2019 spring workshops

Small group workshops or private lessons. Book by clicking on the photos, or email me for more information.

13 & 20 April Knitting for Beginners  – if you’re new to knitting or just starting to find your way.

27 April & 11 May Meditating the Spindle – learning to make your own bespoke yarn

18 May Eco Kitchen – learn to make beeswax wraps, handmade dishcloths and tips for making your kitchen more eco-friendly and less plastic-y!

Meditating the Spindle Masterclass for Artists – a one-on-one immersive workshop for artists. Tailored for your practice and curiosity, there’s a lot of experimenting and fun! Email me to discuss your needs and to make a date.

 

2019 winter/spring workshops

Happy New Year and welcome to 2019! My usual resolution is to learn a new skill, and for me this year it’s drawing. I like playing around with pencils and ink and charcoal but it’s not something I’m confident about. So a more methodical approach to drawing is top of my 2019 list! If learning something new is on your list too, sign up for a Counterweave workshop. Click on the images to find out more or email me at [email protected] if you have any questions.

2 February                   Knitting for Beginners (Rome) – if you’re new to knitting or just starting to find your way.

16 & 23 February       Sock Wizard Workshop for The Bird House Panicale  (Rome) – make your own cosy wool socks.

9 & 16 March               Meditating the Spindle (Rome) – learning to make your own bespoke yarn

 

Small group workshops or private lessons.

Echoes of Land and Sea

Our open studio and exhibition for Rome Art Week was a great success! Echoes of Land and Sea showcased the work of textile artists Felicity Griffin Clark and Olga Teksheva, and was curated by Velia Littera.

 

work by Olga Teksheva

We had many visitors for the opening night and during the week. They were fascinated by the use of textiles as a potent medium to create modern, expressive art and by the capacity of textiles to achieve such a range of effects.

work by Felicity Griffin Clark

As well as admiring the artworks, people were fascinated by the collaborative installation where the artists displayed their sketchbooks, experiments and inspirations from nature. As an added piece of excitement, both Felicity Griffin Clark and Olga Teksheva were admitted to the Society for Embroidered Work during the course of the exhibition. The Society is a professional organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting artists who use stitch as a component of their work. This is a cause dear to our hearts and we were thrilled to become members of S.E.W.

Counterweave is planning a bigger exhibition in autumn 2019 to showcase the versatility of textile as an art form.

Autumn workshops

Come and join us for our autumn workshops! Counterweave craft classes are fun and relaxing. My approach combines technical know-how with calm encouragement and stress-reducing meditation.

To book your place, just click on the the name of the workshop. If you can’t make these dates, please email me at [email protected] and we can organise a private lesson.

September

October

November

December

 

Meditating the Spindle Day 2

We had a wonderful second day of the Meditating the Spindle workshop.

The students had done their homework (lots of practice!) and came ready to learn how to ply their yarn and then how to finish it. After a break it was time to learn the very different technique of spinning silk, using silk hankies (including some gorgeous hand-dyed ones in lustrous colours).

Everyone did amazingly well and ended the workshop as very able and enthusiastic spinners, having made lots of yarn and ready to try new experiments incorporating all sorts of fibres and threads from embroidery floss to feathers and horsehair! Huge thanks to Giulia Mangoni for translation and teaching assistance!

As of Sunday 19 November, there are still a couple of places available in the next Meditating the Spindle Workshop, which will be held at Counterweave Arts Gallery & Workshop in Rome over the next two Saturday afternoons 25 November and 2 December 2-5pm.  Spindles, fibre and detailed class notes are provided: any previous experience with yarn or fibre will be helpful, but not necessary. Classes are in English with Italian translation.

You can book here or contact me at [email protected] for more details or if you would like private lessons.

We will be running regular workshops, including online classes, next year. As well as Meditating the Spindle, there will be classes on spinning with exotic fibres (including paper!), embroidery, silk papermaking, knitting, eco and indigo dyeing. We will be finalising the program over the next month with classes to start from the end of January – click here to sign up for the Counterweave newsletter for details and early bird discounts. And don’t forget we’re running a poll over on the Counterweave Facebook page to see what sort of workshops you would like to see next year. Click here to participate and get a 10% discount on 2018 workshop bookings!

art | craft | anima - Counterweave - Melbourne + Rome. Australian, Aboriginal & Asia-Pacific contemporary arts, crafts & textiles. Reiki & Tarot.

 

Meditating the Spindle Day 1

We had a great day on Saturday for the first Meditating the Spindle workshop. Keeping the group small makes for a cosier atmosphere and means I can give participants individual attention. Not that these students needed much attention! They picked it up so quickly and by the end of the afternoon everyone was spinning yarn.

Yoga mats meant that the inevitable dropped spindle wasn’t something to worry about, and short meditations kept the stress of learning a new skill down to a manageable level (no one swore, unlike me when I was learning) Chocolate helped too, of course…

Day 1 focused on getting to know the spindle and spinning lovely soft wool fibre from Hilltop Cloud. Day 2 is this Saturday and we’ll be learning to ply and exploring the possibilities of silk.

The next Meditating the Spindle workshop will be held on Saturday 25 November and Saturday 2 December – book here to reserve your place! If those dates don’t suit you I also take individual students – email me at [email protected]

And we’re running a poll over on the Counterweave Facebook page to see what sort of workshops you would like to see next year. Click here to participate and get a 10% discount on 2018 workshop bookings!

Meditating the Spindle workshops – book now!

We are now taking bookings for our Meditating the Spindle Workshops! Workshops are held on consecutive Saturday afternoons:

Saturday 4 & 11 November 2-5pm

OR

Saturday 25 November & 2 December 2-5pm

Spindles, fibre and class notes are provided. Any previous experience with yarn or fibre will be helpful, but not necessary

Min 2, max 6 students.

Cost: €120 incl IVA and materials

Click here to book your place!

 

Spinning fibre by hand using a drop spindle is an ancient technique and one the world relied on for thousands of years and it can teach us much about mindfulness in our very techno world in the 21st century. It is a skill that relies on patience, gentle concentration and mindful hands as well as a quiet mind.

This class will teach the fundamental skills required to use a drop spindle. By the end of the class participants will know and understand the use of the drop spindle; the different fibres that can be used to make different types of thread or yarn; be able to use their spindle to make yarn. They will learn how using a drop spindle can be an aid to mindfulness, meditation and calm.

Instructor: Felicity Griffin Clark has more than thirty years’ experience in fibre arts. She spins wool, silk, paper and hemp and makes textile and mixed media art. She is also a knitter and weaver. Felicity also takes private students for instruction, coaching or mentoring.

Contact: [email protected]

 

Exciting news!

We are really excited to announce that LM Knowles has joined Counterweave!

LM is a successful contemporary Australian artist of Aboriginal and European descent, currently living in France.

My art practice has been driven by ongoing personal desire to seek out traces of my heritage, and to construct an understanding of my identity and ‘place’ in Australia’s present day multicultural society. It has become an unremitting examination of the narratives and stories of Australia’s postcolonial histories, and the impact they have had on Indigenous culture today; in particular women such as myself.

LM’s unique textural collage paintings combine textiles, leather and paper with traditional Indigenous materials like fur and grass tree resin.  She has exhibited her work across Australia and Europe. Find out more about her here.

LM’s work will be available in the gallery from mid-November  email [email protected] for more information or to book a private gallery viewing.

We are very grateful to the Australian Cultural Centre – Italy who introduced LM Knowles to Counterweave and saw the possibilities and connections between our work. The Australian Cultural Centre – Italy provides support for Australians and Australian projects and programs in Italy, and works with local Italian Communities to create and develop projects and programs between Australia and Italy that offer long-term value to both of our countries. More information on the Australian Cultural Centre – Italy can be found here.

strong in culture

Counterweave Arts is more than selling Aboriginal art – we believe sharing aspects of Aboriginal culture is a fundamental part of being an ethical fair trade business. Aboriginal artists choose to share stories and knowledge through their paintings: these artworks are not just beautiful objects, they share some of the intricate cosmology, social structures, botany, medicine and spirituality that runs through every aspect of life. They are full of significance and meaning.

Agnes Nampijinpa Brown Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) – Puyurru

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived in what we now call Australia for at least 60,000 years. Aboriginal culture is the longest continuing culture in the world and it continues to live and grow,  handed down through the generations through ceremony, lore, song, art and language. For Aboriginal people culture and connection to country are fundamental to identity: being strong in culture means knowing who you are, where you fit, where you belong. And language is key to this. More than 250 Indigenous Australian language groups were spoken at the time of colonisation in the late 18th-century. Around 120 are still spoken today but there is a great deal of work happening around the country to revive, preserve, and strengthen language. More information is available at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies https://aiatsis.gov.au/

Currently Counterweave stocks artworks from Artists of Ampilatwatja and Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. These are communities in the very centre of Australia – about 300 kilometres east (Ampilatwatja) and west (Warlukurlangu) of Alice Springs and for many of the artists English may be their fourth or fifth language.

Margaret Kemarre Ross of Artists of Ampilatwatja

Maria Nampijinpa Brown of Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation

In other parts of Australia English is the dominant language and Aboriginal languages have disappeared or are spoken by very few people. This is especially true in the south east of Australia where colonisation almost wiped out the local Aboriginal peoples, in spite of a strong resistance. Gunai/Kurnai country is not far from our home city of Melbourne: local elders have been working hard to revive and share the Gunai/Kurnai language and in doing so, preserve and hand on the unique Gunai/Kurnai culture.

‘Language isn’t just about speaking, it’s your whole way of life,’ explained Lynnette Solomon-Dent. ‘It tells you what’s in the country, what the stories are, what your obligations are to each other.’ Unpack a single word and you can start to understand a system of kin relations and cultural obligations that are still alive and well. The word for ‘mother’ doubles as the word used for Lynnette’s sisters. If anything happened to Lynnette, her sisters would automatically become mothers to her children. It’s all there in the language.

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  • note that we use the term “Aboriginal people” to include Torres Strait Islander people. This is not meant disrespectfully but to avoid repetition. For brevity and readability we use the term, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples” at the beginning of a written piece, and “Aboriginal people” thereafter.

Australian art in Rome in August and autumn classes

art | craft | anima - Counterweave - Melbourne + Rome. Australian, Aboriginal & Asia-Pacific contemporary arts, crafts & textiles. Reiki & Tarot.

Felicity Griffin Clark – mixed media indigo concertina art book

Australian art specialists in Rome, Counterweave Arts Gallery & Workshop is open throughout the summer.

August in Rome is traditionally when businesses close for the summer holiday. It’s true Rome is hot, people are saying ‘see you in September’ and there are signs going up on shop doors saying ‘chiuso per ferie’. But Counterweave Arts is open for business! If you want a cool place to revive, and see some beautiful artwork by Australian artists email us at [email protected] to arrange an appointment. Currently in the gallery we have works on canvas by Central Australian Aboriginal artists represented by Artists of Ampilatwatja and Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, etchings by Melbourne artists, Lisa Sewards and Trudy Rice, and mixed media and textiles by Felicity Griffin Clark. Click here to see full catalogues of our current stock.

 

Nathania Nangala Granites, Warlukurlangu Jukurrpa (Fire country Dreaming)

 

Lisa Sewards Love is in the air

 

We also have some amazing wearable art in stock, with beautiful handwoven necklaces by Mary Burgess, silk scarves featuring the unique designs of Artists of Ampilatwatja and indigo silk scarves by Felicity Griffin Clark. These are also available in the online shop here.

We are currently working on our autumn/winter 2017 Counterweave Workshop program, with classes including:

  • Introduction to eco and indigo dyeing (one day workshop)

  • Introduction to shibori (one day workshop)

  • Meditating the Spindle – an introduction to mindful spinning (three half-day workshops)

Workshops will include materials, class notes and snacks, for a maximum of six participants, and led by Felicity Griffin Clark, an experienced mixed media and textile artist.  Dyeing and shibori workshops will use a range of natural materials including silk, wool, cotton and paper. Meditating the Spindle will focus on using wool and silk fibres. One to one classes for individual students are also available.

For more information email [email protected] or subscribe to the Counterweave newsletter for updates on exhibitions, opening nights, workshops and early bird discounts. A full autumn program and online booking will be available soon.

Mary Burgess Il significativo della tessitura

Mary Burgess: Il significato della tessitura

20 luglio al 28 luglio

Counterweave Arte, Via Tor De’ Conti, 22, Roma

“La tessitura diventa una reliquia dell’atto che si materializza, quando qualcosa di tangibile viene lanciata giù nel mondo, dando forma a qualcosa che si sarebbe stata sentita, sepolta dentro, è magari pure persa.” Mary Ma

 I tessuti di famiglia – i maglioni, i vestiti, i cappotti, gli accappatoi, le sciarpe, le cravatte, le coperte e più rimango silenziosi in tanti cassetti, armadi e garage. Non le vogliamo perdere ma non sappiamo che cosa farne. A volte, le buttiamo via velocemente ma con riluttanza quando facciamo la pulizia di primavera o quando un familiare muore.

Le opere qui sono tutte risposte al tentativo di tenere sospeso il filo, sia letteralmente che metaforicamente. I tessili e l’abbigliamento sono stati rilavorati attraverso il mezzo della tessitura a mano. In tutti i casi, la lavorazione coinvolgeva la decisione di usare i tessili del passato per creare qualcosa per il futuro.

Ogni capo è emerso attraverso la distruzione: strappare, lacerare e tagliare, scucire o dipanare i tessuti e l’abbigliamento. Spesso, quest’esperienza sembra rivivere la perdita dolorosa. Il processo coinvolge la rêverie, il racconto delle storie familiari, la comparsa delle verità conosciute ma impensate e la reinterpretazione dei rapporti. La tessitura sia delle storie che dei tessuti crea un oggetto tangibile dove il passato e il futuro diventano una matrice nuova, che tiene strati di significato pubblici e privati.

Questo è un processo sottile, che spesso non si può descrivere. C’è pure un senso che il capo nuovo non collega soltanto il passato con il futuro, ma sviluppa anche una vita e una storia propria.

Mary Burgess

“Tutto che creo è un tentativo a tessere una connessione con il mondo: lo sto sempre tessendo perché una volta è rotta.” Anais Nin

Mary è una tessitrice a mano da Melbourne, Australia. Si focalizza sulla memoria ed i tessili. Attraverso la propria esperienza di perdere il suo partner, ha sviluppato interesse nel modo in cui il dolore può diventare un po’ più sopportabile, magari trasformato dal processo di portare l’abbagliamento ed i tessili vecchi della famiglia e usarli per tessere una ‘memory cloth’ per il futuro. Mary ha scoperto che, attraverso il processo di tessere con le strisce strappate di tessuti che significano una cosa importante, qualcosa di nuova può anche essere tessuta dentro di noi.

Lavora con la gente che cerca a creare qualcosa originale che dura, dal vecchio ma prezioso abbigliamento di famiglia. Il suo processo creativo coinvolge ascoltare le storie di famiglia, disegnando in collaborazione con ogni cliente e usando i lori pezzi per tessere quello che si vuole: forse una coperta, una sciarpa, una borsa, una collana, oppure una decorazione per le pareti. Mary utilizza un originale telaio a terra a 4 licci molto bello ed un numero di telai da tavolo, a seconda il progetto. Lavora dal suo studio nel centro di Melbourne nel Nicholas Building, un edificio in stile Art-Déco che ospita tante piccole gallerie, gli artisti, gli architetti, le modiste, le gioielliere e le librerie. https://wovenmemories.com.au

L’abito di Delft

 In memoria di mia madre olandese ed il suo accappatoio blu che abbiamo comprato a Rotterdam.

“Non mi ricordo di mia madre, solo quando mando i miei occhi dalla finestra di mia camera da letto, nel blu del cielo distante, mi sento sulla mia faccia la quiete dello suo sguardo che si è diffusa attraverso il cielo intero.” Rabindranathe Tagore

Il tappetto di nonno per la bambina Ruby

Ogni volta che la madre di Ruby avvolge sua figliola in questo tappetto, si sente la forza, l’amore e la gentilezza di suo padre che racchiude la piccola, tenendola sicura ed aiutandola a crescere

La sciarpa in onore di Nina

Nina era un cocker spaniel splendida e giocosa. Adorava la sua coda piumosa, le orecchie lunghe e pelose e la sua famiglia. Questa è una memoria del suo calore, esuberante e tenero – un ricordo del suo spirito generoso.

Come mi amavi

Questo piccolo libro è una specie di narrativo, tracciando una storia d’amore. Comincia con gli inizi attraverso una grande gioia, poi la sofferenza e gli ultimi momenti del proprio partner. Utilizzando gli scampoli di vestiti, lenzuola e stoffa delle sedie, ogni piccolo tessile cucito o intessuto è una risposta alla memoria, una specie di rêverie tattile.

La copertina

La morbida mohair verde è inaspettatamente calda ed i tessuti strappati sono soffici dall’uso ed ai lavaggi. Il significato vero comunque viene dal atto di avvolgersi nei vestiti e tessuti d’un partner mancato tanto. Ogni filato ed ogni striscia strappata contiene le memorie d’un uomo di grande forza e generosità in un corpo cosi fragile – le sue qualità sono tessute insieme per proteggerla dal dolore di averlo perso.

Tappetto madre

Come si fa a rimanere aggrappato alle memorie dell’amore, le capacità e la cura d’una madre che esprimeva quelle qualità tramite l’arte di fare vestiti? Quando morì, i suoi tessuti, conservati cosi attentamente, rimanevano non usati per tanto tempo. Adesso che sono strappati a pezzi per tessere a mano, tengono le memorie di sua figlia molto sicure e, in più, la tengono caldo.

Ti tengo nel posto più sicuro che conosco

“La speranza è una cosa con le piume, che si posa nell’anima, e canta la melodia senza parole, e non si ferma – mai.” Emily Dickinson

Dentro ogni sacchetto, c’è un tesoro piccolo, qualcosa preziosa che tiene una memoria – un frammento di tessuto, un bottone, un grano, una chiave, un pezzettino di scrittura. Tenuta vicina al cuore, ogni pezzo porta una forza sorprendente e misteriosa.

Ma il dolore non finisce mai?

… non c’è un’altra parte, non c’è spingersi, c’è soltanto l’assorbimento, l’adattamento, e la rassegnazione. E dolore non è qualcosa che si può finire; anzi, si subisce. Il dolore diventa un elemento di sé stesso, un’alterazione del essere, un nuovo modo di vedere, una nuova definizione di sé.

[Translation from the original English by Natasha Kingston, Natasha Kingston Translations]