Category Archives: HNC Bradford

weaving, sketchbooks and images from Bradford

Homeward Bound

I’m sitting on the train, homeward bound – up north.  Can’t be far now, grey skies and rain and I’m feeling quite chilly. I had a great time in London, exhibiting at New Designers was a really great experience, and I am amazed at how kind and generous people have been with their time, and compliments. If you talked to me in the last few days, thank you! Your validation of my work has been am enormous boost


Today I went to Brantwood on the eastern shore of Coniston Water in the Lake District. Miserable start to the day, however, unlike the usual kind of day in “the lakes” – it was dry, and sometimes sunny.  The house looks huge and there are a number of other original buildings on site too.  The stables have been converted to a tea room (though I think it is actually a restaurant), the house which had been built for and occupied by Ruskin’s “Man” is now a holiday let, and there are quirky loos in one of the outbuildings too.

I was amazed at the size of the house, and as I approached looked forward to a long, leisurely wander around the many rooms.  However, the rooms occupied by Ruskin, which form the museum/gallery were few (though large): indeed the dining room, which he had added to the original property was very large and filled with natural light from large windows. The conservatory of its day I guess.

The image here, shows the house on approach, though only the rooms on the left side (the 2-storey part) are open to the public.  Inevitably, there was a shop.



I only just remembered I entitled my post “Brantwood Bugs” 🙂  The gardens here are lovely and informal, They rise from the house upwards and eastwards, so there are terraced paths leading up up up then across and down.  One path is named the Ziggy Zaggy path.  They are indeed ziggy zaggy, though at the top of this path is a rather ugly section of ground which has been covered in raw fleece in many colours, spray painted with squiggles and some rather large ceramic, bright red lips are poking out of the soil.  These pouting pots are rather sexy in a nasty (rather than clever) way, I do wish I had been able to find an interpretation board: most likely my imagination has got the better of me, and they are symbolic of something quaint and interesting to children.  Don’t get me started on symbolism…..


the bugs…. click on the pictures to see them better

a bug - what is it ?

a bug – what is it ?

Bees at Brantwood



beeflywasp thingy



Cushion 2 reverseThis was the start of Cushion 2. I had threaded up a warp with a tie-down (thicker, different colour, which would come into play on the front face of the cushion, however, I was delighted with the low relief texture it produced on what would be the “plain” weave.  The yarn is one I spun myself from a blend of Merino tops – a joy to work with.  I do love using random yarn, it excites me, I never know what to expect (except I know it will be lovely).


Front face of cushion

Front face of cushion

Moving on…………. I worked all of my covers in one piece, which meant comprehensively calculating shrinkage and the position of pattern in the length of fabric.  This image shows the second phase of the weave: the front.

Cushion 2 reverse complete

Reverse of cushion

And below, the completed cushion – but showing the reverse – I think it’s so pretty, in contrast to the bold geometry on the front

Final Show…. Finally

The Show is up, and my goodness, I am so pleased to have reached the end of the HNC, or at least the practice.  I still have to submit my essay, oh wait! I still have to write my essay.  I have one image here, but will take more photos on Thursday.  If you are in the area in the next week, the Bradford School of Arts and Media Show opens to the public on Saturday.  In the meantime, one of my student colleagues Ange has posted some photos on her blog if you’d like to take a look.  OR look here – Kay has some more photos

In my little cubby

In my little cubby


2 alternative weave structures, both using "tie-down" warp

2 alternative weave structures, both using “tie-down” warp

The fabric for this was completed last week.  It was the first of the Final Collection, as it was the largest cushion, and the weave would be hand-manipulated and therefore time-consuming.  I thought it best to get the tough one out of the way 🙂

Here, I sampled a couple of alternative lift plans, the top section produces a flemish bond brickwork pattern, the one below, a block pattern.

This design developed from exploring images of crumbling render which exposed brickwork and the opposite, patched brickwork, added into or around concrete or a rendered wall.



Completed Cushion

Completed Cushion

Completed today.

I love it!

It’s a requirement of the course, to examine and review work done primarily to identify what went right/wrong, what could be done differently.  I have considered this very carefully and I am completely happy with it.  Though if pushed, I might say that I wished I had made the contour (where the clasped wefts join) a little curvier.




Detail (clasped weft)

… Detail (clasped weft)

……and here is the detail.  The textured yarn is my own hand-spun Merino, which I made for this project.

This photograph was taken whilst the cloth was on the loom whereas the one above was taken in daylight – which explains the difference in colour

Foot Stool Wool Double Cloth

Foot Stool
Wool Double Cloth

Making this up was a bit trickier than I thought it was going to be.  Mostly due to the weight of the cloth.  A lesson learned; and certainly, if I was to do this again, then I would use a finer gauge yarn, or make a single cloth.  So many options.  Too much of my HNC work to get through to allow myself to get distracted by new plans.

I designed the fabric to have a strong block of colour running  down the centre, with more texture and less defined colours to each side of it.  On reflection,  the contrast could have been stronger, the panel is not as well defined as I thought it would be, perhaps I should have used less of the grey in the centre panel ?

However, it is fantastic to finally make something useful….  almost everything I have woven to date has been “a sample”.

Final Collection Stool Fabric Development

This next image shows the 2 samples I worked up after my initial drawings and before my design development.

What is very clear from these initial samples is just how much my weaving has improved in the last month or so.  Not least because I finally got the double cloth exchange method into my brain.  Something I have been battling with for some time now.

All warped up again, and I began weaving this morning.  I had developed this design from a combination of 2 of my initial samples, and although I sort of knew where I was going with it, I needed to do quite a bit of sampling to get the right balance of colour and blocks.  Once I was happy with my lift plan, I cracked on.  Item 4 is photographed, in progress, on the loom.  I will post up pictures tomorrow of the 2 initial samples, and hopefully the finished cloth.  Note to self: Take photos !

Final collection - Item 4

Final collection – Item 4






And here is a photograph of the finished cushion.  Worked mainly in grey and a hand-spun merino wool, this is really really soft

Third cushion, fourth item

Third cushion, fourth item