Dotty has her own range of products

To my surprise my chicken design has proved so popular amongst my friends and visitors to the blog, I have decided to begin work on creating Dotty her own range of products. After weaving almost continuously for the past couple of months I have managed to weave off several metres of the design.

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I thought I would begin with marking out and sewing together some cushion covers. I am keen to make the zips a focal point and in this instance have opted for striking red ones.

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I have put aside enough fabric to design a range of clasp purses and bags. The remainder I have framed, personally I think the design looks rather nice as a piece of wall art.

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Prototyping and production

Alot of experimenting has taken place in the last few months. The lampshades construction proved suprisingly straight forward once I had collected together the necessary equipment and woven off the fabric, I found some great easy to follow tutorial videos online.

Once I had determined the height and circumference of the shade I wanted to make, I cut out the appropriate sized self adhesive PVC backing material. This then needed to be secured to the fabric the best way to do this is to peel and stick a few inches at a time until the PVC is completely attached. It maybe necessary to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets.

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Cut around the PVC leaving a extra inch of fabric around the edge. To ensure a clean finish the ends need to be folded and taped down, the next job is to add double sided tape along the two remaining edges of the PVC material.

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Now the tricky bit, hold the metal lampshade ring in each hand while carefully rolling them simultaneously along the edges of the PVC, taking care to follow the line of double sided sticky tape and to move both rings forward at the same speed.

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The final task is to tuck the edge of the fabric over the metal rings and to secure it in place. To tidy up the frayed edges they need to be pushed back under the metal frame.

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One consideration I will make with any future lampshade making is to be more careful with my choice of weave structure. The thickness of the fabric definitely impacts greatly on the finish of the shade.

 

 

 

 

Chevron Chic

In between weaving off the larger sample pieces from my earlier projects I have been working on ideas for a couple of new collections.

I’m not usually the one to follow trends but over the last few years chevron patterns have become increasingly popular. I think for me its appeal comes from the similarity they share with the herringbone and twill patterns which appear extensively in woven fabric.

Its not hard to notice chevron markings in interior design and architecture but for some time now they have been infiltrating fashion, advertising and much more. This simple pattern comprises of a series of inverted Vs and is more commonly known as the zig-zag.

Although the chevron pattern can be traced back as far as 1800 B.C. with is earliest incarnations appearing on pottery and in rock carvings. My own research has been influenced by African tribal markings and ceramics, which heavily utilize these patterns. Most of my photographic research was taken at The Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas exhibition at New York’s MET.

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My main focus for this small project has been to experiment with as many structural variations and differing scale options as time would allow, below are just a few examples

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I’m looking forward to developing these samples into something exciting in the coming months.

Windings

Windings (wrappings) play such an important roll in my weaving process. They are one of my favourite design tools.

I find as my weave collection develops I want to create more winding’s to work from. I think adding additional drawings and winding’s as a project progresses is important to keep ideas fresh and developing.

Although there is no substitute for sampling, I find them an effective way of trying out different combinations of colour and texture. They allow me to develop colour palettes and narrow down my choice of yarns for the warp and weft.

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Not all of them I do out of necessity more often than not they are simply one offs and a means to extract from an image the colours I find so appealing.

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Loom and studio

Late last year I took the decision to relocate my loom back into the house, I was worried as winter approached what effect the extended cold months and damp environment would have on the computerised mechanism of the loom. As a result my garden studio is looking a little empty now.

On the plus side this has freed up considerable space and has allowed me the opportunity to re-organise my yarns and ever expanding book and magazine collection, which now fills the remainder of the wall space.

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(Can you spot Dot the Chicken in the photo)

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My loom (a 24 shaft AVL studio dobby loom) is now safely stored in the spare room come 2nd studio away from the effects of any inclement weather.  The loom itself I bought second hand a couple of  years ago and since then have added a 2nd beam and hundreds of additional heddles, which has allowed more scope in my design work in particular work with double cloth. I use the WeaveMaker software for the majority of my design work and this runs in conjunction with my loom.

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Looking to the future I am keen to buy a 2nd loom one which has a greater weaving width as I am restricted at present to only 20  inches.

Progress

I can’t believe it’s been such a long time since I last updated. My weaving has remained pretty constant over this period, I have been busy developing new ideas and weaving off existing ones. As I discussed in an earlier post my intention was to weave off much larger pieces of fabric from one of my favourite collections.

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I have made excellent progress with this and I am now at a point that I can begin work experimenting and prototyping products. what a wonderful feeling it is to see all my months of hard work planning and designing finally be at a usable stage.

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I began by making a small collection of cushion covers, I think the scale of my designs and choice of yarn lend themselves better to home furnishing products, although I have not completely ruled out developing a range for fashion in the future.

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One thing I think is missing from the designs is a way of identifying that they are mine, perhaps branding them in some way is crucial. I need to do a bit of research into printed tags I can sew onto the products.

Moustache mania

Attraction, repulsion the fascination with men’s facial hair takes on many forms. It was in fact a friends unwavering appreciation that first inspired this design.

Originally intended as a piece of wall art the design process was enormous fun. The moustache is definitely the male accessory of the moment. Researching the various styles and shapes proved enlightening. Pencil, walrus and handlebar these words all had very different meanings before I began this project.

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The challenge came when transforming my research into a suitable weavable design, The warp was set up as a simple point draft threaded over all 24 shafts. I used an extra weft technique to create the moustache shape. 

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Along the way I experimented with various scales, spacing and colours, settling on a simple monochrome palette for my first trial

 

This is only the beginning, there is still more experimenting to be done. I definitely think the spacing needs to be addressed as some of them appear a little bunched up at present. The order of the moustache styles could also be improved. To be continued….

 

 

 

Crazy chicken lady continued

I thought it best before I begin making up my new warp, I would use the remaining few feet of an existing one I still have threaded onto my loom. A simple point draft threaded over all 24 shafts provided the perfect bed to weave off another chicken themed piece.

In this instance my little ex-bat Dot, re-homed through the British Hen Welfare Trust became the design’s inspiration, effortlessly posing for drawings and photos she made the perfect muse.

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I experimented with a couple of design ideas, building on the success of my earlier work. I have kept the draft plan relatively simple opting for a twill structure for the majority of the design. The outline shape has seen the most dramatic change from its earlier incarnations.

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The colour choices have been kept relatively true to life, I even got Dot involved in the colour matching much to her bemusement.

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I am absolutely smitten with this design and intend weaving off as much of it as the warp will allow. Perhaps then framing the finished piece or if I have enough turning into a cushion.

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Present day

At present my time is split. I am in the process of weaving off larger sample pieces from one of my favourite collections. My plan is to develop ideas for interior and fashion products. Unfortunately with my weaving width restricted to only 20” this process will take a little time, once complete though I am keen to begin selling the finished items.

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The remainder of my time is spent researching for my new collection. The inspiration behind the project came from a recent trip to New York  and a visit to the  cities Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once inside I was fascinated by the art from ancient Egypt in particular the heavily patterned wall tiles and murals which I thought would translate well into woven designs.

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Now with the colour palette in place my focus is on developing potential peg plans and structure ideas.

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Shall we begin

As I fast approach my 30th Birthday it would seem like no better time than the present to banish all my irrational fears of self promotion and set about photographing and cataloging my work. I thought it best to start from the beginning and over the course of the next few entries document my work from my graduation up until present day. In the past exhibiting has been largely restricted to local craft fairs and art events, with the response largely positive I hope to one day turn my very expensive hobby into something I can devote my time too fully. I look forward to keeping you up to date with current projects and future plans.

From the beginning

I studied Textiles at Winchester College of Art, specialising in woven textiles, during this period I experimented extensively with techniques and weaving processes. My inspiration was often varied and I developed my ideas through a combination of research, observational drawings, photographs and windings.  In 2006 I graduated and my final project was made up of a mix of both dobby and jacquard samples. The style of my work was heavily influenced by Anni Albers. I became particularly interested in her use of unorthodox materials and pictorial weaving.

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New Designers 2006

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Winchester College of Art 2006 – Graduation Show

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This was the last of my physical weaving for several years. I worked in men’s fashion for a time before leaving to pursue a more creative outlet. It was then I had the opportunity to purchase my Loom. Since then I have allowed myself time to refine my skills and develop a collection of samples that reflect my present style, combining rich colours and varied patterns.

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Crazy chicken lady

Before I continue I need to introduce two very important ladies (chickens) in my life, Dot and Bert, who spend their day’s idly sitting in my garden studio providing me with countless hours of entertainment and an endless source of inspiration.415106_2838912966681_1266208163_o

Although on this occasion I have to concede the design looks more like owls than chickens (I think at the time I got swept up in all the owl craziness)