Kimono fabric and alpaca fibre in the shop!

We’re adding craft supplies to the Counterweave shop! You can now buy vintage Japanese kimono fabric by the yard or in pre-cut packs. At the moment there are four types of kimono fabrics available.

There is also beautiful soft alpaca fibre in deep black and cream. Sold in packs of 100g  simply type in how many lots you want – if you want 400 grams put 4 in the quantity box.

And there are three lots of my handspun paper, perfect for mixed media work, shifu weaving or to incorporate in your next special project.

searching for sock yarn…

Well, to be more precise, searching for non-plastic sock yarn. Which is much more difficult than you might think. Most commercial sock yarn either has nylon added to it or is made from superwash yarn, and now I know what that means I don’t want to use them anymore. Which is a real shame because sock yarns come in great colours and cool self-striping and other patterns.

There has been an unquestioned assertion in the handknitted sock world that socks ‘need’ to have nylon to make them stronger and more resilient, less likely to wear and pill. Similarly, it’s assumed that the yarn must be superwash, so they can be thrown in the washing machine for ‘easy care’. But for the reasons I outlined in my previous post on why I choose to use wool and other natural fibres, I don’t want to knit or wear plastic and I’m happy to handwash. So, what’s wrong with superwash? After all it’s still wool, yes? Well yes, but. And the ‘but’ is what they do to the wool, so it can be put through a washing machine without felting, shrinking, stretching or otherwise being destroyed. The wool is processed by being exposed to chlorine as a gas or bath to remove the scales that give wool the slightly fluffy halo of fibres. Then it’s coated in plastic resin.  Some of the sources I consulted gave this as a two-step process (treated with chlorine then plastic-coated, others stated that superwash processing can be done with the chemical or the added plastic resin. Either way there are a lot of chemicals being used and a lot of toxic waste going into the waterways. While the end product yarn isn’t toxic to use or wear, the superwash process is incredibly bad for the environment and for the people who are doing the processing. In my book that’s worse than synthetic yarn because you have ruined a perfectly good natural yarn. You can read more about superwash yarns here, here and here.

As I’m teaching a Sock Wizard Workshop for The Bird House Panicale next month and we are absolutely committed to eco-friendly textiles, I can’t compromise my principles and give my students yarn I’m not happy to use myself.

In the meantime, I have been scouring the internet looking for the right yarn, using the following criteria:

  • wool and other natural fibres like silk or mohair
  • no plastics (nylon or polyamide)
  • no superwash
  • affordability (there are some gorgeous yarns out there but €30 a skein is a bit much for beginners)
  • minimal air miles (so far I haven’t found Italian sock yarn but I’ll keep looking and asking).

I’ve discovered that mohair or silk make a perfectly acceptable alternative to nylon. Some knitters say that using a strong, long-fibre wool like Blue Faced Leicester is adequate and can be used alone or blend with merino. Merino by itself is soft but doesn’t wear well.

So here’s the short list and I’ll come back and let you know which yarn or yarns I choose!

I would love to know what you think about nylon and superwash in sock yarns, or if you’ve tried the non-plastic alternatives and what you recommend.

free shipping!

 

Counterweave has free shipping on all items in the Etsy shop until the end of April! Now is the time to treat yourself or someone special to a unique piece of Australian art.  Click on the photos to go to Etsy.

Currently in stock we have wearable art by weaver Mary Burgess, hand-dyed silk and wool scarves, book art and small weaving by textile and mixed media artist Felicity Griffin Clark. You can also buy gift certificates for art pieces and Counterweave workshops ranging from €25 up to €150.

No coupon or code required, we did all the work for you and free shipping is already added! Just click on the item you want, pay with your credit card or Paypal and it’s yours!

2018 workshops poll!

We are running a quick poll over on the Counterweave Facebook page to see what people would like to learn in our workshops next year.We will be running regular workshops, including online classes, in 2018. As well as Meditating the Spindle, we are planning classes on:

  • spinning with exotic fibres (including paper!)
  • Stitch Doula, my 5 favourite stitches
  • silk papermaking
  • knitting
  • eco and indigo dyeing
  • a monthly Saturday afternoon BYO projects/help session

Click here to participate or email us at [email protected] and get a 10% discount on 2018 workshop bookings!

We would love to hear from you!

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

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]

 

 

New exhibition: Mary Burgess, Weaving Meaning

Counterweave’s next exhibition opens next Thursday 22 July at 6.30pm at Via Tor De’ Conti, 22, Rome: ‘Mary Burgess, Weaving Meaning’ features works from the Woven Memories Collection. Mary is a hand-weaver who lives in Melbourne, Australia -she works with people who have kept precious clothes, fabric, scarves and buttons, often when a family member has died. Collaborating with individuals and family groups she takes apart and then re-works their loved items through the medium of hand weaving. Mary creates unique keepsake pieces such as baby blankets, bedspreads, throw rugs and scarves. These new pieces nurture and comfort and continue to hold memories of loved family members and special times.

The exhibition also documents the process of making the pieces through Mary’s project notebooks and the threads and ‘yarn’ made from the person’s clothing.

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As well as these precious objects, Mary has created some very special pieces of wearable art for Counterweave – these will be for sale at the gallery and through the website (stay tuned for more details).

Exhibition opening night!

Counterweave Arts Gallery & Workshop had a very successful exhibition opening on Tuesday evening.

The artworks by Trudy Rice, Lisa Sewards, Artist of Ampilatwatja and Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation just glowed on the walls! In spite of the very warm and humid weather we had a steady stream of visitors who  were really captivated by the different responses to landscape by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists, and admired the variety of techniques and media used by the artists.

Counterweave is open by appointment – just contact us at [email protected] or through the Counterweave Facebook page to make a time! Free pdf catalogues and price lists are also available.

new work from Australia

 

Joy Nangala Brown

Yumari Jukurrpa (Yumari Dreaming)

91 x 46 cm

Our first shipments of art from Aboriginal communities in Central Australia have arrived in Italy.  Paintings from the Warlukurlangu Aboriginal Artists Corporation, and paintings and art textiles (handpainted silks scarves and wraps) from Artists of Ampilatwatja will soon be available in the Counterweave Gallery. For information on pricing and to receive a pdf catalogue please contact us at [email protected]

 

Daisy Kemarre Turner

My Mothers Country

30 x 30 cm

Learn more about Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation and Artists of Ampilatwatja on the Counterweave artists page.

 

New Reiki wearable art in the Counterweave Etsy shop!

  Handwoven, Reiki-infused talismans by Felicity Griffin Clark have been added to the Counterweave Etsy shop.

I carefully handweave each talisman, and include decorative and significant elements as I go. The process of making these talismans is meditative and I am guided by the energy of the talisman to make knots in the cords, add crystals and feathers. Once completed, I infuse the talisman with positive, healing Reiki energy.

The talisman is securely attached to a hemp cord and can be worn as a unique piece of wearable art, or hung on the wall.  Custom orders are very welcome – contact Felicity here at [email protected]

As well as being a well-established textile and mixed media artist, Felicity is an experienced Reiki practitioner, attuned to Master level in the Usui tradition. Felicity is available for in-person sessions at the Counterweave in Rome, or Distance Reiki sessions with feedback via Skype or email. Book now through the Counterweave Anima website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counterweave wearable art

Free shipping for Mother’s Day in the Counterweave Etsy shop!

eco-dyed, indigo dipped silk scarf

Sunday 14 May is Mother’s Day and we have your perfect Mother’s Day present in the Counterweave Etsy shop.

embroidered knot brooches

Free shipping on all our handmade wearable art, and unique artworks until Friday 12 May, using the MOTHERSDAY17 code at the checkout.

eco-dyed, indigo dipped silk scarf

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Mary Burgess – Woven Memories exhibition

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