Stories from the weave studio – April

April skies

April skies

I was struck by the evening sky just a few weeks ago. Heralding a change in the weather, the mackerel cloud formations are juxtaposed against the manmade vapour trails that traverse the skies. Clouds on many levels, interacting and combining. Mackerel cloud formations are caused by moisture in the mid levels that get trapped between dry air at the surface and dry cold air in high levels of in the atmosphere. The wind and gravity cause the rippled effect, but how much, I wonder, is caused by the passing aircraft. According to weather lore, mackerel skies are a sign of changeable weather, examples include “Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry”. I love these old folklore rhymes that so often ring true. We were in fact heading for a long period warm sunny days, for some of which I was lucky enough to have holiday, although the first weeks of the month were busy finishing weaving scarves and setting up work at the ‘Zeven x weven’ exhibition.

Exhibition: Zeven x weven

Mid-April saw the opening of the exhibition ‘Zeven x weven’ [Seven x weaving] at the Katoendrukkerij in Amersfoort, The Netherlands. The preparation of the exhibition was very rewarding, despite having to negotiate ladders to reach the high ceilings of the exhibition rooms, and it was a real sense of achievement to see the works of the seven different artists and weavers come together in the space, complementing and contrasting with each other. Seven contemporary weavers working in The Netherlands brought together through the vision of Nathalie Cassée, who is the mastermind behind the now thriving Katoendrukkerij, a cultural organisation that promotes the craft of cotton printing in the historic national monument De Volmolen (a former fulling mill where woollen cloth was thickened and cleansed from oil, dirt and other impurities by beating in water). If you are able to, this beautiful building is definitely worth a visit. The work of myself, Daisy van Groningen (guest curator), Theo RoodenChristiane MaurerMirjam HagoortBabs van den Thillart and Marieke Kranenburg will be on display there until 10th July. Please do check the website of the Katoendrukkerij for opening times if you are planning a visit.

Above you can see my wall hangings that will be on show during the exhibition. The two pieces on the left are entitled “Into the blue I” and “Into the blue II”, and on the right is “Compilation IV”. All of the pieces use repurposed unwanted materials such as vintage papers that I have painted and printed. “Compilation IV” uses cassette tape in the weft. My work explores the idea of memory: how memories are made and remembered; how memory is stored and how certain things, such as music, can bring to mind a specific moment in time. The woven cassette tape has music caught in its very fabric, and anyone who has ever made a compilation tape of their favourite songs will identify with the meaning of this piece. Keep an eye on my Instagram for more images of the exhibition.

Original woven artwork for sale

All of the pieces for the ‘Zeven x weven’ exhibition were a culmination of several months work, of experimentation on the loom and testing out different materials. Some of the samples are now available in my online store LiminalWEAVE.

New scarves for spring in lambswool, British wool, linen, hemp and silk

During the ‘Zeven x weven’ exhibition, a selection of my handwoven scarves will be for sale at the Katoendrukkerij in Amersfoort. Using hemp and linen in the warp combined with Merino lambswool or a British wool from Uppingham Yarns and Shantung silk, these scarves are light weight with a fairly open weave which makes them perfect for the unpredictable spring weather. Some similar scarves are available now in my online store LiminalWEAVE.

Gallery visits

In April I visited two inspiring exhibitions: one at Beelden aan Zee, located very close to the sea front at Scheveningen beach. Who doesn’t want to combine a trip to the beach with a gallery visit? (Well maybe my kids who I took along…). As well as the permanent collection, the gallery is currently host to work by the Dutch artist Mark Brusse entitled ‘Shapes of Silence’. Brusse’s work explores death and decay, and their place in western culture. His work has often been called poetic, and his visits to Japan have had a lasting influence. ‘Shapes of Silence’ is very representative of his three-dimensional work, assemblages of wood, ceramics and stone.

Morten Løbner Espersen, the Danish ceramicist, is currently exhibiting at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. His work on display includes a wonderful collection of sample glazes (below left), which in themselves become a work of art. These are part of his exploration of the glaze: he prefers to defy the laws of glazing, creating a tension between the form of the object and the glaze which covers it. Since 2006 Espersen has been applying his glazes to cylindrical forms, an anonymous shape, which does not distract and acts as a blank canvas. Just some of the work on display at the Kunstmuseum is a series of cylinders, uniform in size and only in monochrome colours, thereby focussing entirely on the underlying nuances of colour and texture. The glazes drip and creep over the surface, creating a kind of landscape with hills, bubbles, holes and trenches

Exploring the Normandy coast

After an early start off the night ferry to Caen, Normandy, the family and I arrived at Luc-sur-Mer, one of the Normandy landing beaches during the Second World War. The sun was just rising and patchy mist hung over the small settlements scattered along the coast, drifting inland and giving everything an ethereal, otherworldly feel. We stopped for breakfast, and spent quite some time exploring the beach and seafront. The faded beauty of the weathered buildings, all in the same muted creamy colours, shuttered and silent, coupled with the empty beaches at low tide was very memorable. A huge variety of shells littered the tideline: clams, oysters, mussels, whelks and more. Just sublime. I’m sure those colours will find their way into my work.

Until next time…

Thank you for your interest and support; I wish you all the very best and hope to see you again for my next blog in May. If you’d like to see more of my work and inspirations, I post regularly on Instagram @veronicapock and my work is available online at LiminalWEAVE on Etsy.

Weathered doors at Luc sur Mer
Weathered doorway on the seafront at Luc-sur-Mer, Normandy

Stories from the weave studio – March

Blues and greys

Handwoven papr and mixed yarns

As the saying goes, if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. So far this is holding true with the violent storms at the end of February making way for a long period of milder weather throughout March. With the longer days, warm sunshine and blue skies, and all the plants have taken on a mantel of green, tulips are pushing through, and in the woods anemones and celandines are raising their starry faces to the sun.

Exhibition: Zeven x weven

Just as the March skies have been blue, so have these colours been reflected in the work coming off my loom for the exhibition ‘Zeven x weven’ [Seven x weaving] which opens at the Katoendrukkerij in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, on 13th March and runs until 10th July. I feel very privileged to be part of this upcoming group exhibition together with six other contemporary Dutch weavers, Daisy van Groningen (guest curator), Theo RoodenChristiane MaurerMirjam HagoortBabs van den Thillart and Marieke Kranenburg. The exhibition will showcase our work, demonstrating the varied weaving techniques possible as used by exemplary craftspeople and artists currently working in The Netherlands who are constantly pushing the boundaries of their specialism. Below you can see the many samples that I wove (pictured top left) before settling on the final warp with which to create the wall hangings that will be on show during the exhibition. The four final pieces came off the loom at the beginning of the month, and each has its own distinct characteristics as a result of the materials used and the weave structure. This is one of my fascinations with weave: one warp can lend itself to so many different effects. The possibilities are endless. I’m looking forward to being able to share more images once the pieces have been hung: keep an eye on my Instagram for more details!

Commissioned work

Once the very slow paper weaving for the exhibition had been finished, my loom wasn’t empty for long before I began work on two commissions that have been waiting for attention. I’d already planned the warps for both, mixed yarns (mainly wool) in warm colours combined, in the first case, with a beautiful Alpaca/organic wool yarn ‘Echos’, by the Italian company Sesia, in the weft. The second scarf uses a mixture of yarns in the weft in a simple tabby weave, and relies on the changing of the colours and textures along its length to give the distinctive effect and vibrancy of the colours. The weave structure doesn’t have to be complex to give interesting results. Wool is such a versatile material and still my favourite to weave with – it’s so forgiving on the loom and its inherent stretchiness makes it easy to handle and tension. A real pleasure after working with the temperamental mixed warp I used for the exhibition pieces.

Colour and textural inspiration

I get a lot of my inspiration from nature and my surroundings. However, often it’s the materials that can spark an idea. The beautiful slubby silk yarns (shown below left) from Bart and Francis have a mix of colours that I combine with wool or linen in the weft to add interest. I use anywhere between five and 20 different yarns in the warp, combining them intuitively as I make up the warp. I’ve recently started using a British wool from Uppingham Yarns, spun in Yorkshire by Z. Hinchliffe. This doesn’t shrink and felt as readily as merino lambswool, and when combined with a silk/linen mixed yarn in the weft it gives the resulting fabric more weight and a beautiful drape. The scarf shown below was woven with the remainder of the first commissioned warp (above) using the British wool in the weft and a different weave pattern. The result is quite different, again showing the variety of effects that can result from the same warp depending on the materials used and the weaving draft.

Until next time…

Thank you for reading this far; I wish you all the very best and hope to see you again for my next blog in April. If you’d like to see more of my work and inspirations, I post regularly on Instagram @veronicapock. I hope to see you there.

Nectarine blossom in Orangery at Calke Abbey

Stories from the weave studio – February

Back to the loom

Woven sample with floating threads

February has been a month of grey and stormy days interspersed by glimpses of blue skies and a promise of spring. I have finally been able to return to my loom after what seems like a long time away, and weaving has resumed.

Zeven x weven

Having woven a full 8 metre warp of smaller sample pieces, I’ve been able to determine the direction of my work for my forthcoming group exhibition “zeven x weven” at the Katoendrukkerij in Amersfoort (April-June inclusive).

I’ve now made up the final full width (48 cm) warp and begun weaving. From the samples, I learnt that I needed more colour and white in the warp to lift the pieces and give them more interest, otherwise everything was a little too sombre. As well as the previous hemp, linen, synthetic space-dyed yarn and black paper yarn, the new warp has a blue linen yarn, a brown raffia-type yarn and white paper yarn added to it in varying proportions. Making a warp is the first step of commitment to a piece; once on the loom it’s difficult to make adjustments.

Once the loom had been dressed and the heddles and reed threaded, I began to prepare the weft material. I’ve been using embossed paper which I’ve block printed with an abstracted motif taken from an antique map of Amersfoort. The motif is placed randomly, and the paper is then shredded into strips so that it can be placed between the warp on the loom. This is a meticulous and time consuming process, but well worth it for the result.

I hope to be able to take the finished pieces off the loom shortly … watch this space!

Exploring colour

Whether it is the thought of spring, or just a new direction for my colour choices, I’ve recently begun to use more vivid green in my colour palette. In a collection of scarves woven in November I used a lime green in the warp, and I’ve run with this in some recent mixed media collage work. I often revert to working on paper to explore colour combinations, and these works and my woven practice co-exist, one drawing on the other for inspiration. I love the freedom and immediacy that working on paper gives – a real contrast to weave. Playing with acrylic paints, monoprint and ink washes gives interesting results. I’m particularly liking the combination of a vivid poisonous green with an earthy brown overwash, and can see this combining nicely in a woven piece.

The forms I use investigate the relationships between shapes, negative space and corresponding forms that our eye automatically fills in for us. A sharp contrast between crisply cut lines, soft painterly washes and torn edges provides tension or balance.

Commissioned work

Whilst working with the very slow paper weaving on my loom, I’ve also been planning the warp for a new commissioned scarf, which will be woven in a mixed warp (mainly wool) in warm colours, combined with a beautiful Alpaca/organic wool yarn ‘Echos’, by the Italian company Sesia, in the weft. Wool is such a versatile material and still my favourite to weave with – it’s so forgiving on the loom and its inherent stretchiness makes it easy to handle and tension on the loom.

New work on canvas

During January I made several large mixed media works on canvas, and I was very happy to have all three accepted by the Kunstuitleen Voorburg – ‘Winter trees’, ‘Weathering the storm’ and ‘Cold moon rising’ are shown below.

Until next time…

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

Stephen Hawking

I wish you all the very best and hope to see you again for my next blog in March.

Samples on moodboard

Stories from the weave studio – January

Liminal space

Sunrise over frosty canal

January. A liminal time. A transitory space. Caught between the old year and the new. A time to look forwards and to review the past. The start of a new year that still has to find its identity whilst processing all that the old year brought with it. Named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, time, duality, passages and endings, and depicted as having two faces, one facing the old year and one looking forwards to the new, it heralds new beginnings based on past experiences. With that thought, I’ve been reviewing old work, as well as planning new.

Retrospective: colours of Iceland

In 2016 I visited Iceland and the place captured my heart and imagination. The black sand beaches, the dramatic landscapes shaped by ice and fire, the blue of the bergs in the glacial lagoon. This visit gave rise to designs with a strong graphic element and contrasts of dark and light, blue, charcoal and ecru. This resulting one-off fabric was made into these striking bolster cushions.

Annie Morris at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Over the winter break, I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield in Yorkshire, one of my favourite places to spend time. It has extensive grounds and takes in the stunning countryside, the dramatic Emly Moor and rolling hills. Sculpture in nature seems like a natural pairing: work by Henry Moore and Babara Hepworth are prominent, Andy Goldworthy, Damien Hirst and Ai Wei Wei all sit well in the stunning landscape. I’ve been visiting since 1990, and it never fails to disappoint.

My most recent visit took in the site specific installation “When a Happy Thing Falls” by Annie Morris at the Weston gallery. To enter the gallery was to walk into an abstract piece of art, to wander through it, around it, and gaze up at it. A truly immersive experience bathing in and absorbing colour that feels both joyful and intriguing.

“My sculptures are about holding onto something that’s fallen, and to express the hope and defiance of life. The vibrant pigment on the surface is a way of trying to freeze the moment when paint hasn’t yet dried, and is caught in its most raw form. They assemble to create abstract paintings that escalate upwards and express the fragility we all feel in our lives.” Annie Morris

Ongoing work on the loom

On my loom, still waiting for me to return, is the hemp, linen, paper and synthetic space-dyed yarn in the warp that I’m using to make samples for my forthcoming group exhibition “zeven x weven” at the Katoendrukkerij in Amersfoort. Next week will see me continuing with this work to finish the sampling warp and begin work on the actual pieces.

Mixed media and embroidery on canvas

Alongside my woven work, I also make mixed media work on paper and canvas. This is an important step in exploring different ideas, colours and patterns that are all reflected in woven pieces at some point. Collage with painted and printed papers can lead to unexpected results that are stored away for future use. Another technique I use is embroidery – this usually comes towards the end of the process and tightens up the whole piece, providing a sharp linear contrast with the often painterly soft shapes and blurred colours of the collages papers. This work takes inspiration from the trees and plants in my local surroundings and simple words from songs and poems – ‘Cold moon rising’ and ‘Weathering the storm’ are shown below.

Until next time…

So in this between time, this transitory month that still feels nested in the past more than forging into the future, my work has been slow. And the month has already almost slipped out of reach. In my garden daffodils are surging ahead, and the birds are busy. With the noticeably lengthening evenings, it feels almost springlike in the weak winter sunshine. Imbolc, also called Saint Brigid’s Day, a Gaelic traditional festival on the 1 February, marks the beginning of spring, halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It certainly feels as if spring is on its way.

Thinner and thinner wears the cloth,
however; moths pass out of sight,
beyond belief, their absence is briefly
noted, if at all, as distant memory,
half-forgotten grief.

From Moth – The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane

I’m looking forward to what February holds – more weaving and progress I hope. I hope to see you then for my February blog.

Sunrise over the allotment

Stories from the weave studio – December


Last hydrangea bloom

The midwinter solstice on 21st December came just a couple of days after the full cold moon, the last full moon of 2021, which also brought the first hoar frost of the winter. Bright blue skies and the world transformed, magical and glistening. The ground at my allotment was covered by a crisp frozen shell. A last hydrangea bloom shone out like a star, and the dead grasses and seedheads were dressed in silver.

The longest night was clear and bone cold, and familiar constellations vied for attention in the spiralling sky. Gazing upwards into the night sky somehow magnifies the loneliness and fragility of earth, so small and insignificant in the vast vacuum of space. On nights like this, I feel very conscious of the constellations rushing and whirling through space in their continuous lonely dance across the heavens.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.

Escape at Bedtime by Robert Louis Stevenson

New work – paper weaving

In the spring of 2022, together with six other weavers, I will be taking part in a group exhibition at the Katoendrukkerij in Amersfoort. I’ll be displaying new work drawing on the history of the building and its current use as a block printing workplace and heritage centre. Currently on my loom is a series of smaller woven pieces – experimental samples using hemp, linen, paper and synthetic space-dyed yarn in the warp and handprinted, handmade papers in the weft. Intrigued by the history of the Katoendrukkerij (cotton printing factory), which was originally a woollen mill, and its location in Amersfoort, I abstracted an image of an antique map of Amersfoort from the 17th century, and made a very rudimentary block print using balsa wood. My crude attempt only serves to highlight the skill of the craftspeople carving the original block prints in hardwood. So far I have an interesting collection of samples on which to base my final work.

New collection of scarves

Reflections in a still canal, and leaves caught before they sink and decay. Colours ripple on the surface: sky, tree, leaf, bird. All these colours and textural effects are stored in my visual memory and resurface on the loom. This month I decided to challenge my usual colour choices by making up a lambswool warp using an almost fluorescent lime green, chamomile pink, moss greens and sky blue warp. Limiting my colours to six and then randomising the order in which these are threaded onto the loom gives rise to serendipitous patterns and effects in the weave. By further varying the weave pattern, I can create an individually unique, yet still coherent, series of designs. The effects achieved echo the complexity of colour in nature. Nothing is flat colour, everything seems to be composed a myriad of different shades and hues.

Honeycomb weave

A favourite weave pattern of mine is the honeycomb weave. This sculptural weave works well when using very contrasting materials in the warp and weft, for example, very fine yarns in the warp combined with very thick threads in the weft. There is a huge amount of depth in the resulting material. The pieces below use the hemp, linen, paper and synthetic space-dyed warp together with vintage newspaper (left) and recycled string (right). Once off the loom, when the tension has been released, the individual cells become even more pronounced.


Ending the year with a holiday in the UK has been a real pleasure – some time to relax, restore, renew. The pandemic has meant that social contacts have been very limited, but it’s been relatively easy to find space and solitude in the beautiful countryside in the local area. At one of my favourite National Trust properties, Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, the gardens are quiet and ready for the new year to begin. Signs of fresh growth are still few and far between, but nature seems poised in her slumber, ready to burst into life now that the days are getting longer again. The threshold of the new year beckons.

Calke Abbey doorway

Until next time…

Trees in winter have a stark beauty, etched against the sky. With all their leaves gone, their structure is exposed, fractal, but strong, not vulnerable.

The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing.
Memories growing, ring on ring,
A series of weddings.

From Winter Trees by Sylvia Plath

For the time being, I’m enjoying winter walks amongst the woods and hills, and preparing to return to my studio in January. My paper weaving is waiting for me there – slow, fragile, patient work for a new year.

Bare trees against the sky

Stories from the weave studio – November


Tree over canal in Haagse Bos

November has been a golden month – the woods are filled with yellow, gold, ochre, acid lemon, russet, umber, and sap green. Glorious colours that are now fading to more subdued greys and browns, highlighting even more the remaining leaves that still cling to the branches despite the recent windy weather. Autumn sees deciduous trees preparing for the cold months ahead – “an expression of death which is also renewal.” As the temperatures fall and the day length shortens, the trees reduce their production of chlorophyll, the pigment that makes them green, revealing the underlying reds, golds and yellows of the carotenoids, tannins and anthrocyanins. The tree withdraws the vital components and chemicals it needs to photosynthesise to store them before dropping its leaves. We are rewarded with a glorious riot of colour, heralding the onset of winter.

Autumn colours

During November I’ve made up two new warps to make eight scarves in total. I’ve felt a need to work in bright colours, and was very inspired by the blazing colours of the smoke bush in my garden. During the summer this bush is a beautiful rich purplish red, but in autumn it morphs into a dazzling array of oranges, reds, yellows and rich plum. Using these colours as inspiration, I put together a warp made up of gradations of colours, from rich chocolatey browns to soft marshmallow pink, glowing oranges and hot pinks. I place the colours intuitively as I make up the warp. This one uses 15-20 different yarns across its width, mostly Merino lambswool, grown in Australia, which is where the Geelong sheep breed thrives best (it’s not suited to the damp Northern European climate), and spun in Denby Dale, Yorkshire by Z. Hinchliffe and Sons. I’ve also used some ‘dead stock’ or surplus waste yarns, and knitting yarns to add interest and texture. Each of the four scarves woven from this warp uses a different pattern or material in the weft, so each one is completely unique. Using the lambswool, I can play with the interactions of the different colours, as the Z. Hinchliffe lambswool comes in a huge range of colours. A chunkier version uses softest Alpaca and organic wool from Sesia, spun in Italy and grown according to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). A third variation uses slubby natural silk and linen in the weft, which gives a scarf with a slightly heavier drape.


The second warp is a reworking of a sample woven a couple of years ago, with gradations from mauve to brown to fuchsia to grey to brick red. Colour and textural inspirations came from the dogwood leaves and stems captured on a windy outing to the National Forest over the half-term break.

These scarves are available in my shop on Etsy at LiminalWEAVE.


I’ve begun to explore my visits to the Orford Ness nature reserve off the coast of Suffolk through markmaking using mono print, acrylic paint, crayon and graphite. I’m drawn to the wildness of the place and the dark nature of its past, being used during the Cold War for ballistics testing and surveillance techniques. The colours and freedom of the marks represent the spirit of the Ness, a windswept stretch of shingle and saltmarsh at the mercy of the tides, brooding under the dark skies. This colour palette has also crept into my recent yarn purchases – beautiful steely greys and blues in hemp, cotton and wool.


The Haagse Bos is a wooded area of predominantly beech trees, right in the centre of The Hague, hemmed in by heavy traffic on all sides. I walk there almost every day, and the ebb and flow of the seasons grounds me and maintains a much needed contact with nature. As the climate changes, the seasons alter and the temperatures rise, beechwoods are slowly, imperceptibly migrating to cooler climates. As one tree dies, another springs up ever so slightly further north. It’s sad to think that in the future this oasis in the city might not exist in its current state.

Haagse Bos dark tree trunks

Robert Macfarlane’s “The Wild Places” sets out to discover the wilderness that still remains in our crowded and overly managed natural environments, in his case Britain. His writing vividly conjures up the beechwoods, forests, summits, saltmarsh (Orford Ness) and holloways (ancient pathways worn into the land itself over time) he visits. Ultimately he concludes that wildness is all around us – you just have to look for it; nature is never far away.

In a similar thread, I recently enjoyed reading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. The title alludes to the part of the forest that protrudes above the canopy, but could also be interpreted as the encompassing motive that links the characters in the book who come from different walks of life and ultimately brings them all together. It tells the life stories of nine humans who all have a unique relationship with trees, either through tragedy or salvation, and who come together to become environmentalists and protect what is arboreal. It’s a thought-provoking book and leaves a lasting impression.

Until next time…

I have fallen back in love with weaving this month, settling into the rhythm of the process. As I weave, I’m constantly thinking of the next piece that will take shape on my loom, and different colour combinations begin to form in my mind. November is coming to a close with wild weather: storms, hail, lightning and rain. Leaves tumble in eddies ahead of the chasing wind, their glowing colours bright against the darkening pavements. It’s a time to be out in the weather, embracing the storm and confronting the cold. Events in the wider world are threatening and unpredictable, and nature is a force to be reckoned with, but is a constant that has a quiet strength. I wait to see what December will bring.

Limetree leaves

Stories from the weave studio – October


Blues skies and vapour trails

Crisp mornings, blue skies and vapour trails. The world is opening up again. A reawakening of the need to connect with people and places. The once empty skies and roads are busy again after what has been a moment of respite for the natural world. Sometimes the frantic pace of the morning rush hour catches me unawares and can be overwhelming after the quiet times of lockdown. However, I can recognise in myself the need to reach out, to reconnect, to see loved ones and seek out different vistas.

Open studio

Early October saw me opening my studio as part of The Netherlands Weefnetwerk ontmoeting (‘meeting’ or ‘gathering’). It was a great opportunity to meet other weavers and to share my knowledge and skills with others. It also was an opportunity to tidy my studio (much needed!) and re-evaluate my more recent work, to consider the direction I want my future work to take. Thank you to everyone who came to see me.

Mixed media work

As part of my creative practice, I’ve been continuing to explore colour, form and texture through mixed media work, monoprinting, drawing and collage. New colour combinations and compositions are emerging.

Work of others

Visiting other artists’ studios is a real privilege and insight into their work. The open studios event that took place recently in The Hague gave me the opportunity to visit a number of artists and craftspeople working in the Spanjaardshof. The building itself was inspiring, with its fading splendour and elaborate tiling, and it provided a wonderful backdrop to Angeline Dekker’s site-specific installation, as well as work by Jurjen Ravenhorst, Derek Wel Bergen and Anne Rose Regenboog.

English tabby weave

I recently bought “The Weaving Handbook” by Åsa Pärson and Amica Sundström. This book is invaluable as both an introduction to weaving techniques, giving ideas for projects, but also has a very useful library of weave patterns with corresponding images showing how the resulting fabric will appear. Useful for both beginners and more experiences weavers. It has led me to explore a new weave pattern: tabby weave. One of the simplest weave structures, I have reinterpreted English tabby using varied textures and colours, including multiple yarns, to create ombré effects in the fabric. These lambswool and silk pieces are destined to become scarves (available on LiminalWEAVE).

Interior fabrics inspired by Scottish coastlines

Using the softest organic wool and alpaca blend ‘Echos’ by the Italian company Sesia, whose yarns are produced with organic blends certified by ICEA (Italian Insitute of Ethical and Environmental Certification) according to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) standards, I am in the process of creating a new collection of cushions. These will soon appear on Masters and Crafters and LiminalWEAVE. The colour palette is inspired by the coastlines of the Isle of Mull, one of the Innner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. The blacks and greys of the sea-battered rocks, the gold and ochre of the seaweed, the white beaches and the tufts of pink flowering sea thrift come together to form a restful contemporary series of pieces.

Until next time…

This month has seen me rediscovering the sense of inner peace that the act of weaving brings, and I’ve started both to follow new threads of ideas and to revisit old ones, such as the reworking of an older sample piece – the new piece is taking shape on the loom (image below). The creative flow that I was missing over the summer has returned and I can’t wait to delve deeper. October is my favourite month, poised on the edge of the renewal that winter brings, with its wild windy weather and glorious raging colours as the trees withdraw into their dormant phase. I look forward to seeing what November will bring as the winter months take their course.

On the loom today

Stories from the weave studio – September

A new season

Sketches detail

September has seen a return to school, routine and time in the studio. There is a change in the air, a crispness to the mornings, and it’s been one of those glorious summery Septembers – warm days where everything seems to be preparing itself for a new season, with autumn just around the corner, a final fling before the colder nights arrive. The autumn equinox has meant a shift in the light, with darker mornings and night falling sooner.

Returning to the studio, I have some sketches on my wall from earlier this year that are providing inspiration for new work. Using a combination of collage, mono print and drawing, I explore new ideas, and pattern and colour combinations in this way. While contemplating these, I have also taken time to finish work left on the loom before the summer holidays began. This is something I find helps me get back into work more quickly after a period away. A warp already on the loom, in this case one of mixed linen fibres, that I have had time mull over in the back of my mind so I can immediately return to the rhythm of the weaving, selecting colours and finding the creative flow to finish pieces. The result is two linen, lambswool and shantung silk scarves. The warp was originally used for a commission, also a scarf, but the additional two (below) are now available in my online shop LiminalWEAVE.

Collage, sketches and mixed media: developing a design

My inspiration comes from many sources: nature, architecture, materials, textiles… and all these are pulled together through sketches I make, usually spontaneously and quickly. Collage is a fantastic way of working as elements can easily be moved around to experiment with interactions between colours, textures and patterns. I sometimes manipulate these sketches digitally to create repeating designs which lend themselves to developing an idea for a design on the loom.

I have some new yarns to work with: the softest organic wool and alpaca blend ‘Echos’ by Sesia from Uppingham Yarns. Organic Sesia yarns are produced with organic blends certified by ICEA (Italian Insitute of Ethical and Environmental Certification) according to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) standards. Sustainability and traceability are extremely important to me, and I am trying to incorporate more of such materials into my work.

I’ve already begun to combine these exquisite yarns into an exclusive collection of cushions for interiors – a new collaboration I’m working on.

Interior styling: By Ten Creations

It’s been a real pleasure to collaborate with By Ten Creations, who have a number of my cushions, woven in locally grown wool, and woven art wall hangings. Intent on creating a restful and meditative atmosphere in the home, their beautiful photographs represent perfectly the carefully selected items and artisanal one-off pieces stocked in their online store. Here are some of their recent images that perfectly sum up their signature style: effortless simplicity rooted in nature.

Colder mornings

Inspired by the winter landscape of de Vlietland, a wetland area near my home in The Hague, I have created a number of cowl scarves for those chilly mornings. The colours echo the dried reedbeds, the bare tree branches, the water and the dogwood stems flaming red in a weak winter sun. Again, these cowl scarves are available in my shop LiminalWEAVE

Woven art textiles and exhibition: capturing memories

This piece was recently on show as part of the WEEFNETWERK exhibition (17-26 September, Steenfabriek at Gilze, The Netherlands). Woven in vintage maps and mill-end yarns, it repurposes unwanted yarns and attempts to solidify the memories carried by the materials. The exhibition was in an atmospheric, beautifully restored brick factory in Brabant, in the South of The Netherlands, and the exhibition included an extensive and diverse selection of the work of the many talented weavers who make up the ‘weaving network’ here in The Netherlands.

Honeycomb woven paper map

Until next time…

Here in The Netherlands the warm summer weather continues, but the leaves are already starting to take on their autumn splendour, and the nights are drawing in. I look forward to see what the new season brings, and hope to see you here again for my next blog in October as I continue on my journey through the ever-changing year.

Hydrangea blooms beginning to fade

Stories from the weave studio: August

Time out

Calgary Bay sunset

A perfect evening at Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland; the sea like a silver mirror and the sky turning pastel shades as the sun sets. The sound of the waves and cries of oyster catchers at the edge of the water. A gaggle of Barnacle geese pass overhead, looking for grazing in the nearby fields. A moment of calm. Earlier in the week, the first evening of the holiday, I sat out late, watching the stars appear until the sky was full, and wished upon shooting stars, space dust that fell as the Earth passed through debris associated with the Swift-Tuttle comet precipitating the Perseid meteor shower. Across the valley, Tawny owls call to each other, beginning their nightly hunt. This holiday was a much-needed haven of inspiration and restoration; a time to visit family and friends after almost a year of absence, and a time to travel, to reconnect with those special places that brings silence amongst all the noise.

After almost a year of restricted travel, I feel lucky to have been able to return to the UK during August, to see family and friends, and to holiday on the Isle of Mull; I feel recharged and ready for the colder months. The value of being able to travel, to explore and experience different places is vital to the progressions of my work. August is a month where not much weaving happens, but I have some exciting projects beginning to take shape, and after a month away from the loom, I’m itching to get back to it. 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is one of those special places. A place for art and nature to coexist in the rolling parklands that surround Bretton Hall. I first discovered YSP whilst studying in Sheffield in the early 1990s, and wandered amongst the Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore works that sit so comfortably in the Yorkshire landscape. The walk around the perimeter and up to the Longside Gallery passes works by Andy Goldsworthy, with views out towards Emley Moor. Inside the gallery, with its changing collection, I found, among other work, pieces by Rachel Whiteread and Alice Channer – whose work I was later this month was to discover at Orford Ness.

The Isle of Mull: a special place

Mull and Calgary Bay have become a part of my life. First discovered while on a cycling tour of the Hebrides some 15 years ago, Mull is somewhere I have returned to almost every year now. It has witnessed first me, then me accompanied by my children, who have played happily on the white sands of Calgary Bay each summer and have also grown attached to this place. The colour and textures, the light, the wonders of its nature, the ever-changing weather, the feeling of being exposed to the vastness of the Atlantic. These are all a part of its magic.

Tobermory, the largest settlement on Mull, is home to An Tobar Arts Centre, cafe and gallery. In the gallery at the time of my visit was a collection of screen printed textiles by Eve Campbell exploring the shapes and patterns of the ‘cultural landscapes’ in the Hebrides, and inspired by the intricate patterns formed by the marks of nature and by the island’s inhabitants over thousands of years. This was accompanied by a fascinating collection of aerial photographs of stone fanks, or sheepfolds, on Mull, Iona and Ulva, by local Carolyne Mazur. These structures are scattered across the island, and illustrate changes in crofting and farming life over the last 200 years, themselves becoming abstract images perfectly capturing the colours and atmospheres of Mull and its sister-islands.

Orford Ness: nature prevails

I recently visited the Orford Ness Nature Reserve and former military testing site on the Suffolk coast, UK. Managed by the National Trust, nature is regaining its hold on this very special piece of coastline, a constantly shifting spit of shingle and salt marshes formed by the prevailing northerly wind. During the 20th century, and especially the Cold War, it was used to test aircraft, communications and weapons. The now eerily abandoned structures are submitting to the onslaught of the weather and flora.

It currently hosts ‘Afterness’ – an exhibition of new artworks by various artists in conjunction with Artangel. ‘Lethality and Vulnerability’ by Alice Channer, housed in The Shelter, is a writhing organic structure that escapes its space through the windows of the building, echoing the brambles and other flora that are consuming the manmade structures.

Black Beacon, originally constructed to develop radio systems for marine navigation, houses the ‘Library of Sound’. This collection of archival sound recordings captured on Ness by Iain Chambers, Chris Watson and Brian d’Souza morphs the sounds of the spit into atmospheric music.

This exhibition requires commitment – a long walk, as the artworks are installed on the far side of the spit, which can only be reached by booking a boat via the National Trust. This unsettling yet beautiful place will surely find its way into my future work. 

‘Ness’, a novella/prose poem by Rob Macfarlane and illustrated by Stanley Donwood, tells the story of a salt-and-shingle island where the land is coming to life to reclaim its own. From the book:

Listen. Listen now. Listen to Ness.

Ness speaks. Ness speaks gull, speaks wave, speaks bracken & lapwing, speaks bullet, ruin, gale, deception.

Song of Ness, the drifting song, the final song …’

The bomb is buried beneath more layers of moss, more layers of moths.

The ferro-concrete is experiencing uncontrolled ruination.

Willow flourishes as forest, elder jungles each dip, each hollowness.

The falcon is bearing the day away.

The foreshore is moving as if it were alive, because it is alive.

After moonrise. Long light. Low sun. Slow dusk.

Shingle hush from distal to Ness.

Woven art textiles and exhibition: capturing memories

Weaving purely as an art form, creating art pieces intended as wall art for interiors, has been a focus of my work this year. It enables me to experiment freely and work with unusual materials. In July, I finished a second collection of wallhangings, and some of my work will be displayed at the upcoming WEEFNETWERK exhibition (17-26 September, Steenfabriek at Gilze, The Netherlands). I’m currently looking for more opportunities to exhibit my work.

Three Peaks map handwoven in honeycombe

New palette and future work

For September I have a new palette of colours to work with. I’ll be working on a new collection of cushions and soft furnishings. I’m currently having a sale of older designs, scarves and cushions, in my online shop LiminalWeave.

Until next time…

Here in The Netherlands it feels like summer is mellowing into autumn, and dusk falls earlier as we approach the September equinox; there’s a sense of change in the air. I look forward to seeing you here again for my next blog in September as I continue on my journey through the ever-changing year.

With warm August wishes, Veronica

Towards the mainland from Mull
Across the Sound of Mull towards the Scottish mainland

Stories from the weave studio: July

High summer


Like shooting stars, the grasses at the side of the path catch my attention. Their seed heads are full and heavy. July has been hot and very dry here in Zuid Holland. Time slips by in a heady rush of end of term activities, a summer holiday feel and plans for travel further afield. We wait with bated breath to see if everything can go ahead. The studio has been tidied and the loom waits quietly; it is dressed with a linen warp, poised to be woven after the holidays.

The story of a scarf: a commission

I was recently commissioned to weave a scarf for a friend of a friend. It’s always a privilege to be asked to do this, and I love the challenges a new brief brings. I find it really helps to know a little about the person I’m weaving for, as this informs the materials and colours I use. Once these basics have been decided, I can then select the yarns – this time I’m using a linen warp composed of mixed weights, with a weft made up of soft merino lambswool and beautiful shantung silk from Bart and Francis which comes in luscious mixed shades.

The warp is made up on the warping frame to 48cm plus selvedge, and once it’s on the loom I can begin to weave a sample, trying out different colours and designs. This is the most playful part, where ideas can be explored – sometime they work, sometimes they don’t. The woven sample is cut from the loom, and washed, just as the finished scarf will be. There is shrinkage of around 15% across the width, less along the length, but all this must be accounted for when weaving the final piece.

Once I know the client is happy with the sample – they can pick out the parts they like and dislike – I’m ready to weave the final piece. This particular commission used a painting as its inspiration, so I had a good idea of the colours to use and their proportions. I combined merging patterns with varying colours drifting into each other using ombre effects to complete the finished article.

Memory: a study in weave

The landscape holds imprints and traces that we leave and that are left by the passage of time: contours, striations, layers of time and historical artefacts. In this recent series of work, I’ve used actual maps, sought out and collected from antique shops.

Whilst weaving with the maps, fragments of names and geographical features jump out at me: Old Quarry, Springs, The Arks, Ringle Mill Cave, Horton Scar, Little Wood, Coronation Point, Pile of Stones… How did they come to be there? Who named them and when?

“… I … imagined the depths of history the soil held – Neolithic, Iron Age, Bronze Age, Roman, Augustan, down through all of which the beech roots quested….” – Robert Macfarlane, “The Old Ways”

The woven wall hangings have a quiet presence, but on closer inspection are full of detail that holds the attention. The history of the actual maps also becomes important: discolourations and markings give the paper character. I’ve used a limited number of weave structures which give different effects depending on the materials used. Honeycomb weave emulates the undulations of a hilly landscape, twill echoes the rhythm of ploughed fields or regularly planted crops.

From sheep’s fleece to woven fabric

It was a pleasure recently to be able to see the flock of locally grazed Drentse Heide sheep of Grazend Populair being shorn. The process was done with care and attention, and the sheep seemed relieved to be rid of their bulky fleeces. The wool from these sheep is spun into yarn which I’ve used combined with fine merino and Shetland type wools to make a limited edition series of cushions. Some are available now online in my webshop LiminalWEAVE; others are available at by_ten_creations styling.

Midwinter: mixed media artwork

This recently finished work on canvas harks back to the cold days of winter in the woods. Blues, golds and browns contrast with acid yellow embroidered highlights, a technique that I use a lot in my work on paper and canvas. It’s time consuming, but it gives the contrast and sharp outlines that I otherwise find difficult to achieve using other markmaking techniques. This piece of work has gone through many changes, with large sections of it being painted over before I could achieve the feeling I wanted. That’s often the way with a larger work. More of my artwork can be seen at

Thank you for joining me again at this balancing point in the year, where the fresh new growth of spring and lush decadence of high summer begins to shift towards autumn’s arrival. I hope to see you here again for my next blog in September as I continue on my journey through the year.

With warm July wishes, Veronica

Goose grass