Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weave away

I was given a rigid heddle loom by a lady here in town who had brought it over from France about 20 years ago and had not used it since. It was missing a few crucial parts and was designed originally to rest on a table. With the expert help of Manuel Neto we restored and improved on the design by building an adjustable stand and a few tricky little additions to make the weaving process easier. These kinds of looms are relatively easy to use and perfect for beginners. So I was set to weave. We also made a warping board to get the right number of threads and the right length of threads etc. I was given some books that helped with the setting up and also found lots of information on the net. Yet not all my problems have been solved and setting up the loom is definitely the most complicated and time consuming part of the process, the rest seems to come quite easily and the whole process is very intuitive. I am still learning. But once I started weaving it was impressively quick to finish a 2.5 meter length. Originally I wanted to make a jacket and that will be my next project. Meanwhile I have decided that maybe some workshops would be very useful and I have my sights on a couple of teachers :-).

All this to say, weaving is wicked! 
Two shawls/ wraps/ cosie wool things later and now I just need to figure out how to finish the fringes... macrame? simple knots? as is?... decisions, decisions.

Both shawls were made with 100% Portuguese wool. They measure 2.5m and 2m in length respectively by 60cm in width. The first I decided to keep but the second is for sale. If you are interested you can get in touch with me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wool + antique linen = cushion

In my last post I showed you the beginnings of the first cushion shown here. It was in part a salvage project because I wanted to embroider a flower similar to the cushion shown in the first image which is basically falling apart. It was also an opportunity to learn the basic stitches. Originally I wanted to do a round cushion but in the end I changed the design and added leaves and so I decided to adopt the more conventional format.

Inspired to do something from  my surrounding landscape I found this small blue lilac flower that began to fill the fields in my Spring walks. It is only a small flower but very intricate when you get a close look, and I wanted to see if I could capture the feel of it but simplify it at the same time. For this embroidery I drew a basic original sketch to start to abstract the design and then embroidered onto the linen without drawing the whole flower in one go. First I worked the inner circles and then embroidered pretty much freehand the rest of it. The bonus of doing it this way is that it feels a lot more organic and less planned which I think is good, on the other hand I would find it almost impossible to replicate this design exactly, which I guess ends up being good also.

The last cushion was me basically feeling a bit over fussy embroidery and wanting to really just simplify and organize and not think so much. Actually looking back this does not really make so much sense seeing as the more organic design should have been the one with less regimented thought and in fact I think it was although it was also very planned, whereas this last one even though more basic in design is definitely more logic, i.e. equally as thought out.

I am very happy with all these designs. All the cushion fronts were embroidered with Portuguese wool on antique hand loomed linen also from Portugal, and the backs are made from cotton and fasted with 3 vintage buttons, and are approximately 50x50cm in size. If you like them let me know and if you would really really like to own one of them please do get in touch with me. Soon I´ll have some available to sell online, but till then you can custom order if you like :-).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Studio up and running

The new studio is finally in full swing and we even have electricity now, a luxury it seems, to be able to use my sewing machine. But I have to admit, and you will probably catch on to this anyway, that I have not posted for some time so the next posts are going to be me trying to catch up to real time. And so, because there is no excuse not to work just because there is no electricity I occupied most of the last 4 months with projects that require no electricity at all. The first project as you can see above was an embroidery project, a cushion embroidered with wool on antique hand loomed linen. More projects of the same nature followed which I will show you tomorrow. Then I was given a loom, not an antique one and not a super professional one either but super sturdy and excellent for the projects I have in mind. I will show you those soon also. And then there was Spring and flowers and all sorts of pretty things to collect from the fields. Now with electricity there is also the sewing machine and iron, so of course it seems natural that there are some patchwork quilts on the way. And it seems there are so many things to catch up on.

The days have a tendency to evaporate here, in a good way, and many things are achieved. I will try and update you throughout the next week.