Today, 21st December, marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The longest night. It’s a time for tradition, timeless festivals and rituals. For bringing light into the darkness with candles and fires. The days are short and the woods are bare, the tree branches laid naked against the sky. The low sun throws its weak rays across the landscape and the colour is rarified. Cold mornings with ice forming on the canal.
As a weaver, something that I feel very strongly is a connection to the past, to the skilled artisans who have woven cloth since the first rudimentary looms were developed to weave flax in ancient Egypt in 5000 BC. I feel connected to the past, connected to the materials, and connected to the fabric that itself that has so many traditions and memories associated with it.
A quiet time
The last commission of the year has now been woven and cut free from the loom. The studio lies silent and still, holding its breath, waiting to see what the next year will bring. This is a quiet time in the studio, but full of potential. A time to reflect on the year that’s passing (and what a year 2020 has proven to be), a time to plan for the year to come.
Complexity out of simplicity
I already have plans for my next pieces of work. These will be more experimental, using some unusual combinations of materials. There are so many possibilities with weaving, the choice of material, colour, texture and pattern, that I find it important to simplify my choices when starting a new body of work. The weaving patterns I use are actually quite simple, and I have a small number of designs that I use to weave with; the complexity comes in the choice and combination of colours and textures, something that comes from years of experience in working with the material.
Throughout this year I discovered a way of working with different colours and materials, and what I’ve learned will continue to evolve throughout next year.
Weaving on the loom is being in a constant state of flow, progressing onwards as the unwoven warp moves through the loom and onto the front beam, transformed into woven fabric.
At the beginning of the year, no-one could have predicted what upheaval 2020 would bring. Moving into 2021, the world is in a state of flux. Just as at the start of a new piece of work, I don’t know what will lie at the end of the journey or how the path will evolve. Thank you for reading this far. I hope to see you here again for my next blog in January; I’d love to have you join me on my journey through the year.
Have a wonderful festive season, stay safe and all the very best for the new year.
This calendar for 2021 features my unique handwoven designs and is available now in my shop.