Looking to the Light

It’s taken eighteen months to go from an idea based on this photo:


to Chasm, the A3 sized tapestry featured above. It came off the loom just today, and is doing whatever it is that textiles do after being stretched on the rack for four weeks. Next week I hope to complete the hemming, do some more styling of the shag on the back, and cover the back  with two-way stretch fabric.




What is weaverly?

Complete freedom leads to artistic travesty.

Each medium has constraints. How may those constraints be conducive to creativity? What sets a woven tapestry apart from a painting – and what are it’s unique constraints?

Sylvia Heyden notes the primacy of the grid.

The shapes native to the grid are: steps, the diagonal, and the triangle. A curve or circle should therefore admit that it is composed of steps.

From Lurcat we have the prescription of:

flat images, with no modelling/shading – no three-dimensionality,

no perspective,

no horizon or skyline –  I think this may be relaxed in the modern context

greatly reduced palette – he had six major colours and five or six tones or brightnesses of each, giving thirty or so choices,

colours bright, adjacent colours setting each other off.

But I do not accept Lurcat’s dictum that a tapestry be a very large scale architectural adornment, or that the designer’s cartoon and colour specifications be adhered to with no deviation by the weaver.

Colour blending is to be achieved with hatchures. Blending by gradually changing the colour balance of threads on the bobbin is, to my mind a ‘painterly’ approach.

The medieval ‘greats’ – Lady and Unicorn, the Unicorn series, Devonshire Hunting, like their predecessors, all abhorred a vacuum. The weaving field is crowded with images. This may not appeal to modern sensibilities – but avoidance of empty space is definitely an option to keep in mind.

Vertical slits that require Gobelin stitching are also relying on a non-native solution. Perhaps there is no solution – the completely straight vertical may be alien to tapestry, and the solution lies in the interlock as in Scandinavian style so-called “Flemish weaving.”

Scandinavian weaving abounds in interlocked verticals and triangles, as do the Navajo blanket geometric designs.

Texture on flat weave may be given by warp wrapping and looping with the several variations of soumak and running rya. I am dubious about cutting the loops to form pile – seeing that more as a rug technique. I am hesitant about using twining – this brings two wefts into play simultaneously, where the rest of the work is done with one weft at a time.

These may be artificial limits, but perhaps worth playing with.

The ‘go to’ texts for me:

1. Mette Lise Rossing – the thread’s course in tapestry (tradens gang i billedvaev)

2. Marie Cook, Valerie Kirk & Cathy Hoffmann. Dye Yarn and Produce Woven           Samples – SW TAFE Unit VBAU036 Dip Tap 21870 Vic

3. Marie Cook, Valerie Kirk, mod by Cathy Hoffmann – Refine Techniques for Textile Work – SW TAFE Unit CUVTEX501A – Dip Vis Arts – Tap CUV50111

4. Peter Collingwood – Techniques of Rug Weaving – Chapters 1-6, Chapter 14.

5. Peter Collingwood – Beyond the Basics – Weft-faced rugs in Plain Weave.

There are obviously lots of other useful texts. These are the pick of the lot.

So what’s new – the Navajo did it first

Four-selvedge weaving has been the way the Navajo have made their geometrically patterned chief’s blankets for a couple of hundred years – if not more.

The following Pinterest page clearly shows the looms set up with ancillary beams and supplementary warps:


My own attempt at setting up my modified Spears No 4 loom with supplementary warps collapsed. Current intention is – remodify loom to take account of the self-spacing nocks top and bottom – and thus avoid those annoying warp crossovers that can develop during warping, and set up for a hemmed interpretation of the light streaming into the Echidna Chasm.



Planning a four-selvedge tapestry

Having just completed my Savannah tapestry, I’m gearing up for the next effort.

I was intrigued a little while ago to come across Rebecca Mezoff’s detailed post on 4-selvedge weaving. The idea of no fringes and no turned-over hem is appealing.  Some years back my late sister found and gave me an old Spears No 4 loom – this was an English production of a stripped down rigid-heddle loom. I had modified it into an upright square tapestry loom – and now I added some height (to accomodate the upper supplementary warps) and put in some hooks so that the “jig” is part of the loom (though separate in Mezoff’s adaptation of Sarah Swett’s method.) This what it looks like:C14795D6-18B4-48C7-8450-794E445E2E3A

The idea is that the main warp is wound between the ‘top bar for main warp’ and ‘bottom bar for main warp’.

Two supplementary warps are wound, one interlocks the top of the main warp to the top tensioning bar, and the other, the bottom of the main warp to the very bottom bar.  The main warp bars are then removed one by one as tension is applied – and weaving can begin.

It seems finicky, but the extra time involved in setting up the supplementary warps is offset by the time it takes to weave and sew hems.

If one insists on the four selvedges, one is, of course, committed to the dimensions set by the placement of the removable bars, though one could compromise and finish short with a fringe or woven hem.

Savannah is very much about both the shapes and the colours of the northern outback.  I was also very much taken by the amazing colours in the Echidna Chasm at the north end of the Bungle Bungles. This is the image from there that will form the basis of the next one:


Planned size is about A3. I ‘ll be warping a Glenora 12/12 warp at 9 epi.

Now – interpretation. What is a ‘weaverly’ thing to do? Lots of lovely knobbly stuff in there  – do I add texture with pile techniques – or is that getting cheap thrills when I haven’t fully explored all that plain tabby can do? How geometric am I going to get? All is in the lap of the gods…

Usually I get through a piece this size in about three weeks, but I have the feeling that this is going to be a greater challenge for a longer time.

At last, then, something…


Savannah –  25 cm h x 35 cm w

the scrub looks so open in the Kimberley, till you walk two hundred metres on that red pindan and realise you’ve lost sight of your starting point. So, either a compass, or the sun, the season and the time. And always, fire and smoke somewhere.

Note – used only old bobbin remnants and those cutoffs you can get at the Tapestry Workshop.

Had some pull in, and found one could add in one (or two) warps at the edge – hardly the most elegant solution.


Norm at JCU-Lifersu

Unlike down south, where it’s all much more regulated, there is a pleasing imperturbable casualness about life-drawing up here. There is no official model’s association or union, and hence no rigorous insistence on changing rooms, fixed breaks, specified payments, etc. In Melbourne we stick to a fairly rigid programme of five at 2 minutes, two at 10 minutes, then a break of 10, followed by three at 20 with intervening 10 minute breaks. Up here they start with five or six at 1 minute, and then a series of varying lengths, could be 10, 20, 35, with indeterminate breaks. Seems to work and no-one complains.

The models all seem to be amateurs – among others we’ve had a student, a handyman, a university lecturer and a bus-driver. And today’s Norm, the bus driver, also appears some weeks on the other side of the operating table as a participant drawer in his own right – and pretty good too!

So, quickies:

and longer:

a couple of blow-ups:

and a final devil:

Tricolour Lou at JCU

Having done a head in three colours in the portraiture class (charcoal and white chalk on brown paper), I thought I’d try it in figure drawing.

The theory behind this is that in drawing on white, you can’t go whiter, so you are starting with the highlights and are working from light to dark. This is also what one does in watercolour (but not in the ‘thick’, non-transparent media – oils and acrylics).

However, starting with brown, one is in mid tone, and can go lighter with white and darker with black.

So here is Lou, last Sunday at the JCU Lifers’ All-day, on an opened out brown carry-bag from the bookshop:

And here she is in simple line:

Botanicals on Black

Having tried white on black in the portraiture class, I thought I’d see how it might transfer to other subjects. The native flower that caught my eye has large bunches of very, very, white-yellow stamens. These would be very difficult to see against a white ground. But on black…

This first one was done with watercolour using a very small brush:

The problem with this is that even with the small brush, the stamens are too thick, and it is hard to convey the fact that there are very many of them. So these next two, done in coloured pencil, are to my mind more successful:

Portraiture at the Cairns Art Gallery with Craig Hoy – 1st three sessions

A simple start – an imagined head, in graphite. For those who remember, uncannily like Clement Attlee!

And who said both sides of the face should be equal?

Three-quarter head often more interesting than full frontal:

So – three-quarter head, in masses rather than in line, with use of negative space to bring head forward, and done in water-soluble graphite, water applied.

But if line is preferred rather than mass, sometimes a continuous line drawing can work (and sometimes not):

Does one really need to show the face in full? Perhaps less is more:


Still less

And yet less still

A group effort – five people in turn worked on this drawing of me. Therefore the first person set the scale of the whole and made the decision on line or mass. It’s done in soluble graphite and I did the final wash over.

This next series is aiming (not particularly successfully) at some chiaroscuro and sfumato effects. The ideal was not to put a clean line down but to rely on mass. The first two are in uncompressed charcoal:

Now, on brown paper and using two colours – charcoal and white chalk:

And the even more startling white on black!

But line is so seductive, black on white

Or white on black (with graphite overlay to give a silvery sheen):

Still two more sessions to go in this course.

An attempt to draw on an ipad

This series of from 1 to 20 minute-poses, of Julie at JCU Tuesday night, was done on a 9.7″ iPad using Autodesk Sketchbook and an Apple Pencil. It’s a very different experience to drawing on A3 or half-imperial on an easel. Everything shrinks down. Mind you, I doodle sometimes in an A5 pad – and that is smaller than the iPad screen. But the feel is very, very different.

It took me some time to decide which app was best suited from Autodesk, Procreate and Artrage. The unenhanced Autodesk’s simple brush set seemed most appropriate. The next decision was to use only Autodesk and get its feel without being distracted by any use of the other Apps.

I used the pencil, pen, charcoal and watercolour brushes, the blender and eraser. One huge plus is of course the ability to undo and to erase. I have not yet attempted to use layers.

I soon found out that it suited me best to zoom out to 150 or 200% – that gave room for expansion if needed.

Anyway, first doodles:

Practice on loom and on paper

With Cresside Collette at her intermediate workshop at the Australian Tapestry Workshop on 13 and 14 June:

I bit off a bit more than I could chew on this one – in my haste to get a full 20×15 cm done in two days I made a number of errors. There are several instances of jumped warps and I probably spent too much effort on the blue and green soumak ‘whip-lashes’. But overall I am pleased to have got some decent colour gradation going on, which was the focus of the workshop. Thanks, Cresside!

With Julie Mcenerny at her Watercolour Pencil Botanic Drawing workshop at the Cairns Botanic Gardens on 1 July:

Not quite A3 size, this drawing of jackfruit again a bit too large to let me get it to an adequate state in the five hours available – I had to skimp on the smaller fruit and the buds. Next time I’ve got to remember to keep the scale small.

Untutored life-drawing group meeting at James Cook University, 27 June:

Not really competition for Henry Moore!

Life-drawing group, 4 July:

Ok for a quickie.

A folded bean-stuffed heat bag – capturing the texture:

… with one eye on the TV!

Those Crazy Kuranda  Leaves – a study in tropical textures 

A mixture of soumak (i-open, ii – alternate closed and open with staggered rows), half-hitches over the next warp (giving the knot to the front), vertical wraps on two warps (essentially a sort of climbing open soumak), and loops. These are standard loops – i.e. they are supported  only by subsequent packing, and can be pulled  out from the rear. I’ve since realised one can lock them in by looping back under the previous warp. 

The plan is to have hems top and bottom, so no braids will show. Once off loom and all sewn down, the ideas is to cut the looped areas and have patches of tufted pile.

How to wreck an idea for a tapestry.

I had wanted to try some texture in a fairly simple yet bold piece. Fossicked through the old photo file and came up with this b/w version of a lost colour original:


However I had worked on the lost original and still had this cropped, chopped and colour-manipulated image:



And its reversal:


I thought I’d  go with the middle image above – the red-green reduction.

I wanted to use my current large loom – the steel one from Warrnambool, open frame space: width 20.5” ( say 51 cm), height 28” (say 71cm). I didn’t want to work too close to the top of the frame as I usually have a lot of tension on the warps (it becomes very tight indeed as one moves up the loom), so I thought I’d work to a height of piece of about 17” (say 43 cm).  Taking into account that the floor would be a little under 3” (about  7cm) above the base bar, that would mean working two-thirds up the loom. Should still be possible.

Further, looking at the lay of the verticals and horizontals, I’d need to weave the piece on its side:


This then dictated dimensions of, width 11” (27.5 cm) and height 17” (42.5 cm).

Looking at the occasional thin colour bands of reds and yellows, I reckoned I could manage them with an epi of 8 (13 in 4 cm). I think this was my major error, and instead of my newly arrived 3×4 (12 thread) Glenora warp at 8 epi, I should have used the Ashford, which, as far as I can pick it apart, seems to be 3×2 (6 threads), and on Archie Brennan’s test (number of wraps per centimetre gives warps per inch) would have given me an epi of 11 (17.5 in 4 cm:35 in 8 cm).

The reduced flexibility at 8 epi led me to oversimplify and exaggerate. The following is the current state of play – leaf 1 completed:


The little purplish patches in the blue are blobs of open soumak. The yellowish-gold leaf outlines and central rib can be seen either as half-hitches with the knot pulled frontwards or as closed soumak on two warps, and the red or bronze leaf outlines and central rib are closed soumak across three warps, returning on the alternate warps.

The leaf side-ribbing is half-hitched, and particularly on the top-side (the bronzed side) it has burst the banks, as it were, and is too blatant and bubbly. I attribute this to a combination of too thick thread (too much in the mix) and clumsy knotting, often inconsistent in direction round the warps.

Unless persuaded otherwise I will probably close this piece off at this point with a double row of half-hitches.

Currently it’s still sitting on the loom – seen here with the cartoon mounted:



Not warp speed, Mr. Sulu.

I had begun measuring out the warp for my next project when, much to my surprise I got to the end of my 12/12 Glenora cotton warp, and not yet half-way through. A phone call to Christine at Glenora Weaving (02 4234 0422), and hopefully 750 metres will arrive in the next few days.

But meanwhile, there are all those leftover tidyings up that one never seems to get around to. For instance, the need for a haircut and braiding at the back of The Forest Below:

messy back

And after that I’ve got to ball up the third skein of rather lovely silk I got at one of the little places on Salamanca, Hobart, last year. Just balled up the first two over the last couple of days. There must be a kilometre of winding in those skeins – next time I’ll have to try and improvise a swift. And then, still more braiding and finishing of my two white monochrome bits.

tasks outstanding


As to my next project – once the warp arrives I’ll begin documenting it.

A Summation of Soumaks

My next piece had been planned to be in monochrome with emphasis on textures. But what textures? I decided to do a sampler.

Texture can be added in four main ways (considering here only flat-weave):

  • by warp wrapping – which is the basis for the Soumak technique,
  • by the insertion of supplementary wefts,
  • by looping, such as a continuous, uncut ‘rya’,
  • by a combination of the above.

I wove 12 soumak variations, based on the examples in  Mette Lise Rossing’s ‘The Threads Course in Tapestry’. The sampler is very small: width 15 cm (6”), height 10 cm (4”). In the list below the block type gives the corresponding paragraph number in Mette Lise Rossing.


Reading from the bottom up there is

  1. mlr 75     open soumak, one pass, ;
  2. mlr 77     closed soumak, one pass;
  3. mlr 78     open soumak, one pick, closed soumak one pick, open soumak one pick;
  4. mlr 82     double open soumak, one pass, notated as forward 3 back 2 or 1/3/2;
  5. mlr 84     double closed soumak, one pass, 1/3/2;
  6. variation on mlr 79-81   extended open soumak, one pass, 1/5/3, so with overlap;
  7. variation on mlr 79-81  extended closed soumak, one pass, 1/6/2, so no overlap;
  8. mlr 91     double closed soumak on alternate warps, 3 picks,  each alternating                                    with the last;
  9. mlr 93     as 8 but with the insertion of a supplementary weft;
  10. mlr 102   a ‘continuous rya’, one pass – can be seen as open and closed                                               soumak on alternate warps, the second pick alternating with the                                          first;
  11. mlr 103    as 10, but the second pick stacked on the first;
  12. mlr 90     3 triple half-hitches, knots to the front, one pick – essentially a  triple                              closed soumak on 1 warp.

Items 1 and 2 show the basic soumak chevron. The doubled variations in 4 and 5 make the chevrons larger, more obvious.

Item 3 stacks one half only of the chevron.

Items 6 and 7 give elongations of the chevron, and convey a sort of lengthening, smooth effect.

Items 8 and 9 have an interesting pattern variation, quite different to the ‘bricky’ or chained appearance of  items 10 and 11.

Item 12 gives the appearance of a strong raised welt.


There seem to be 4 basic patterns:

1 the chevron

2 the ‘fasces’ – items 8 and 9

3 the chain – items 10 and 11

4 the ‘welt’ or ridge – item 12.

There are clearly a large number of possible variations, depending on

1 the number of warps crossed forwards and backwards,

2 whether open or closed,

3 whether crossings are over or under, and

4 whether the following pick is stacked or staggered.

The notation I improvised above does not cover all the possibilities. A full notation system would be quite complicated, BUT when actually working it is essential to know exactly how the effect is being produced and to be consistent in its application.

If anyone knows of a notation method, I’d be interested to hear of it.

For this exercise I used this little ramshackle sampler loom, knocked up in a hurry and held together by string, a clamp and hope. The open frame dimensions are width 27 cm  (10.8”), height 32 cm (12.8”).


The Forest Below


44 cm (17 1/4″) x 28 cm (11″), 7 epi, mixed wool and mercerised cotton, from 3 to 8 ply.

Oops! This is not what was on the cartoon. Somehow it seemed to get a mind of its own and went wandering… It’s a bit like the curate’s egg – good in parts. Some egregious mistakes (which I’m keeping to myself for the moment). But for a first effort back after a long absence, I’m pleased.

Not quite finished yet. Still on loom – have to do the final double half-hitches, slit sewing and off-loom braiding. Might mount it inset on a board – or just let it hang.

I’ve just reread Lurcat on The Design of Tapestry – limited palette, no colour mixing by thread substitution, but by shades and hachure. [I suppose we just ignore his insistence on work being on a major scale.]

Next task is a thorough sifting of the yarn cache and trying to get some order into it.

I’m not sure whether the next attempt will be monochrome plain weave using several shades, or alternatively, a monochrome textured piece using soumaks – Mette Lise Rossing’s manual details a number of fascinating soumak variants.[Or, of course, something completely other.]

Starting weaving again, from the ground up.

A new post after a long absence, being

  1. Sorry I was away, and
  2. Weaving from the ground up.
  1. Sorry I was away

Back in mid-2015 I noted an “inner-tube replacement, new valve, timer mechanism reset and air intake filter cleaned. A busy few months!” – which referred to a replacement stent, a new heart valve, a pacemaker and an asthma attack. Even so, I still don’t understand why my GP’s referral’s call me “an elderly gentleman with multiple problems…”  Elderly? Multiple problems? Pshaw!

More recently there have been the minor inconveniences of losing my voice for a number of months, until finally a growth was removed from my vocal cords, and then that thunderstorm which set off another bout of asthma.  An asthma attack can lose me a month of time, during which sleep becomes less and less possible as the prednisolone builds up – and with it the weird semi-hallucinations.

So prednisolone became the town of  Prednyi Solonyi in  my last delirious post on the Phoenix Rescue Mission – Palmer 2.


a week or so ago my younger daughter took me to the Australian Tapestry Workshop’s 40th anniversary donor’s night (she works in philanthropy administration – has a great blog at https://ozphilanthropy.com ).  Had an interesting chat with one of the three new interns – a young woman who had done the first two years of the Warrnambool diploma (as I myself did) finishing at the end of last year just as the course closed down.

And talking to her and seeing those huge looms again and the smaller sampler looms, my appetite was re-aroused…  so:

2. Weaving from the ground up 

  1. Do I have stuff to weave with – checking the stash.
  2. Design selection.
  3. Loom selection and producing the cartoon.
  4. Warp calculation and warping on.
  5. Heddle bar and leashes and cartoon setup. 
  1. Do I have stuff to weave with – checking the stash

This is the stash:


A large part of my stash is still a hangover from before I began the Warrnambool course, when I had been doing a fair bit of weavette style continuous warp work on home-made little pin looms. I knew nothing about wools, and collected a lot of, to my jackdaw mind, lovely bright colours mainly in 8-ply! I used a lot of it in my course work, so it is possible to use it (judiciously) for tapestry. Much of the rest comes either from Warrnambool or from the mixed off-cut bags they sometimes sell at the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

Anyway, it looks to me like it’s strongest firstly in greens/yellows, and then in blues.

  1. Design selection.

So – now for something greeny yellow!

I have a number of potential designs already stored in their own file on computer. They are of two kinds:

Firstly are designs I have drawn myself, either on paper or on computer. The hand-drawn ones were either photographed or scanned in. The programs I use for computer drawing have usually been the old Naturepainter or Microsoft Paint.

Secondly are designs derived from photos I have taken. I use two main programs to manipulate photos – Picasa has sufficient flexibility for most of my purposes, leaving it to Mtpaint to resize the results up to an acceptable pixel count.

For my current project I selected a design based on this photo:


This is looking down on the rainforest from the Kuranda skyrail in Far North Queensland. Applying various filters and crops in Picasa produced this image:


Printed on A4 this will be the maquette or reference image I will use.

Loom selection and producing the cartoon.

I’ve currently got four tapestry looms, three home-made wooden ones and one steel frame from Warrnambool,  ranging in size from open frame dimensions of 9 cm x 22 cm  to  52 x 73 cm.

Notwithstanding the fact that Skyrail has a couple of prominent near-verticals, I have decided not to weave the image on the side – but I want it as large as I can manage. So it will be the Warrnambool steel frame.

To produce the cartoon I segmented the original image into quarters by cropping it four times in Picasa. Each quarter was pasted on screen  into an A4 page (landscape format) in Microsoft Word, and reduced to a width of 22 cm, using the Word rulers as a guide.

After printing the pages and trimming them, I sellotaped them onto a thin cardboard backing sheet.

Warp calculation and warping on.

I am using a fairly heavy warp (3×6) at 7 epi. I used Archie Brennan’s method of epi calculation: number of close wraps per centimetre = warps per inch. Total warp length is calculated as ((individual warp =frame length plus frame thickness) x (tapestry width in inches x 7)) plus (individual warp x 6 – this gives 3 blank warps on each side) plus (enough to tie on and off – say another individual warp length).

After measuring the width of the actual loom I divided that into the calculated warp length. Using the loom itself as a warping board that gives me the number of half turns needed to measure off the required length – nearly two hundred! After winding that onto the loom across its width, near the top of the loom, I then rewound it all onto a home-made wide wooden shuttle:


Then came the actual warping up. In order to be able to pass the warp easily below the bottom bar, I set the loom as a bridge on two equal height boxes on the garage floor. I tied the warp end onto the left hand end of the top bar, and began winding from top to bottom and up again in a figure of eight – crossing the warps on each turn.

The tie on is done either as a larkspur knot (neat) or as a surgeon’s knot – a reef knot, sometimes called a square knot, plus an extra half-hitch. Not so neat, but more Irish (to be sure to be sure.) Winding in a figure eight means that a shed is automatically built in. As I wound on, every half dozen turns I would pull down on all the warps in sequence from the left to keep up the tension and remove any slack.

I have marked off in permanent marker both top and bottom bars in inches. As I wound, I checked to keep seven crossovers in each two inches – which would give seven individual warps per inch.

It was incredible that even while paying strict attention to what I was doing, I still managed to miss-wind, forgetting to do the crossover, several times, and having to correct.  Weaving is a painstaking process – how many times during the actual weaving have I noticed a missed warp three or more picks back and had to unpick to that point!

Tie off at the end with the same knots.

Heddle bar and leashes and cartoon setup.

 The loom is now in from the garage and clamped onto an ironing board. This is a tip I got from Glennis Leary (she has a blog at http://windingthread.blogspot.com.au  but does not seem to have been active recently) . Rather than having to have a number of different height seats as the weaving level goes up the loom, one just readjusts the board height.


I then put in several rows of ‘floor’, which will be pulled out at the end. I decided not to do a fold-over, but to braid as usual at the end, and after sewing in will colour the braids.

Did a row of double half-hitches in a green blend – these will show.

Then dismounted the loom and placed it flat on the garage work-table, with cardboard padding on which is placed the cartoon below the warps. Traced the  major lines of the cartoon onto the warps with thick permanent marker.

Re-clamped the loom to the ironing board (not the one used for our ironing by the way – this one was off the nature strip, and is stripped down to the metal.)

This loom did not come with a heddle bar, so I improvised one. I cut a piece of dowelling the width of the loom, and nailed a strip of ply about 8 cm x 2.5 cm to each end. At each end of the dowel I screwed in a small hook which I had prised open slightly. I then clamped the two side pieces to the top of the loom very tightly with a couple of small clamps. I straightened out a metal clothes hanger and cut a length just over the width of the loom and set it into the hooks on the dowel.


Now for the leashes. First I wove a single strand of household string high up the loom, maybe 14 cm below the heddle bar and tied it to the frame on both sides. This brought the back warps forward, so I could catch them when putting on the leashes.

I used the same cotton that I used for the warp and made continuous string heddles using Laverne Waddington’s page at  https://backstrapweaving.wordpress.com/tutorials/tutorial-continuous-string-heddles/ as a guide. I looped the cotton onto the strip of coat hangar from the right-hand end. When I had done I ‘lashed’ the coat hanger strip to the dowel with simple household string every three or four inches – and removed the guide string I had woven.


Finally, the cartoon was mounted and set just above the row of double half hitches.


All these steps together were spread over about four days.

The next step is to start the actual weaving.

New material from Phoenix Rescue Mission – Palmer 2

A previous post (under ‘Digital’) published an aerial view of Prednyi Solonyi found in the archive of Rescue Mission Palmer 1. This was the image:

06-first landscape

We now have an image of one of the oldest buildings in the colony, the Old Krankenhaus, or hospital:

krankenhausPrednyi Solonyi was the first settlement established on Teitelbaum 5, known as Phoenix (Teitelbaum = date palm, Latin Phoenix dactylifera.)

The Old Krankenhaus was built by Dr Ernst Loebe entirely from local materials. Loebe also established the faience works, and tiled the hospital roof with the rare red-tinted tiles, and finished the outer wall with the commoner blue-green in the coping work.

This drawing was in the archive brought back by recovery vehicle Palmer 2. It can be dated fairly accurately as the sky colour is typical of the middle stage of the second major solar flare (Teitelbaum Event TF 17.) The artist (or cartoonist if you like) was evidently a member of one of the dissident groups opposing roboticisation. This can be seen from his lampooning robotic servitors as ‘tin men’, and in the wry notices on the outer wall.

The drawing gives a good impression of the ubiquitous nitro-converters. These were originally torus-shaped when installed in the fields. However when it was decided to put them within the built-up areas they had to contend with the overhead wiring. The inverted crescent shape was designed to accomodate this, and turned out to be more efficient than the original torus.

The kerb-stones in the drawing are clearly Sick Rocks from the first quarry opened. The radiation danger from these when used in the construction of buildings was not realised initially. After the ban on their use for housing they were still often used in kerbing and for field fencing.

Comments by

Franklyn Russo

Librarian, Palmer 2 Recovery Material.

Cityscape in Koornang Road

Gleneira Artists Society had an all-day love-in called Cityscape, in  Koornang Rd on Sunday the 8th of November. About fifteen of us, scattered up and down the shopping strip. Second time we’ve done it there.

Here are my two pieces:

  1. Koornang tripleview, 40x50cm, Texta on canvas!

koornang tripleview

2. Koornangg street signs. 30x40cm. Also texta on canvas, but ruined with a little bit of fixative…

koornang street signs

The Hind at the Meeting of Night and Day

12 x 14.5 inches, 8 epi. Undyed wool, 4 strands.

Even tho’ all one colour, at one stage 10 bobbins were dangling!

Clearly only an apprentice piece with lots of egregious errors – but a hell of a learning experience with sumac, chaining, twining and pseudo-twill all jumbled up together. But, ah, the texture!!!