Wednesday, 1 August 2018

National Exhibition 2018 Textile Creations 15th - 29th July Glasgow

This exhibition is a gem.  Such wonderfully creative and inspiring pieces of work.  It is a pleasure to wander around seeing and with the sample pieces, feeling the textiles on display.

General view of the exhibition space

Sweaters, cardigans, tapestries, wall hangings - such a variety of exhibits.

I took many photographs.  If your work is displayed here and you are unhappy about it being made public, let me know and I will remove the picture. There is a lovely catalogue illustrating all the work which I am sure will be available to purchase after the exhibition for those who were unable to attend.

A particular delight is the open exhibition of non-juried work.  Anyone who submits a piece of work has it displayed here. It was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

A small section of the non-juried work. 

A Mackintosh rose

The various interpretations of the theme are a delight.  I particularly appreciated that all the script describing the various items used the Mackintosh font. This aspect of the exhibition must have taken a long time to put together but it is a highlight.

One unusual piece was a Shetland Taatit rug.  These were intended for bed covers and were woven in two separate pieces. One half would be made by the family of the bride and the other by the family of the bridegroom. They would be stitched together just before the wedding. What a wonderful memento of the occasion.  It was created by Jess McCaffery from Edinburgh Guild.

The waistcoat in the background is by Rosemary Warren from the Somerset Guild.

A Shetland Taatit wedding rug

spinning samples

An exquisite shawl

This is one of the incredibly fine lace knitted shawls exhibited. It is by Phyllis Reeves from West Surrey using handspun Shetland fleece.  I am in awe of the skills needed to produce something so beautiful and delicate.

There were many scarves on show. This multicoloured scarf in silk and lambswool is by Janet Philips from the Online Guild.

Scarf by Janet Philips
Here is a lovely piece by Jennie Parry of the Braid Society.  They are braids made on a takadai using 57 bobbins. They are made of spun silk and paper. The background material is plain and twill weave woven using a wave shuttle.  I saw a wave shuttle in action when i was demonstrating at the heritage Centre in Durham last Saturday.  I have never seen one before and realised that it could be sued very creatively to produce some interesting effects.

Ripples on the Shore

Close up of sample piece by Jennie Parry
The close up shows the background fabric woven with a wave shuttle.

Vintage Upcycled by Cia Bosanquet
This lovely chair covering was created by Cia Bosanquet from Durham Guild.

It is always fascinating to see the source of inspiration for the pieces.  This wall hanging was inspired by N'jals Saga; a verse poem seen on a visit to the Stad Museum in Gothenburg. It is made with blends of the natural colours of Herwick fleece which is spun and then half dyed with red with the addition of black and white rovings. It was made by Caroline Thomson of the West of Scotland Guild. The poem is reproduced on the right.

N'Jals Saga retold.

Exhibitions like this are a delight to view but require a lot of hard work from the Guilds involved. The Guilds in Scotland and Northern Ireland should be proud of the excellent display.  They are Shetland, Clyde Coast, Isle of Arran, Edinburgh, Highland, Grampian, East Central Scotland, West of Scotland, Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Tweed and Ulster Guilds. Thank you for all your hard work.

At the entrance to the exhibition there were volunteers spinning and knitting.  On the window ledge there were several Kilner jars of dyeing.

Solar dyeing takes time!

My Entry

My entry for the National Exhibition this year is a yellow silk stole. The inspiration for the weave was seeing a field of ripe corn blowing in the wind.  The corn seemed to ripple like waves on the sea.  A photograph cannot do justice to the view.

I have just received a lovely email about my scarf.  Fiona described her experience of viewing a field of waving corn and she has given permission for me to share it with you.

'On a windy day some weeks ago, I walked past a field of young corn.  I stopped to watch the wind making waves across the field, as if there were a thin sheet of very pale yellow silk billowing over it.  Then I realised that each individual stem was not just dipping and lifting, but also shimmying from side to side.  I watched in fascination for some time - knowing that I had no way of capturing it, except in memory.'

She expressed so beautifully in words my own viewing of field of waving corn which inspired this scarf.

Silk seemed the obvious choice. I wanted the stole to be a luxury item.  Silk has the wonderful property of reflecting light in so many directions depending upon the surface of the weave and how the material is draped.  I have taken a few pictures of the stole.  It is difficult to get an exact colour reproduction as the colour changes and shimmers in sunlight. Each of the photographs show a different shade of yellow.

Rolled up and displayed on my loom
I finished the stole with twisted fringes at both ends.

A long piece of weaving
The length is 225 cm and the width is 46 cm.

Close up of material

Here it is displayed in the exhibition.

My silk stole
I also had another item selected but I will show this in a later blog.

Weave Chart

Here is the weave chart for the yellow silk stole. I used a networked draft to create a swirly pattern.

Pattern draft

Warp and Weft

Warp 2/60 silk used double colour -pale straw 4085

Weft: 2/60 silk used double - colour 4020 and straw: colour 4082

Sett 36 epi

Pattern repeat is 143 ends.

Ends per inch: 36 epi

I used a  9 reed  so there are 4 ends per dent.

Silk is always a joy to weave.


At the exhibition I spoke to Liz from the Cheshire Guild.  She will be helping with the next National Exhibition. It will be held in Leigh Spinners Mill.  What an interesting venue.  I had not heard of this mill before so I must go and see it.

The theme will be Coal,Cotton,Canals   This gives plenty of scope for interpretation.

Start your creative journey now! Remember to create a small feely sample.

The non-juried section will have the theme of Still Waters and should be displayed in a 6 inch ring.

Happy Creating!

Susan J Foulkes

Sunday, 15 July 2018


On the plane. 

Last month we had a long anticipated holiday in Brasilia.  We are interested in architecture and this city has been a place that we have longed to visit. I was not expecting to see many textiles as the architecture was our focus. However, there were some lovely examples of hand craft which I would like to share with you.

Map of Brasilia.  We stayed at a hotel in the centre (number 4 in the blue area)
Our hotel was in the middle of the main area and had amazing views. It was just what we had hoped for. It was a hotel for business people and conferences.

Daytime view. The building in front is a shopping centre next to the bus station.

The  Palacio do Congresso Nacional is in the distance. At the end of  our guided tour of this magnificent building we were given postcards which we could send for free to anywhere in the world.

View at night showing the illuminated buildings. 

We visited the museum called the Memorial dos Povos Indigenos, another building by Oscar Niemeyer.

An interesting collection of indigenous craft can be seen at this museum. Pottery, basketry and other items were displayed but there was no information in English.

The basketry was gorgeous.

Here is a close up of one of the basketry carriers.

The museum building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and has a striking central area.

There was a small craft outlet which sells items made by the indigenous people and all profits go to them.  I bought a pair of ear rings make with coiled straw.

Straw earings

We stayed in the central area near the bus station, a very lively place. There are tourist hotels on the outskirts of Brasilia near the lake but we wanted to be in the centre. Brasilia is not fully geared for tourism as it is an administrative capital so postcards and other ephemera of holidays did not seem to be available. However, next to the TV tower there was a wonderful market open at weekends.

Torre de TV

The tower was being renovated but it was still possible to go up to the first level.  This was hosting a fascinating design exhibition. I just wish some of the items had been for sale.

The views were tremendous.

Yes I was really there!

The view from the other direction shows the market area.

The TV tower market used to be at the base of the tower. In 2011 it was relocated to its present position and purpose built accommodation was put in place. There are lots of food outlets as well as a range of local hand crafts.

It was interesting to see that the unofficial market also appears on Saturday mornings.

We were due to fly out on Saturday late afternoon so we walked up to the market early. This is definitely the place to go to see crafts of all kinds. But it was not just for visitors. Several shops sold furniture and two sold fitted kitchens.

These photographs will give you some idea of the range of crafts on sale.

Bags and jewelry.

This store sold musical instruments of all descriptions. An astonishing range of ways to make sound.

These chairs from recycled tyres were very comfortable.

Ceramics and jewellry

Hand made shoes of all types and colours. 

Inlay wood designs

The work on this stall was beautiful. We only took hand luggage so anything we bought had to be small and light. We purchased a set of small pickle forks in different woods.

Some larger items were also for sale!

And of course some textiles.

Friendship bracelets were everywhere. I bought a couple as a reminder of this amazing place. I had to have one in the colours of Brasil.

While we were in Brasilia, World Cup matches were being played.  Here is a picture of a normal day and the traffic.  On Friday morning Brasil were playing a match against Costa Rica.  All the Government offices were closed for that morning.  What a difference! It was like a ghost town. We saw very few people but could here lots of cheers every time Brasil scored.  At the end of the match there was an almighty explosion of noise from cheers and fireworks. Brasil won 2:0.

A normal work day.

The tall buildings in the background are some of the Ministry buildings.

Martin crossing an empty road

A deserted road on Friday morning when everyone was watching the football on television.

We had a wonderful four days.  There was so much to see and there are still some further buildings which we would love to investigate. We will have to go back.

Susan J Foulkes July 2018