Posted by: bschutzgruber | September 12, 2015

On the Road and Across the Sea

August brought travel and new adventures as I headed across the Atlantic for the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers biennial summer school being held this year at Moreton Morrel Agricultural College in Warwickshire, England.

Moreton Morrell Hall

Moreton Morrell Hall

 

Cotswold Court

Cotswold Court

17 courses were offered in spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, feltmaking, basketry, and design with 250 participants from throughout the UK and Europe,
plus USA, Trinidad & Tobago, and Australia.

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I spent the week with Susan Foulkes

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learning to weave patterned bands from the Baltic region
using a double-slotted heddle.

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On Sunday Susan presented each of us with our own backstrap band that she wove

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which goes around your waist/lower back and your body supplies the warp tension.

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[Yes, I’m sitting on the floor… again!  See my blog entries Weaving in Wales – September 2013]

Our work began in earnest on Monday.  With 13 in the course, space was a bit tight!

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But Susan kept us all focused and inspired with examples and exercises.

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I had done a bit of tablet/card weaving in the past but never anything like this and had never worked with a backstrap system.  I moved from rather rough beginnings to at least having straighter selveges by the end of the first day.

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Tuesday we progressed to reading more complicated patterns.  I had to get a little creative to 1) keep the pattern in place and 2) know which step I was weaving as I wove a bookmark.

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Now it was time to wind out and thread up a new warp.

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I was sooooo pleased with my weaving UNTIL I noticed that, though an interesting design, what I was weaving did not match the pattern in the book!  Suddenly I realized I had been reading every other row backwards = Oops!
[Left is my ‘original’ interpretation.  Right follows the pattern.]  

oops
Lesson learned and more weaving.  [photos show the front and back of each band]

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Wednesday ended part 1 of the course and was only a 1/2 day in the classroom.
There were a variety of field trips offered in the afternoon and I went to Stratford-upon-Avon for a talk by the costume department of the Royal Shakespeare Company = FABULOUS!!!

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Thursday began part 2 of the course and brought more weaving
as well as winding out & threading up yet another warp.

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On Friday I created my own design by combining 2 patterns.

combined  brown band

Each day was filled with spectacular examples of bands from Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, plus Sami bands from the Arctic circle – all part of Susan’s amazing personal collection.

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We could continue working on our projects in the evenings but we also had a variety of other activities too: lectures, a silent auction, and of course…. the fashion show where we get to see all the wonderful garments and accessories people have made since the last summer school.  I brought my hat and purse woven from maps [see my blog Cartography Chic – March 2015].
I am happy to say that the hat survived being hand carried as I traveled on trains, planes, and automobiles as it was too big to fit in my suitcase!

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The Trade Fair was Friday evening and Saturday,
plus a raffle to raise funds for scholarships.

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We could also spend time every evening in the ‘Make & Play’ area where we could create a fascinator or even a dress for the Saturday evening party.

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Saturday brought our class time to a close and I learned several different ways to finish off the band,  a.k.a. what to do with the fringe ends.

finishing ends

In the afternoon was the walk about.  I really enjoy seeing what the other classes have been doing all week and there are always unexpected surprises.  Like meeting the silk worms in the Cocoons to Cloth class and seeing silk spun off the cocoon…..

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or checking out the equipment the Fleece a Day students used.

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Signage is always creative.

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And because this is an agricultural college and equine center the ‘classrooms’ are also interesting!

Weft Ikat was in the coke forge

Weft Ikat was in the coke forge

 

Shibori Techniques was in the equine therapy center with 2 work stations per stall

Shibori Techniques was in the equine therapy center with 2 work stations per stall

 

Creative Feltmaking was in the post mortem room

Creative Feltmaking was in the post-mortem room


  

The week came to an end with a Hog Roast on Saturday evening

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and in celebration of the AGWSD’s 60th anniversary, there was a ‘1955 Dance’
complete with home-made decorations
and many of us wearing 1950’s inspired/vintage attire.

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7_Dance

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Summer School came to end on Sunday morning and I had the honor of giving a storytelling performance for the closing gathering.
What thrill to share stories with this creative group!

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Summer School 2015 was a week filled with new friendships,
lots of laughs, and stimulating creativity.
Susan’s enthusiasm was infectious.
Her knowledge, patience and generosity boundless.

I came home inspired and will continue weaving bands!

Patterned Bands - Part 1 2015 AGWSD Summer School

Patterned Bands – Part 1
2015 AGWSD Summer School

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Responses

  1. Looks like you had a great time Barbara. Sorry I wasn’t there to hear your storytelling.

    • I certainly did! Sharing folktales about spinning, weaving, etc with the folks who actually DO these things is a treat!

  2. How glorious! Weaving and storytelling, magical. Also, I just came from an Energy Medicine class about Celtic Chakra and how the chakra energy spirals. One can balance chakra energy by tracing celtic knotwork, and figure 8’s. I am betting that wearing one of those belts with those designs on it would be very beneficial for your chakra energies!

    Is there somewhere to purchase one of these marvelous creations?

    • Hi Lila,
      I don’t know of many weavers who sell their bands. Our instructor, Susan Foulkes, has several books and video tutorials showing how to weave the bands and has taught an online courses for the Braid Society. You can send her a message through her blog http://durhamweaver64.blogspot.com/ –All best, Barb


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