These two workshops took place on consecutive Saturdays and were well attended. Joan’s workshops are justly popular as she is always so enthusiastic and encouraging.
The first day was aimed at beginners or less experienced weavers so Joan started by showing us how to tie on a warp and do a line of Soumak along the bottom edge. It was explained that the warp and weft should be the same thickness to give the best results. Joan prefers to work with a few thinner strands of weft yarn rather than a single thread as this allows her to create subtle colour mixtures.
As most people were not total beginners Joan decided to show us a few techniques for weaving texture as well as shapes. Using two threads of one colour and a third of a contrasting colour is a simple way of giving an ‘impression’ of texture while still maintaining a flat surface, whereas going over and under two warp threads with double thickness weft created a raised, textured area. After that we learnt how to tie Ghiordes Knots which could either be used to make loops or tied to give longer ends to hang down. We were also shown how to incorporate strands of unspun fibre such as flax or hemp into the weaving.
The second workshop started with a quick recap of the techniques learnt during the first day and then Joan showed us how to tie on a supplementary warp in order to weave a 3D shape on the surface, great fun. We were also shown how to make a curved shape by inserting a wedge of cardboard into the weaving, then removing the card and pulling on the warp threads to bring the edges together
As usual, Joan had brought along samples to show us, works of art in their own right, and a large hanging inspired by the Scottish landscape which incorporated areas of dyed warp left unwoven giving added interest to the piece. It was all very fascinating and we came away feeling we had learnt a lot over the two days. Certainly, for me, tapestry weaving had literally taken on a new dimension.