Textile Get Togethers

We shared, We exchanged, We created together. Textile Friends are for Keepsake.

The Call Out for Textile Loves proved that there are a few of them and they were interested to chat.

So on the 6th March we got together over Zoom and started talking about textiles, about our childhood memories and how textile is more than an object. The plan was to meet 3 times to make sure everyone tells their story. Due to interest of people staying together we added a 4th week in which we made a feather in different mediums. Since we have kept in touch and have been exchanging ideas, advice and information about textile related events.

Week 1: March 4th

This week was a great positive experience for me. 14 people signed up for our get togethers and 12 of them could make it to our first meeting. I was delighted and really nervous to meet new textile friends and see some of my favourite textile heroes. I started by sharing the story of my mum’s jumper. It is a garment made from yarn hand spun by my auntie. My mum had a mantra- I have always had notions and choosing the design for this jumper was another proof for her. Here is a short video of me wearing the jumper during an interview about Temple Bar (https://youtu.be/KzxZBZJCvJU).

I wear it all the time. I have put forward a question - whether to darn it invisibly or visibly, as invariably the moths get into it. The group was unanimous- darn it with visible mending. So I picked a needle and I am fixing it….

And then we just had time for Pam; Pam was telling us about the taxonomy of textiles. Each thread, each colour, each stitch holds meaning. As Pam was explaining it – this was the time when people learned about each other from the stitches on their clothes. The times when people did not have Facebook...

Week 2: March 11th

For this week I have a simple challenge:
For it to work all I need is your open heart. 
For you to make it all you need is a pencil and a few blank pages. 

Some of the questions I didn't get the time to ask:

  • Who has been a fabulous designer for their favourite doll?
  • How come a piece had so much curatorial detail? Was that the norm?
  • Did you make things with your grandma at the kitchen table?
  • Wonder when dowry tradition stopped. I know my mum had dowery for me?

We are continuing to look at your textile treasures.
Cannot wait to see yours. 
Have a great update on the remark of the textiles being for girls. Join me to share. All I can say is I love this country.

We were a half size group this week, so we listened to 4 stories in a more casual fashion.

  • Lisa, who wasn't with us the week before, shared a blouse her grandma's crochet as a heirloom- one to each of her three daughters. It looked untouched, although it has been worn as a Good outfit. It had beautiful 3D daisies. We saw a photo of her grandma on her wedding day. We talked about how her love for creating made her a stylist and designer to her dollies, just like some of us. 
    Who has been a fabulous designer for their favourite doll?
  • Beth (Beth Moran Handweaver) showed us a heirloom which reminded me how we call each other on having spiritual connection to textiles. It was a tablecloth inherited by her aunt. Sent to her after her aunt's death- it carried almost professional curatorial details on the piece. How come a piece had so much curatorial detail? Was that the norm?
    In fairness, it was difficult to see some of the intricate details that were made. 
    We talked a lot about workmanship.
    We looked at textile as heirlooms.
    Perfectly executed pieces with impeccable workmanship. 
    And although the makers of the pieces did not put their name onto it- it is timeless.
    No brand, just beauty. Right?
    Beth love it so much so I am planning a trip to see it in person after the Lockdown. 
    She accepted the challenge to teach me to spin, so I'm definitely going...
  • Leisa (Leisa Gray) showed us a picture of an applique her grandma made. Thankfully, she sent me a photo. I am attaching here. Everything she said about her grandma resonated with many of us ... How her grandma instilled love for making and that it doesn't always need to be a fussy thing with many rituals and materials. It is just grabbing a few bits in front of you and just having a go. What do you think?
    Did you make things with your grandma at the kitchen table?
  • Liz (Liz Nilsson) showed us her drawers. In a photo. She talked about storing and keeping textiles in her family, and her country. Monogramed, as an heirloom, as part of your dowry. 
    Wonder when dowry tradition stopped. I know my mum had dowery for me, does yours?

Week 3: 18th March

This week I was full of expectations.
Would you have gotten your mystery boxes before the class?
Would you have hunted feathers in the forests and on Pinterest? 
I totally understand - making something from nothing and when you do not have a sample... I have attached a few feathers in each medium we discussed.

Some of the questions I didn't get the time to ask:

  • Who has used textiles to express how they felt?
  • Do you have a scarf that is more than just a scarf to you?
  • Do you remember the last piece you wore in a public gathering before Covid?
  • Have you done a piece that has become more than a project to you? Something that is not just part of your story, but part of who you are?
  • Do you remember the last piece you wore in a public gathering before Covid?

Last Thursday was the last week of sharing stories and textile treasures.
This week we would let our imagination go. 
Cannot wait to see what we come up with. 

We listened to 4 stories - all the ones we were to unravel. And we even found a way to interact with each other's piece. 

  • Larissa (Larissa Kleshnina)  showed us pieces that she inherited from her grandmas. One was a hand knitted scarf in the lace knitting technique. She showcased how beautiful it is. In her remembering her grandma it transpired how much she admired this grandma - a badass airplane engineer who would be always going around with a knitting project in her purse and would knit during train travels and at family get togethers. She knew how to yield a screwdriver and knitting needles.  I wish I could meet her. The scarf is Larissa's 'keep-me-warm-and-safe'  piece. She always takes it on her trips and it stays with her. 
    Do you have a scarf that is more than just a scarf to you?
  • Mary came back and showed us her beaded cluster balls. She talked about making them during the time she was unsure of the outcome of her son's health. She was sitting in the hospital looking at him and thinking how one cell doubles and multiplies to grow into a human. She uses textiles to fill in the cracks in the structures and put them in unexpected places to prompt us to think and see things differently. A woman after my own heart. We looked at the balls, but we would hope to get a photo of them too.
    A cluster of beads that say so much in a handful of bits stitched together. 
    I am resolute to storm her shed. Who is with me?
  • Giselle showed us a rug and her embroidery projects. The rug she brought from Argentina with her. The geometrical tightly weaved wool rug is a simple beauty in which the workmanship follows tradition and patterns that are centuries old. She talked about how her passion for preservation in her daytime architect job spills into her textile work. We were also treated to the beautiful embroidery projects that Gisselle has done in the last year. Most of us fell in love with her firefly and drew it in our textile challenge. In the second part of the session.
    Have you bought textile from a place that your ancestors have called home, but is not your home?
  • Imelda (Imelda Quinlan) showed us the most beautiful baby bibs and a hat. She has inherited the baby bibs from her mom in law. Just like Beth's cloth and Liz's linens the family gave them to her as nobody could see any use for them. I fell in love with the bird. Imelda also shared the hat she knitted while her mum was recovering from serious treatment. She sat next to her bed and knitted the hat. Beautifully executed, with lush undyed alpaca yarn. Understated priceless beauty.
    Have you done a piece that has become more than a project to you? Something that is not just part of your story, but part of who you are?
  • Sarah (Sarah O’Rourke) showed us a hand knitted blanket that her mum knitted from her. It was one of those projects that all us textile nerds drool over. It started from collecting each tread while mum had a wide range of yarns to work with. Then she had to find a way to piece them together to make a unique and stunning textile piece. Just like the philosopher says:  the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We The blanket is Sarah's companion in her studio. Keeping her warm inside and out. 
    Sarah also showed us her beautiful creations and her passion for what she does transpired in how she talked about the last piece she wore in public. I am sure it won't be too long that gatherings would be happening. 
    Do you remember the last piece you wore in a public gathering before Covid?

Week 4: 25th March

This time we came together to make a feather
Each chose a medium in which they are going to learn something.

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