Archive for April, 2013

On the Easel – Mon 29th April 2013

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Drying the Tweed - Frottee

This is the start of another painting in my Harris Tweed Heritage series. It’s called “Drying the Tweed” it’s oil on canvas, 30 x 22 inches. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed – Work in Progress. I came across this lovely old frame and made the canvas especially for it. I think it will be a nice match.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition titled, “Harris Tweed – An Inspiring Heritage”, at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

After all the hard work involved in creating the tweed; washing the wool, dyeing, carding, spinning yarn, warping, weaving and waulking the cloth, the last process was to thoroughly clean, rinse and dry out the waulked tweed. Often the tweed was stretched out on the heather on a hill and held down with stones.

The model is Shona. Costume design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying tweed, wool and access to the Mill.

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On the Easel – Fri 26th April 2013

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Warping-2nd Painting

This is the latest progress on “Warping the Yarn” it’s oil on canvas, 28 x 22 inches. It’s about 75% completed. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.  – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition titled, “Harris Tweed – An Inspiring Heritage”, at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

Once the yarn had been created on the spinning wheel from the carded wool, the next process was to warp the yarn to get it ready for the loom and for the weaving process. The warp is the lengthwise yarn held in tension in the loom. This is an important part in the design and creation of the tweed. It is at this stage the pattern and colours are decided.

Hand warping is a process that is still performed today. In earlier times pegs would have been inserted into a wall or fixed into the earth and the warp created. When warping, the threads are stretched evenly without twisting in the right order for the basic colour pattern and design of the tweed. The basic operation was to wind the individual threads from a bank of bobbins onto the warping frame for the full length of the tweed required. The warper would walk up and down along the framework until all the threads were stretched. The number of threads across the warp is dependent on the loom being used. For a single width loom this is about 700 threads and for double width loom 1400.

Once the warping is finished, the yarn is removed in the form of a running chain, ready to go in the loom. The warp is wound onto a beam and tied into the loom to hold the threads under tension. The weft yarn is then woven across and into the fixed warp yarns according to the desired pattern during the weaving process.

The model is Kim. Costume design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying tweed, wool and access to the Mill.

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On the Easel – Thur 25rd April 2013

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Carding Wool - 2nd Painting

This is the latest progress on “Carding the Wool“, it’s oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches. It’s about 75% completed. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.  – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

Once the fleeces have been dyed, thoroughly washed, dried and carefully teased; the next stage in the process is to card the wool to get it ready for the spinning process.

Using hand-cards (also called carding combs or carding brushes) the wool fibres are drawn out into a continuous mass of untwisted fibres of mixed colours and then rolled into rovings. This would get the fibres lying in a roughly parallel state. Hand carding was a very tedious and time consuming process. Crofting families often employed servants for carding and spinning. Carding was one of the first automated processes in the creation of Harris Tweed. The first carding mill in Harris was established in 1900 at Tarbert and before this some fleeces were sent to the mainland for carding.

The carding brushes shown here are those of Marion Campbell. Thanks to Catherine Campbell for allowing the use of her aunt Marion’s artefacts, you can find out more about Marion here http://harristweedandknitwear.co.uk/family.html and there is a lovely little book about her life written by Gisela Vogler called “A Harris Way of Life”.

The model is Nanan. Costume design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying Tweed and Wool.

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On the Easel – Tues 16th April 2013

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Spinning the Yarn - 2nd Painting

This is the latest progress on ‘“Spinning the Yarn“, it’s oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. It’s about 75% completed. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.  – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition titled “Harris Tweed Heritage” at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

Once the wool has been dyed and carded, the next stage in the process is to make the wool into yarn which will then be ready for warping (warp yarn) and weaving (weft yarn). The spinning is a long process taking up nearly half of the time for producing the tweed from the dye pot to the finishing (waulking) but much easier then the hand carding process (see painting in progress). The spinner has to work the treadle in a steady rhythm putting a twist into the carded wool and creating yarn on to a bobbin.

Warp and weft yarn used to be spun with different tensions, strong for the warp and much softer for the weft. It took on average a day to spin one lb of yarn. One lb would weave just over a weavers yard (eight feet).

The spinning wheel shown here is a common “cocked up” Saxony wheel. This was Marion Campbell’s mother’s spinning wheel on which she produced both warp and weft yarn for her tweeds. Thanks to Catherine Campbell for allowing the use of her aunt Marion’s artefacts, you can find out more about Marion here http://harristweedandknitwear.co.uk/family.html and there is a lovely little book about her life written by Gisela Vogler called “A Harris Way of Life”.

The backdrop for the painting is the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village at Carloway, Isle of Lewis. A beautiful and fascinating place to stay and visit, many thanks to Mairi and all the staff there. (You can find more information about this unique place here;
http://www.gearrannan.com/)

The models are Amy and Kirsten. Costume design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying Tweed and Wool.

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On the Easel – Tues 9th April 2013

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Warping-1st Painting

This is the latest progress on “Warping the Yarn” it’s oil on canvas, 28 x 22 inches. It’s about halfway to completion. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.  – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition titled, “Harris Tweed Heritage”, at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

Once the yarn had been created on the spinning wheel from the carded wool, the next process was to warp the yarn to get it ready for the loom and for the weaving process. The warp is the lengthwise yarn held in tension in the loom. This is an important part in the design and creation of the tweed. It is at this stage the pattern and colours are decided.

Hand warping is a process that is still performed today. In earlier times pegs would have been inserted into a wall or fixed into the earth and the warp created. When warping the threads are stretched evenly without twisting in the right order for the basic colour pattern and design of the tweed. The basic operation was to wind the individual threads from a bank of bobbins onto the warping frame for the full length of the tweed required. The warper would walk up and down along the framework until all the threads were stretched. The number of threads across the warp is dependent on the loom being used. For a single width loom this is about 700 threads and for double width loom 1400.

Once the warping is finished, the yarn is removed in the form of a running chain, ready to go in the loom. The warp is wound onto a beam and tied into the loom to hold the threads under tension. The weft yarn is then woven across and into the fixed warp yarns according to the desired pattern during the weaving process.

The model is Kim. Costume design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying tweed, wool and access to the Mill.

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On the Easel – Wed 3rd April 2013

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Carding Wool - 1st Painting

This is the latest progress on “Carding the Wool“, it’s oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches. It’s about halfway to completion. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.  – Work in Progress.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

Once the fleeces have been dyed, thoroughly washed, dried and carefully teased; the next stage in the process is to card the wool to get it ready for the spinning process.

Using hand-cards (also called carding combs or carding brushes) the wool fibres are drawn out into a continuous mass of untwisted fibres of mixed colours and then rolled into rovings. This would get the fibres lying in a roughly parallel state. Hand carding was a very tedious and time consuming process. Crofting families often employed servants for carding and spinning. Carding was one of the first automated processes in the creation of Harris Tweed. The first carding mill in Harris was established in 1900 at Tarbert and before this some fleeces were sent to the mainland for carding.

The carding brushes shown here are those of Marion Campbell. Thanks to Catherine Campbell for allowing the use of her aunt Marion’s artefacts, you can find out more about Marion here http://harristweedandknitwear.co.uk/family.html and there is a lovely little book about her life written by Gisela Vogler called “A Harris Way of Life”.

The model is Nanan. Costume design is by Nicola Ellis.

Thanks to Kathy and the staff at the Carloway Mills for supplying Tweed and Wool.

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