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Crossing the warp – Thread by thread Exhibition

Start Date 13 January 2024
End Date 17 March 2024
Venue Whitchurch Silk Mill
Location Hampshire,UK
Curator Seven Sisters Handweavers

Crossing the warp – Thread by thread exhibition by the Seven Sisters Handweavers.

A certain rhythm frames any visit to the Whitchurch Silk Mill site. The water wheel moves in time with the flow of the river, much like the treadles of a weaving loom and the shuttle that moves back and forth across the warp threads as cloth is woven. This exhibition, by six handweavers who studied at the Handweavers Studio and Gallery, celebrates hand weaving as a complement to the power looms at Whitchurch. We weave useful and decorative items including furnishings, window shades, clothing and art weaving. Our work involves different yarns including silk and cotton recycled from surplus industrial waste, along with linen and wool.

Using industry waste silk yarn in colours drawn from the mill site, some works weave a pattern called plaited twill to embody the rhythm, technique and artistry of handwoven silk cloth. Other weavings explore travelling home and landscape, showing the shifting colours and shades of boundaries and crossings. These are woven in double weave, a process of weaving two different fabrics simultaneously but connecting them in a variety of ways to alternate pattern and colour, along with texture and chenille. Elsewhere, patterns typical for 18th century cotton hand weaving, and using surplus yarn from the Lancashire cotton industry, are superimposed with modern designs in bright colours. Linen and cotton are woven to explore the possibilities of translucency and its effects on light. A collection of textiles, woven in double weave from merino and lambs wool, has been designed for contemporary interiors, including soft furnishing fabrics and decorative accessories which draw inspiration from geometric and architectural forms. Together this exhibition embraces the diversity and richness of hand weaving, and its continuing relevance to contemporary culture.