Hello, my name is Emily!
I studied Building Design and Technology and worked for many years in retail design and residential construction. In 2013 I was feeling a need to get more creative outside of work – something bright and colourful to boost my mood after the frustrating commute home from the office. While visiting my parents one weekend, we found Mum’s old table loom in the shed, dusted it off, and had a play.
After that I spent months researching weaving – the styles, the loom options, the types of projects I could make. I also made myself a small round loom from cardboard to weave a ‘Tapestry Beret’ to test whether this was really going to hold my attention before I splashed out on the expense of a loom.
A youtube video comparing different types of Rigid Heddle looms piqued my interest – I had been looking at floor and table looms and worrying that I’d never find space for one, but these were so space efficient! The video was from the US so they made special mention of which brands were made in the USA; I figured I would try to apply the same ‘shop local’ policy, but could not find any made in Australia. I did find Ashford, made in New Zealand – close enough!
I took the plunge, and bought myself a 70cm ‘Knitters Loom’ from Wondoflex Yarn Craft Centre in Malvern.
Weaving has been a great creative occupation for me. I’ve always been greatly interested in colour and texture, but I think I also enjoy working on things that have a very practical application – whether that is designing a bakery layout that must work well for the baker; or weaving a strong and absorbant cloth for a tea-towel.
As well as the practical outcome of a physical finished object, I love the connections to history – weaving is a very old and universal human craft. Learning how fabric is made adds a new perspective to look at the everyday textile items we use (and when you start looking, there are a lot). It also gives a greater understanding and appreciation for the work, devotion and skill it took for previous generations to create all of the textile items that have clothed, furnished, housed, contained and transported humans for untold centuries. For example, the viking ships had sails of woven wool – can you fathom the amount of work that would take to create by hand?
In furtherance of this understanding and appreciation, I have more recently taken up spinning, dyeing, knitting and felting. I joined the East Gippsland Wool & Craft Group and found a wonderfully helpful group of multi-talented crafters who are so generous in sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm.