This is a written version of a short video that I made as part of the Voice of Video project run by the Great Alpine Gallery. You can see my video, and those of other artists, on the gallery website here.

This is not a direct transcript, but it’s based off the ‘script’ I used when recording the video, and I’ll include some still images of what was in the video.

Lamms on a floor loom viewed from below showing the texsolv cords connecting to the treadles.

I am…

… a Weaver.

I’m interested in connections – I love how humans make connections between things – real or imagined. I love learning about history and language, because there are so many links and connections and ideas that echo through time, and words that mean one thing in one context mean something else in another context, but they still link together…. 

In weaving, you describe the density of the threads in the cloth as DPI – dents per inch. What does dents mean? Its the spacing of these bars in the reed here, this holds the threads the right distance apart. It’s like a big comb, and on a comb you have ‘teeth’ and that’s what ‘dents’ means – like dental. 

photo of a reed, my finger is pointing to the bars, and you can see the warp behind it waiting to be sleyed

In Classical Architecture too you get these decorative elements like upside down crenulations, called dentils – it’s the same thing, it’s referring to teeth.

I studied Architecture and Building Design, and as well as the history of it, what I loved was the problem solving aspect of design.
And when I was working as a designer, I discovered the other great thing was that you (often, not always) have this actual physical thing that is built, a tangible real thing that happened, you were part of it, it’s very exhilarating.

I took up weaving as a creative pursuit outside of work, something that didn’t have deadlines, didn’t have so much pressure and didn’t need cost plans and 6 levels of management approvals and get built at the other end of the country where I couldn’t go see it…

Action shot of my hands weaving tapestry on a rigid heddle loom. The work so far is a mix of brown, grey and green tones

When I’m weaving something with my own hands it’s in my hands, I can see it and touch it and get that tangible experience at any point in the process.

And, of course, the principles of the design process are the same across mediums. As are the elements – line, pattern, colour, texture.

close up of woven twill, contrasting colours form dotted lines and zig-zag patterns. The warp is brown, green, blue and yellow, and the weft is white.

I get that same challenge and satisfaction of problem solving when I design cloth – test and design and test and design, then weave off a project.

Sometimes it takes a few projects for an idea to work its way out, it has to percolate a while… and the cloth can always give you a few surprises, so you’re always learning new things, and that spawns new ideas.

In that way all my projects connect to each other.

When I decided to make a business of this, I wanted a name with a connection to place and to my family.

Vintage, black & white photo of a small cottage beside a gravel road that comes around in a big sweeping bend. Some adults and children stand in front of the house; on part of the road is a horse-drawn cart with 2? passengers. There is a horse in the paddock beside the house.

My great-grandmother grew up at a place called Wattle Circle (on the Great Alpine Road), and so I thought using Wattle would be a good connection. And, with Hand-Weaving the initials are H & W, I love a good bit of alliteration, so I landed on Happy Wattle Hand Weaving.

Logo - the words Happywattle Handweaving in white, with green wattle leaves and yellow wattle blossoms
small diagram of a 'wattle' frame

I realised later, I hadn’t even meant to do it, but wattle is also an Architectural term – wattle and daub construction. The ‘wattle’ is a mesh or frame of upright posts with flexible horizontal timbers woven through them and then the mud or render is daubed on to make a solid wall – it’s literally a piece of weaving, that is also a building!
And that’s actually where the name for Wattle trees in English comes from, because they were used in wattle and daub construction.

photo of wattle blossoms and leaves

Like a lot of people who learn a new craft, I started off making a lot of gifts, for friends and family and so on… shawls or scarves or baby blankets.

This is my Gran and the cowl I made for her 90th birthday present.

And I still find those types of things so rewarding to make because there’s a beauty in everyday items, handmade items… I think sometimes we miss that a bit, in our modern lives, with so many mass-produced items we don’t necessarily have a connection to why we have that particular item.

A white woman in a pink shiry with ruffle sleeves holding a dinner plate - it has a Japanese floral design painted on it including gilt gold details. On my left hand you can see my engagement and wedding rings.

This plate was an engagement present from my Gran. She told me she wanted to give me something beautiful that was still an everyday object, so that every time we used it we’d be reminded of her and of her good wishes for our future.

I actually have several beautiful, everyday items that Gran gave to me – for example this woven blanket, which was made locally at the Jolly Jumbuk. It’s beautiful, and Gran was right – every time I use them I think of her and of her love.

A woven wool blanket in a broken twill pattern, with stripes of a natural brown and cream (not dyed). 
With my hand touching the fringe softly

And, I just think that’s … a wonderful connection.

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