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I was in London earlier this week to review the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers ‘Diamond’ exhibition, celebrating their 60th year.  The exhibition is only on for 1 week, so by the time you read this, you’ll be unlikely to be able to visit, which is a pity.  It is a lovely exhibition, with 99 pieces of work in a naturally lit gallery and with some stunning pieces of work.  I can’t say too much more than that about the exhibit as I’ve written a review for the Journal of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, but I can say that it was a treat!

The exhibition was officially opened by Margo Selby at a champagne reception on Monday night, and despite the partial tube strike, was very well attended.  It was lovely to meet people that I have looked up to for years – Claude Delmas and Ann Hecht among them – and to see again people that I haven’t seen for ages as well as new people.  This kind of event serves so much more than one purpose – as well as promoting the exhibition, you can get to know so many more people and make new friendships… 

On the way home the next day, after leaving Wendy Morris and the Handweavers Studio, I had a few hours to spare so I popped down the Victoria line to Pimlico and had an hour in Tate Britain.  I wandered through the Turner Prize exhibits for 2010, (loved the Harrier Hawk and the upside-down Jaguar jet), and down to the Romantics exhibit, not stopping long at anything but allowing myself to be drawn to certain pieces.  Then I went to the small gallery showing how Turner used his palette of colours and his engravings, and there I found a little unexpected treasure….

I first began to appreciate engravings when I saw one of MC Escher’s in a book I have.  The hatchings and cross-hatchings are incredible at creating three-dimensional perspective, and that is something that has intrigued me for quite a while.  So it was fascinating to see the expertise of Turner’s engravings, and to learn the difference between a mezotint and an engraving in how the depth is achieved.  I instantly saw ways of using repp weave to create surface tension that can then give way to dimensional weaving, and a way of combining three tones to create huge variations in apparent depth.  I got very excited and had to contain my excitement and my ideas as I had left my rucksac, complete with my notebook and pen, in the cloakroom. 

Then I had to wait until I was on the tube to Euston before I could write down my thoughts, so I confess I don’t remember much of the walk (or was it a gallop?!) to the tube station, but I almost missed Euston because I was so engrossed in my thinking processes.

So a quite unexpected side trip to Tate Britain has led to some more fuel for my textural experiments!  Don’t you just love it when that happens?!!