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MAKE: Simple Weaving by Jo Whitehead of Glass Primitif


Like stone carving and stained glass, hand weaving is considered a “slow craft” or the craft of the artisan. Before the mechanisation and industrialisation of weaving, many homes had their own looms where cloth was made for the family and the community.


Weaving has been traced back to the Neolithic age and, if you want to see some beautiful examples of Egyptian and Coptic woven textiles, I strongly recommend a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington, London. The Textiles Department is a treasury of beautiful and historic textiles with many fine examples of hand woven cloth.


Weaving by hand has become associated with a school activity but there has been a resurgence of


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artists whose hand woven designs form the basis of their creative work. Sally Weatherill produces delightful owls and pigs and a wonderful range of scarves, all woven by hand in lambswool. Coral Stephens specialises in weaving with mohair, silk, cotton and raffia.


Although hand weaving is an ancient craft it is definitely not a dead one and good quality hand weaving yarns are available in the UK. Take a look at The Handweaver’s Studio, Texere Yarns and Uppingham Yarns.


Most materials will lend themselves to the weaving process provided you can pass them over and under a warp thread. This includes other non-textile items such as feathers, paper, tinsel, twigs and plastic strips.


These bizarre materials will create a sculptural surface, even if they don’t make a comfortable blanket! By using a simple card loom and some yarn you can make a bag, place mat, wall hanging or scarf.


Before you rush out and buy yourself a four-shaft hand loom to weave blankets, try your hand at the simplest form of weaving - just like you did in school.


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