Threads update from resident weaver – David Fox

May 10th, 2023

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Hello again, February ended up being a very busy month and everything will be full steam ahead for the next couple months. So where to begin lots to update on. The cotton warp fineness was a challenge when threading as it kept slipping but I got there in the end, then onto weaving a fine cloth. The focus became morse code which has been building up to using the Archive’s telegram code in line with numbers and patterns that were used at the mill previously. Throughout this process we discovered that potentially they were alternating the ends of the drafts and reusing a core structure such as a twill or a satin. They were also alternating the warp layout by playing around with block set ups and breaking up the pattern in the cloth. The samples I created stayed in the morse code realm, using a figurative weft to create squares and rectangles alternating colours as a visual guide. Can you guess the words? The sampling began to shift still inspired by the Archive yet playing around with light and space within the cloth through a technique called cramming and spacing. This occurred due to sampling for a commission for the Threads Festival at Sunny Bank Mills in May. The two woven pieces are to be hung in the space where the market is being held. They are based on the Archive from motifs to codes to reweaving the drafts from the 1800s but putting a spin on them. So that’s what I will be working on from now till May.

As well as sampling, dipping in and out of the drafts and the telegram book, I went on a visit to Bradford College to see their textile archive, which was full of wonders from student books, printed cloth, woven pieces, to jacquard designs. Another inspirational archive! The goal is to weave both archives together through the links and ties they both have. I don’t know if you have kept up to date with my posts, but the warper twister’s oral history and box of their tools contained workbooks and they studied at Bradford at the time, just one of the many interwoven ties. Now we have reached the end of March, the first piece for Threads is off the loom, and I was sewing in the ends of the cloth before putting it in the freezer. Freezer? Yes, moth season is upon us and the Archive has been fumigated, and now the piece is off the loom it needs to be protected due to some of the yarns being woollen. The piece was folded into layers of tissue paper to absorb the moisture. Then double bagged, taped and dated and placed in the freezer for two weeks. I’ll give you a sneak peak of what will be installed in the 1912 Mill for Threads. Pieces have been woven and are to be installed today for Threads, See you on the 13th-14th of May at Sunny Bank Mills!

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