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Welcome to Musings – The Loom Room Blog

25 April, 2010

Fashion & Textiles conference

Apologies for sending this out again, but there was a technical problem with the links which has now been solved.  Do check out the links as I think you will enjoy them…..

This weekend, I represented the Midlands Textile Forum at a sister event in the eastern region, run by the Eastern Region Textile Forum.  Set on the top floor of the college in Chelmsford (with its lovely breezy patio and a relaxing view over the river and mill pond) the conference was packed full of interesting speakers and chances to network, along with chances to browse books at the Chrome Yellow book stall, which is always dangerous because the books are wonderful!  As ever, I spent more than I should have!!  But books are always worth while!! 

The event began with the AGM.  It’s always interesting to see how other areas work and to see the points of similarity and contrast between different groups.  ERTF has a good sized membership and a fairly large committee but it was the usual problem with recruiting key committee people which we all seem to face.  Each of the counties that ERTF covers has their own active county group which is very different to how we run in the Midlands.  It was good to hear what each group was up to, and what was delegated to the umbrella organisation. 

ERTF run two conferences a year, one in April, the other in November.  This conference was all about Fashion and Textiles and Kathy Lewiston gave a presentation about her previous work at Coutaulds where she worked as a designer, involving fashion forecasting, trends and colours for 39 years.  Technical problems with her presentation (not being in a compatable format with the college computers) led to a considerable delay which was filled with aplomb by ERTF member Juliet Bryson, who was giving a Members Spotlight talk about her degree and her machine knitted mini-capes and scarves which she retails.  Juliet creates some lovely textures through her machine knitting and embellishments which were great fun and lovely pieces.

After a buffet lunch, Dr Veronika Kapsali, the programme leader of the BA Fashion and Textiles course, and developer of the MA Fashion at Middlesex University, plus weave tutor Gwen Fereday gave us an introduction to the Fashion and Textiles course and told us about the facilities that were available to students and visitors at Middlesex Uni.  They are going to be moving to a purpose built site in Hendon, which is great news, as so many great textiles courses are going to the wall, with the announcement very recently of the closure of Duncan of Jordanstone’s constructed textiles course (one of the best in the UK, in my opinion), and the imminent closure of Macclesfield Silk Museum because Cheshire East council has withdrawn some crucial funding from the Museum due to the current economic climate!!  Anyway, back to Middlesex Uni!  The two tutors were very open to discussion with some of the ERTF members about their being involved in the university, and it will be interesting to see if those discussions go any further…..

The final two speakers for the day came from The Fashion & Textile Museum in London.  If you are in the US, you might not have known about this wonderful museum in Bermondsey, just south of the River Thames from London Bridge, and originally set up by British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.  This museum is not in competition with the V&A or the Bath collection, and features mostly contemporary fashion and has had some really brilliant exhibitions.  In 2005, Newham College in East London took on the running of the musuem to secure its long-term future, and they have a very forward looking attitude to re-introducing apprenticeships to Savile Row Bespoke tailors and other very practical approaches to the textiles industry.  Dennis Northdruft, the Curator of the Museum, talked humourously about some of the exhibitions they have held at the museum, and plans for the future, and Chris Hall from Newham College expounded on the educational approach of the college. 

It was a packed day with plenty of networking opportunities, and it was lovely for me to meet so many lovely textiles people, and connect with another group trying to take textiles forward.

18 April, 2010

Spring-cleaning, gardening and weaving….

Filed under: Life,Weaving — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 2:40 pm

Spring has an incredible effect on everything, doesn’t it?  If you look around you, people are happier, more relaxed, smiling and laughing a lot more, and more willing to help each other.  It also has us putting our house in order!  I’ve been spring-cleaning this week and now my house is getting more how I like it – tidier, cleaner, more airy, more welcoming and less cluttered.  The garden, too, has been demanding attention and, whilst I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, 10 minutes here, half-an-hour there and it’s beginning to look as if somebody cares!  <G> What I love about the garden is that everything looks a total mess until you mow the lawn.  Then what a transformation!  An hour’s work (we have 4 lawns!), and the place looks so much better! 

It’s been an interesting week – no flights for several days and the sky is clear of com trails for the first time I can remember.  Uninterrupted blue – at least until an hour or so ago when it started to cloud over for the first time in a number of days. 

Work-wise, I’ve been having a lot of fun, threading up for a shibori warp but deciding to use part of the warp for a seersucker effect.  Yesterday was an amazing weaving day, and I will need to hem all the samples before finishing them to see what effects the different methods of washing will do to them.  I’m just about to rethread the shibori threads for the shibori supplementary warp that I will be playing with.  I love the explorations and experimentation!  The next thing is to get out and up close and personal to textures around my house and garden to illustrate what I’m doing….  A chance to learn how to use my camera properly.  Actually, it’s more an opportunity to investigate a camera club to seek advice from people who really know! 

I received the Memory on Cloth book by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada this last week as a late birthday present and had a wonderful time browsing through!  What a book!  Great stuff!  And then Ann Field’s Devore book arrived for me to review for the Journal of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers.  What serendipity!  So that’s this evening’s very pleasant chore…

I’ve also been investigating Facebook Fan pages and have decided it’s something that could be good fun to do, so I’ll be doing some more research before I launch headlong.  Has anyone else got fan pages, and how do they work for you? 

Spring definitely lifts my spirits and makes me feel upbeat!  I hope it has the same affect for you!

6 April, 2010

Secrets and lies

Filed under: Life,Philosophy — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:16 pm

The title sounds a bit heavy, but this weekend has got me thinking.  It’s been a huge success but I have an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach about the shenanigans I went through to ensure its success!

I’m actually talking about a family celebration.  That should be cause for great feelings, right?  Well, for me, it’s been yes and no.  My dad recently turned 80 (his mum is 100 later in May!), and we wanted to do something to celebrate it.  But what to do?  Dad isn’t one for a big fuss, but still, it’s a milestone that needs to be recognised in some way.  So I booked us to stay with him over Easter and in the meantime my brother and I got together to sort something out. 

Then the deception began.

I’m not the sort of person who feels ok about any kind of lying – I was useless at it when I was a child, and have never got any better!!  So if I’m asked a direct question, I cannot prevaricate without it being so obvious that I’m just about to try to tell a porky!  So generally I don’t even contemplate it!  But you’ll know how hard it is to keep a secret about a celebration without lying on occasion.  Even though I know it’s a ‘white’ lie, and that it’s not doing anyone any harm, it’s still not the truth, and I don’t feel right about it.

However, that’s not really the point, because the point is that the person you are doing it for has a wonderful surprise and is totally delighted!  Happily Dad was.  But the whole thing about lies is that you have to remember what you’ve said to whom and when, and that is just so difficult!!  I’ve come to the conclusion that inveterate liers have marvellous memories!!  And that makes it even more sad that they don’t use their marvellous memories to do something positive!  Well, I suppose the results are superficially positive for them, even if everyone left in their wake is hurt!!! 

Well, we’re back home now and Dad is very happy and delighted with some marvellous memories of his own to look back on and his wonderment that we all managed to keep all hint of the events from his knowledge.  As for me, I’m just glad not to have to pretend and make up stories any more!!!