You are browsing the The Weave Shed archives for January, 2015

Company Profile: John Spencer Textiles

Spencer familyJohn Spencer Textiles are a 6th generation family weaving company run by the great-great-great grandson of the founder. The picture shows John Spencer, his son John and his grandson Tertius.

The mill is the last remaining traditional cotton mill in Burnley, Lancashire, once the world centre of cotton weaving.

130212_n0200Specialising in the weaving of spun yarns, the company makes a huge range of fabric widths and weights for all sorts of end uses including home furnishings, ladies and menswear, protective clothing, industrial fabrics and even parachutes.

Fibres used include cotton, wool, silk, linen, viscose and polyester to name but a few. Coloured yarns can be incorporated into the designs with unlimited warp colours and up to 6 weft colours.

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Studio Houndstooth launches The Houndstooth Project

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Studio Houndstooth launches The Houndstooth Project – a serious play, ludic, egalitarian project, which uses the well-recognised, houndstooth textile motif as the starting point for a public engagement making project for everyone and anyone as either individuals or as collaborators, using any media or approach, actual or virtual. See the website to download instructions and how to participate. Continue reading →

Symposium: Cultural Threads


The Open West 2015: Call for Entries






The Open West 2015 is putting out a call for entries. The exhibition will be at The Wilson Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

The deadline for applications is 20th February 2015 and the exhibition will be from 16th  May to 28th  June 2015. You can apply online or by post. All work is  invited from UK and international artists aged 18 and over

Curators : Lyn Cluer Coleman and Sarah Goodwin

Guest selectors: Neville Gabie and Alastair Gordon

The open west is inviting submissions from national and international artists and makers practising contemporary and conceptual art inclusive of painting, installation, film and sound, textile, photography, ceramics, print, drawing, performance, sculpture, glass, metal and plastics.

Up to 45 shortlisted artists will be selected and the exhibition will run for a six week period from 16 May to 28 June 2015, at the new purpose built galleries at The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. There will be an opportunity for selected artists to participate in an educational programme and a day of artist talks at The Wilson.

Ambitious curatorial vision – the open west is an exhibition well worth the trip to Cheltenham. It offers a bold vision by its curators and a fresh and current insight into contemporary art practice. Artlyst, June 2014

The panel of selectors for 2015 will include the curators Lyn Cluer Coleman and Sarah Goodwin, and artists Alastair Gordon and Neville Gabie. The Curators’ Award and the University of Gloucestershire Award will be announced on the Private View night of Friday 15 May 2015.

Full application details can be seen at along with information and images from the open west’s previous six exhibitions at The Wilson, the National Trust’s Newark Park, Gloucester Cathedral and the University of Gloucestershire.

The open west is a not for profit organisation dedicated to providing opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established artists.

Sarah Goodwin
Lyn Cluer Coleman

Publication: Cultural Threads

cultural threadsCultural Threads  by Jessica Hemmings considers contemporary artists and designers who work at the intersection of cultures and use textiles as their vehicle. Ideas about belonging to multiple cultures, which can result in a sense of connection to everywhere and nowhere, are more pertinent to society today than ever. So too are the layers of history – often overlooked – behind the objects that make up our material world.

The roots of postcolonial theory lie in literature and have, in the past, been communicated through dense academic jargon. Cultural Threads breaks with what can read as impenetrable rhetoric to show the rich visual diversity of craft and art that engages with multiple cultural influences. Many of these objects exist in an in-between world of their own, not wholly embraced by the establishments of art, nor functional objects in the conventional sense of craft.

Cultural Threads is an exploration of contemporary textiles and their relationship with postcolonial culture. However, the postcolonial thinking examined here shares with craft an interest in the lived, rather than the purely theoretical, giving a very human account of the interactions in between craft and culture.

Jessica Hemmings is Professor of Visual Culture and Head of the Faculty of Visual Culture at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Ireland. Jessica is editor of The Textile Reader (Berg, 2012), In the Loop: Knitting Now (2010) and Warp and Weft: Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors (Bloomsbury, 2012). She also regularly contributes articles and reviews to publications including Selvedge, Embroidery, and Surface Design Journal.
Text & images from the  Bloomsbury website.

Crafts Council Hothouse: Heather Shields

hshieldsloomHeather Shields is a woven textile designer based in Glasgow, who has recently been selected on the Crafts Council Hothouse scheme.

This scheme  is a “free programme of professional support for craft makers, delivered by the Crafts Council and partners and run over the course of six months” (ref: crafts council website). 39 Makers have been selected for 2015 including previously featured on The Weaveshed, weavers Rita Parniczky and Nadia Anne Ricketts.

Graduating with a BA (Hons) in Textile Design from Glasgow School of Art, Heather  went on to pursue an internship with Margo Selby to assist in weaving samples for her book “Contemporary Weaving Patterns”.

On returning to Scotland, Heather took up a part time post as weave technician at Glasgow School of Art. A year later she joined Glasgow Clyde College as a weave tutor and began writing the curriculum for their first weave course in partnership with Heriot Watt university.

Alongside her work in education, she developed a new collection of fabrics and was determined to start up her own textile design business. She participated in Nightriders, an 8 week pilot business programme created by service design company, Snook, and began showing her work at local exhibitions. In December 2014 she was selected to join the Craft Council’s Hothouse scheme for emerging makers.

Her designs combine playful colour palettes with bold pattern and quality craftsmanship. A fascination with contrasts, beauty in the unexpected and unusual juxtaposition has always been at the forefront of her design work. She explores these elements through carefully considered yarn choices and specialist construction techniques to create textiles that celebrate the charm of everyday objects. Inspired by childhood puzzles and games, her latest collection of contemporary homeware uses super soft lambswool and a double cloth construction to create luxurious cushions with a strong graphic edge. Heather’s fabrics evoke a sense of fun and are destined to be covetable statement pieces within the home.

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The Weavers|Nest: Workshop Assistant

WeaversNest-jobThe Weavers|Nest is looking for a workshop assistant.

The Weavers|Nest is a weave workshop, open to professional weavers and advanced students on a project basis hire.

The workshop is organised around a George Wood Dobby Loom, inherited from Central Saint Martins, set up in a cosy self-contained unit at the Copeland Park in Peckham.

Apart from the loom itself, we provide our visitors with all necessary tools, desk space and optional technical support.

We are currently looking for an assistant to share the workshop management tasks.
Ideal position for a craft lover, willing to get involve in the development of a small scale business dedicated to textile makers.

The candidate will be skilled with:
– technical experience of weaving // dobby loom specifically.
– communication // engaging with crafts community, developing the studio network, dealing with visitors and participants.
– administrative awareness // accounting, invoicing.

Experience in teaching and associative involvement is preferable but not compulsory.

Hours: part-time job with flexible hours.

Salary: to be discussed.

Starting: As soon as possible.

If interested, please contact Lucie Beauvert at with a few lines about your motivations, professional experience and knowledge of woven textiles.

Happy New Year from The Weave Shed

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