This week I am in the final stages of preparing for my exhibition at the Flora Twort Gallery in Petersfield, Hampshire. I feel very excited about having the opportunity to take over a whole gallery space (albeit quite a bijou gallery space) and set it up with my collection of wool work under the heading ‘A Celebration of Wool’.
I have spent the last few months building up a huge collection of woven scarves made from my handspun wools, as well as knitting and weaving bags which are each a small piece of textile art in themselves. The bags in particular are time consuming as they evolve very organically as I knit. I never plan a design for either a scarf or a bag as I want them to develop naturally during the making process. Inflicting precise patterns, measurements and colour schemes inhibits the creative process and allows for ‘mistakes’ to happen whereas if there is no plan, there can be no mistakes.
A scarf usually begins with selecting warp threads from my wonderful stash of fine yarns. The warping process is never measured and I simply thread until I fancy a colour change and position my loom at roughly the same point across the room from the warping peg each time. Selection of the yarns to weave with is similarly haphazard and spontaneous and once the weaving itself begins there are always surpirses to be had. Watching the warp and weft threads react with each other as the heddle is brought down always creates a kind of magic. The flecks of colour within a handspun yarn can jump out unexpectedly to a colour in the warp and the uneven texture creates bumps and ripples in the newly froming textile.
Gathering up a collection of work for this show has made me look closely at pieces which I hadn’t studied for a while. I’ll be showing a collection of about 12 wool art pictures this time, the most I have ever had out in one go. Usually I exhibit in group shows such as the Petersfield Arts and Crafts Society where just a handful of items are out, so pulling together a large number of pictures will be very exciting. I will of course have lots of printed versions of my wool art in the form of coasters, placemats and cards available as these are always popular but taking a group of originals out together is quite an event for me.
Although the show essentially runs itself in the good hands of the museum staff I plan to visit a few times and take my spinning wheel with me for company. This will also give me a chance to chat to visitors and share my love of the wonders of wool.
I was lucky enough to be able to book a time which overlaps with the Campaign for Wool’s National Wool Week so hopefully there will be a raised level of awareness of the wonders of this lovely natural medium and my celebration will add a little to it.
Just a few more final things to organise as well as a little more creative work to complete before opening day on October 6th!