Archive for May, 2013

Washing the Wool

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Washing the Wool

This is the eighth completed painting in my Harris Tweed heritage series. It’s titled “Washing the Wool” , oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches. The objective is to produce a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.

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

The first stage in creating Harris Tweed was to wash the fleeces of pure virgin wool. On each croft the men would start shearing the sheep in June using hand-shears to crop fleeces. On St Kilda, in earlier times the wool was plucked from the sheep by hand and cut with a knife. The fleeces would be carried to the soft running water of a nearby stream and washed to get rid of any dirt and impurities before being transferred to black cast-iron pots for the dyeing process (see previous posts on “Dyeing the Wool”).

The model is Kim.

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

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Drying the Tweed

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Drying the Tweed

This is the seventh completed painting in my Harris Tweed heritage series. It’s titled “Drying the Tweed”, 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.

This painting will be part of my next solo exhibition, “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.

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 – Sat 18th May 2013

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Washing the Wool - 1st painting

This is the latest progress on “Washing the Wool” it’s oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches. 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 – An Inspiring Heritage”, at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh (June 1st to June 8th 2013).

Background Info

The first stage in creating Harris Tweed was to wash the fleeces of pure virgin wool. On each croft the men would start shearing the sheep in June using hand-shears to crop fleeces. On St Kilda, in earlier times the wool was plucked from the sheep by hand and cut with a knife. The fleeces of the Blackface sheep would be carried to the soft running water of a nearby stream and washed to get rid of any dirt and impurities before being transferred to black cast-iron pots for the dyeing process (see previous posts on “Dyeing the Wool”).

The model is Kim.

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 – Sat 18th May 2013

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Drying the Tweed - 1st painting

This is the latest progress on “Drying the Tweed” it’s oil on canvas, 30 x 22 inches. About halfway to completion. This is part of my Harris Tweed Heritage series. 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

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.

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

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Warping the Yarn

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Warping the Yarn

This is the sixth completed painting in my Harris Tweed heritage series. It’s called “Warping the Yarn” ,it’s oil on canvas, 28 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.

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.

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

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Carding the Wool

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Carding the Wool

This is the fifth completed painting in my Harris Tweed heritage series. It’s called “Carding the Wool“, oil on linen, 24 x 18 inches. The objective is to create a series of paintings capturing the heritage processes used in the creation of Harris Tweed.

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 great 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.

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

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Spinning the Yarn

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Spinning the Yarn

This is the fourth completed painting in my Harris Tweed heritage series. It’s called ‘“Spinning the Yarn“, it’s oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. 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 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 than the hand carding process. 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 great 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.

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

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On the Easel – Thurs 2nd May 2013

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Washing the Wool - Frottee

This is the start of another painting in my Harris Tweed Heritage series. It’s called “Washing the Wool” it’s oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches. 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

The first stage in creating Harris Tweed was to wash the fleeces of pure virgin wool. On each croft the men would start shearing the sheep in June using hand-shears to crop fleeces. On St Kilda, in earlier times the wool was plucked from the sheep by hand and cut with a knife. The fleeces of the Blackface sheep would be carried to the soft running water of a nearby stream and washed to get rid of any dirt and impurities before being transferred to black cast-iron pots for the dyeing process (see previous posts on “Dyeing the Wool”).

The model is Kim.

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

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