Registered: 6 years, 9 months ago
All through high school and for matriculation I studied Textile & Design. We had to make underwear, nightgowns and smocked baby dresses, but even then I had an artistic bent. In my last year of school I studied natural plant dyeing and Azoic chemical dyeing, completed a range of batik sarongs, and a collection of theatre costume designs which were selected for the Year 12 Fine Art Exhibition at UNSW. I also learnt about the properties of fleeces and fibres. My teacher, Rosemary Bourke, was a great support and a true inspiration who encouraged me to have a go with all forms of textiles. She still remains a great friend today. I then attended Melbourne College of Textiles and completed a two-year full time degree in Clothing Construction and Fashion Design. It was a fantastic introduction to the commercial world of all things textiles. On that campus we had sheep and goats, a carding and industrial spinning mill, an industrial weaving mill, a dye lab, a garment construction floor and a dry-cleaning centre. We also studied pattern making and grading, design and fashion illustration and sewing mechanics. So I gained a solid understanding from the animal to the cloth. I also took extra studies in cashmere fleece production and millinery. This lead me on to working in the fashion industry in both Melbourne and Perth, hand sewing couture garments, designing and making hats for private clients, exhibiting millinery at the Fashion Design Council 1985 Fashion Show and designing accessories. for Harris & McCall design house. I did a short stint as a floor machinist with Anthea Crawford, worked with Desbina Collins (now in Paris) hand-sewing seams and zippers in thirty metre long silk organza ball gowns!; and designed wedding gowns and sewed for Bagutta. I also taught sewing to Indigenous women at Bundiyarra Women's Group in Geraldton, sewed privately for clients and assisted textiles teacher Sr. Barbara Brabender at St Mary's College, Broome. It was at Melbourne College of Textiles where I discovered the hand-crafting weaving room and got to play on my first large floor loom. The room was full of all kinds of different looms but one of the floor looms was warped up so down I sat and off I wove. I was lucky enough to be of the generation when weaving was part of the arts department at most technical colleges. Sadly, those craft certificates seem to have all gone, and it's left to the guilds and private craftspeople to share the knowledge. I have always continued to play with textiles in some form or another. Making baby clothes, sewing quilts, coverlets, screen printing fabric, knitting cabled patterns and fair-isle jumpers, and sewing my own clothes. When returning to live in Sydney I bought my first four shaft table loom, took some classes at Sturt (Mittagong) and joined the Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild of NSW Inc. I am also a member of the Berry Spinners & Weavers, Inc. group. Currently I am weaving on a Swedish Glimåkra floor loom as well as an Ashford 8 shaft table loom. I prefer the swedish style of weaving and enjoy the intricacies of construction most. The geometric designs of the Balkans, with their large chunks of colour and shape, and the regional variation in those designs I would like to learn more about and work with.
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