Daily I walk on Cannock Chase, a local area of outstanding natural beauty consisting of woodland and heathland. It is a rich source of inspiration for me, both artistically and spiritually. There is something quite magical about walking through nature, the senses really tune in to the colours and textures experienced. This is my starting point with my weaving and art. I work mainly from sketches and photographs, capturing ideas and inspiration ready to use when I return to my studio.
The inspiration for this hedgerow handwoven shawl is from one spring mornings walk where I was drawn to the hedgerows and pathways. The colours were really light and bright, and yet gentle, new growth, giving hope for the summer to come. I captured this on a photograph, that was later then painted in oils, alla prima.
The painting sat in my studio for a year or so before I decided to turn it into a weave. It was only after walking the same pathway, that I remembered the painting and felt drawn to weaving it.
The weaving process started by choosing the colours and textures of yarns that really spoke to me from the painting. I used my ‘felt’ sense of what I was visualising in a woven form. I then intuitively warped up the loom with these colours and textures in a way that spoke of my experience.
The colours for the weft of the shawl were woven in a mindful, intuitive and contemplative way, using colours I was drawn to, no repeating, predictable patterns. I used a ‘saori’ style of weaving incorporated into the shawl, which is about adding random strands of wool in an intuitive way.
The shawl took approximately twenty hours to make, from start to finish. For me, weaving in this way is an important part of the process of making a unique bespoke handwoven shawl. The slow weaving, attention to detail, mindful process is what makes this weave an artisan piece. It is, in my mind, a work of art as well as a woven item.
The shawl is woven using hand woven pure wool, hand spun by myself, and some commercial wools such as mohair, and felted tweed, there is a bit of cotton and silk, hemp and pure Shetland wool also. The shawl is soft, light and airy, but with a warming feel which would make it an ideal all year round accessory.