display at the Millennium Public Art Gallery.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where do the ideas for tapestry designs come from?


Time 4 Tea

I decided that this exhibition was going to be used as an opportunity for the viewers to see where my future work was heading from a design series point of view. It is all very well to show the woven end result, but some people don't understand that there is so much going on behind the piece. 

These machine embroidered working drawings are part of the design process I have used for creating a future mini series of weavable designs. I have used tapa cloth, artist canvas, acrylic paint, cotton thread and my hand-made paper to produce fibre works that were fantastically playful to produce while at the same time are reasonably resolved fibre artworks in their own right. 

Male on Friday?
These stitched works have been photographed and then adjusted in Photoshop until a satisfactory colour and contrast has been achieved. 
Me standing next to the machine embroidered works, showing the  proposed cartoons I will be weaving from them on the right hand side. 

Keeping in mind that they will become weavings is an integral part of  decision making during this procedure. What yarns, colours and textures will best be able to be replicated with the new image I am creating? How will changing them add artistic value to the end weaving? How much will I be able to deviate from the exact image without losing the integrity of the design details?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tapestry Exhibition Photo's

Taking it all in my stride.....NOT!!!
Friday putting up the tapestry weavings.

It is actually quite nerve wracking posting up the pics of the exhibition when you are not sure who is out there keeping an eye on what you've been up to.
You really do have to be brave to do this kinda stuff,  Ta da... it's me.... and this is what I do. I don't know that I will ever have a solo show again as I am hopeless at promoting myself and always fail in this area of my professional responsibilities.

This is a retrospective exhibition of my past works rather than a showing of the new. However I am o.k. with that, as this show has been cathartic in getting a grip on what I can do rather than what I can't do and it has led to a very positive need to get myself up and running again. Illness certainly works in mysterious ways and I thank you for bearing with me over the last nine months of reasonable inactivity on the loom. 
I put this in the exhibition because unless you have visited my studio and seen this piece on the wall, you probably won't have seen it. It was woven during the anti-G.E rallies down Queen Street, Auckland in 2000.

My focus has been on my drawings and design strengths and I know this has been a VERY important process that will now produce a flurry of activity back on the loom.
Sketchbook drawing

Allowing the design aspect of my process to take precedent over the last few months has been the right thing to do to allow me to move forward from this point and between now and February 2012 I will be sharing some of the making of five larger works I have to complete within this time-frame on the blog from time to time. Taking time to design  has been inspirational in allowing me to come to the conclusion that I actually only need to produce 4 or 5 larger and better weavings each year anyway. 

Woven shaped Tapestry panels, sewn on canvas and laced onto pohutukawa branch.
This sculpture is an idea that has evolved into the designing of a piece I am working on to submit for the NZ Professional Weavers exhibition next year.

This posting is a peep into the gallery during the set-up on Friday and at the opening on Saturday. To those who got there on the day a very BIG thanks to you all.
Waiuku Spinners and Weavers

I was less than enthusiastic during the build-up to this show for strange and varied reasons, but of course the whole point of exhibitions is to see your work through the eyes of others to help you move forward with your work, to identify any weaknesses, to ponder on what was perfect and what could have been improved upon. And exhibiting is the final stage, a reflection as a grouping of work that allows you to move forward from that defining point. It is a place to share with others where you are at with your work so that they have a comparison point from which they can mark future work you create.

Max at the opening, appreciating the fact that his Granky Steph appears to be as much into titties as he is.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Exhibition of Drawings, Sculpture, Hand-Woven and Embroidered Works. Franklin Community Gallery - Next door to the Library and Steel Gallery, Pukekohe.

To everyone who is interested in fibre-art. I would like to invite you to come and see my new exhibition. Join me at the opening for morning tea and cup-cakes and help me to celebrate my 50th birthday with good company, art and fibre.

Retrospective Works

These two weavings were two of the first tapestry weavings I ever sold. I remember both of these tapestries had a 3 dimensional quality about them as the advice I received on the warp count was a bit high for the weight of the weft I was planning to use, and my weaving skills were still very much being worked on! The result of this combination of novice beginnings meant that the darker areas which were of a thicker quality yarn, spread the warp slightly as I wove it, creating a puffed out effect around the eye area. As an artist it is often strange to think of these earlier attempts at creating art-works being bought in the first place yet alone still being enjoyed by the purchaser, however I do hope they are still in existence purely for the fact that it is part of the record of tapestry weaving in New Zealand. as there are so few of us involved with this specific weaving genre.

Looking back at these images now, I still like the theme but do not so much like the darkness they now appear to conjure up for me. So I am going to have a go at re-doing them by playing around in a different/faster medium to see if I can come up with a lighter feeling image. There are also separate elements within each weaving that I really do like so I have decided to weave a therapy scroll, a long narrow width of weaving that can incorporate different fragments of ideas, colours and designs.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Freda Brierley -Machine Embroidery

On The Edge   48x38cm
This image is the work of textile artist Freda Brierley whose work I saw in an exhibition with Aillie Snow at NorthArt Gallery on the North Shore in 2002. I found her art a  wonderful inspiration of subtle and somewhat dark images, and recognized it as a possible medium I might one day want to explore. I have played around with sewing images onto stiffened organza with reasonable success in the past.

The need for me to experiment further with machine and hand embroidery has now arisen again because of illness. As my hands have limited movement at the moment I am being very selective about how I spend my time on the loom, and machine embroidery gives me the opportunity to make pictorial works off-loom.

I have an exhibition of these new works as well as a retrospective selection of older drawings and tapestry weavings that will be on show at the Franklin Steel Gallery, in the small Community Gallery space. You are invited to join me for morning tea on Saturday 11th June, 10.30am, where I will be discussing the work on display, share where I glean my inspiration for my art, and talk about the technical side of producing my images.

Five small framed works measure approx. 6x6cm
I bought these five small framed Freda Brierley works which I selected from about 30, possibly more (if my memory serves me well) which she was selling at the time her exhibition was running. I am so very pleased that I bit the bullet and did. 

Often it is these smaller more affordable works that give you a very real and tangible connection with the artist. Although these are usually not as complicated or meaningful as larger pieces, they are still enticing and charming to have if you are a collector of fbre art, and purchasing these always helps the artist re-coup some of the expense involved in putting on an exhibition. It is this mutual benefit of inter-play between the artist and the viewer that really makes an exhibition successful and enduring, long after the exhibits have left the gallery.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

50 Top Tapestry Weaving Blog Sites

I have just been advised that my blog has been added to a list of tapestry weaving sites that are considered the 50 top Blogs on tapestry weaving. The list includes many other weavers whose work you may want to know more about. The link is

If this is the first time you have visited my blog, welcome. For the best overview on what I have been recording of my work I suggest going to the Blog Archive shown here on the right. Click on one of the years to get a good overview of what I have been sharing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


"Twist in Thames" is the title of this National Creative Fibre Festival, offering a feast of activities for fibre fans. Based in Te Puru along the Thames Coast Road heading towards Coromandel Township, this is a beautiful area to spend a few days, or just a great opportunity to take a road trip with a couple of friends for the day. 

Although it is not a full festival as it has a smaller theme based exhibition instead of the usual large Exhibition format, there will be plenty to see and do with guest speakers, fibre related sales and spinning, knitting and weaving action competitions.

It runs over the last weekend of April, from Thursday the 28th April until Sunday the 1st May. The creative fibre website is your point of contact.
Go to for more details about the festival or to join a Creative Fibre group near you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tapestry Weaving from Drawn or Painted Design to the Finished Woven Image.

Above is a cartoon I have documented as it is being woven in the photos below. The original painting has been adjusted in Photoshop to produce a workable cartoon. This process helps to clarify and select clear boundaries within the painting. By simplifying the original painting with Photoshop or a similar program I was able to create an image that still retained the integrity of the original painting, while at the same time creating a weavable cartoon which better suited the technical restraints of the low warp count I was working on. 

Note that in this instance the weaving has well and truly deviated from the exactness of the detail, especialy in the dogs main body area. There are 3 reasons for this. The first is that the warp count was too low (there should have been more vertical threads). The second is because the size of the weaving space is too small (it would need to be a much bigger weaving to allow for the detail to be included). And thirdly, it was a play piece of my own, which enabled me to have the freedom of extreme artistic license. It now belongs to Su anyway, who lives near the dingo isle of Fraser, and who also happens to have been born in the year of the Dog.




Temperature Rising

This tapestry and the one below are the 2 entries I submitted to the 2010 Suitcase Exhibition.  This and the one below are the finished works that I wove in response to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. 

Temperature Rising is a comment on our desire for consuming goods and how our desires have a suspected influence on global warming.

                                          Summit Inertia
Summit Inertia shows our Heads of State discussing important matters concerning all of humanity and how they propose to plan for the future state of the planet.

Tapestry weaving WORK IN PROGRESS.




The two tapestries were woven side by side.  Numbered 1-3 above and below, you can follow the works progression and clearly see the cartoon behind the weaving indicating the design lines which need to be followed. With these smaller pieces I usually avoid marking the actual warp threads as the cartoon is small enough to flip up and down into view to use as an adequate enough guide.




Tapestry Weavings By Stephenie Collin


I hope you find Warped Art & Design both interesting and inspiring, and that it will encourage anyone working with fibre to investigate and experiment further within their chosen field.

The basic loom, which is my tool of trade, has remained technologically unchanged. This aspect appeals to me as I weave contemporary images on a machine of such simple and ancient construction.

And if the loom be silenced,
then needles, threads and fingers
have plenty more to say.

About Me

My photo
Waiuku, Auckland, New Zealand
I am an artist, weaver, gardener, mother and grandmother, home food gatherer, political sceptic, modest future eater, and much much more.