As a child I would spend my school holidays on my grandparents’ sheep farm in East Gippsland, Victoria, spending the days crafting with Nanna or checking on the sheep with Pa. Theirs was a busy and creative life set to the bleating background of lambs and sheep. The dusty shearing shed patiently waiting for the shearing season to begin each year. Click to continue reading..
And in the corner of the farmhouse sat my mother’s spinning wheel. Throughout those holidays on the farm, I could feel the wheel calling me to it as I walked past. It’s stillness and presence beckoned me to reach out and touch it, to inquire into its deep history and knowing. Then many years later, the wheel became mine. Handed down to me as it was handed down to my mother. Now it sat in my corner beckoning me still.
Life kept my mind and my hands busy with other things, until finally I took up its invitation to sit by its side, spin its wheel and follow its momentum as we spun wool together. That beautiful spinning wheel, with its simple yet effective ancient design, grounds me and connects with my ancestors. And then, like a little drop of light, I knew I needed to move from the wheel to the loom. Taking some of the yarn spun on my wheel, along with other natural fibres and materials collected from other artisan makers, I started to intuitively weave cloth.
Weaving takes me out of my mind, my hands and body moving effortlessly and intuitively, following where the materials want to go. Allowing what wants to be created to be created. I have no plan or desired outcome, I let the materials dictate what they become.
With machine-woven cloth being so readily available these days, handweaving is an invitation to slow down, to cherish the final piece and to, most importantly, use the cloth as our ancestors would have – every day. Though incredibly special and beautiful, I hope you use these pieces as part of your daily life and rituals. It makes my hands, my heart so happy to know that these pieces leave my wheel and my loom and go on to live long lives in homes and wrapped around bodies.