our craftmakers . weaving . basketry . craft nsw
My main interest is in experimenting with colour and structure, so I like to keep changing the weave structures I use in my scarves, wraps and clothing. I also weave rugs, wall hangings and some table linen. Hand-dyeing many of the fibres, weaving and embroidery yarns, allows me to create subtle variation in colouring.
I always have more ideas and designs than I can possibly complete but I would like to do more clothing by combining plain and patterned handwoven cloth. I am also interested in variations of double weave. This is where two layers of cloth are woven one above the other, allowing the interchange of a whole layer or part of a layer.
Spinning and Weaving
In 1970, after the birth of my third child, I felt I needed some external stimulation and so completed a one year handweaving course at East Sydney Technical College. I have been weaving ever since. Weaving can be a simple or as complex as the weaver wishes and I find it fulfils my creative urges and also offers intellectual stimulation
My main interest is weaving fabric for clothing. I also enjoy weaving floor rugs. I like to experiment with complex weaves and colour and texture. My aim is to concentrate more on spinning silk and wool fibres and to continue experimenting with dyeing yarns. In this way I hope to create unique fabrics to make into garments.
Weaving and Felted Hats
I love working with luxury fibres such as mohair, alpaca, silk and wool. I weave wraps, scarves and jackets using simple weaves to produce an interesting fabric with colour and texture.
I am making felted hats, first spinning the merino fleece and knitting the hat, incorporating alpaca, mohair or angora, then dyeing and felting the hat. These have proved very popular and have gone all over the world from Iceland to New Zealand
I cannot remember when I was not interested in fabric and design. Sewing for myself and family as well as an involvement in theatre costume provided stimulation. The challenge came when I joined the local Spinners and Weaving Guild. There I was surrounded by the most beautiful fine Australian Merino wool. I was hooked! I bought my first spinning wheel and then a weaving loom. Weaving has become a delight for me, working with wool and blending myriads of different fibres and colours to make scarves, wraps, bags and clothing.
Weaving and Spinning
While living in Sweden for five years I was strongly influenced by the design, colour and texture of textiles. My introduction was through attending batik classes in Stockholm. I became aware then of the wonderful world of colour and design.
Weaving has become my way to combine pleasure and the gathering of knowledge and express it in a complete work. The use of colour, texture and design possibilities is of great interest, using silk linen and wool.
I am a Sydney based basket maker whose work draws on and reflects my training and interests. My baskets are made from collected plant materials of predominantly Australian native species, using the coiled stitched technique of construction with linen thread.
Botanical knowledge developed from a life-long interest in Australian plants as well as having trained and worked as a bush regenerator informs my work. I aim to highlight the intrinsic beauty of the botanical elements by simple design.
Most of my baskets are made using natural plant colours and designed to reflect the patterns and textures of the Australian landscape. Some shapes have been inspired by basketry or pottery of traditional societies. I have had close contact with traditional objects from my 19 years work as a Museum Anthropologist and extensive travels through Australia and the Asia/Pacific region.
My introduction to contemporary basket-making at workshops at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, following years of experience with a range of stitched craft works, brought together my interests and skills. Since then I have participated in workshops given by indigenous basket and bag makers from Australia and the Pacific Islands to enhance my knowledge and skills.
On leaving the workforce and stimulated by a long-standing but general interest in handcrafts, I sought an activity which would be an on-going learning process combined with social contact. The local Technical College offered several possible courses and without any particular motivation, I chose weaving, not realising that it would quickly become an all-absorbing and dominant activity in my life.
My main focus is directed towards weaving fabric suitable for clothing and accessories such as wraps and scarves. At times this involves dyeing yarns to produce interesting colour and weave effects.
In 1988 I 'discovered' weaving and my life took on a whole new dimension and direction. Gradually over the next few years I realised I had found what I had been looking for, for some time, and subsequently weaving has become a major part of my life. The designing of new projects satisfied my creative side and the execution of the weaving satisfied my more practical nature. To use a lovely timber loom to create beautiful fabrics is a most satisfying and rewarding experience.
My main interest at the moment is to explore linen weaving. At the same time I am working with Australian mohair and fine wools
The idea of producing an artwork from grasses and plants is of great interest to me. Being shown how to spin and weave by Virginia Kaiser in a workshop at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, set me on the path of experimenting with fibres. I am constantly on the hunt for materials that will spin and twine.
I help 'tidy' gardens, ask permission from councils to harvest from gullies and parks, and cultivate as much as possible in my tiny garden and in the common areas of my units. I check out the landscape maintenance trucks with some success, and am often seen hauling huge palm seed bunches and bundles of 'stuff' into my unit, much to the amusement of my neighbours.
I have always had a great interest in handcrafts. I was able to indulge this interest when I retired from teaching in 1988. I attended Strathfield College of TAFE and completed the three year Advanced Spinning course. A fellow student then introduced me to the joys of weaving and I have been hooked ever since. Weaving is now the all-absorbing interest in my life.
At the moment I am mainly weaving silk scarves and woollen wraps and vests but would like to experiment more with dyeing and with different weaves and different styles of clothing - however, it all takes time. I have won many prizes for weaving at the Castle Hill and Royal Easter Shows.
I am very interested in experimenting with common garden and native plant materials as well as seaweeds, driftwood and materials washed up on local beaches. I always find it a challenge to find a new material to incorporate into my baskets.
Most of my shapes are based on the melon basket style incorporating native vines and driftwood as handles. This basic technique can produce a variety of basket shapes. I am still experimenting. I am now developing my skills in coiling and twining. I also create fish, ranging from practical 'onion' fish to large decorative types.
I have worked with the Bomaderry TAFE Aboriginal Unit in the revival of traditional basket making on the South Coast of NSW. To acquire the necessary skills and knowledge I have worked with indigenous weavers from South Australia and Northern Territory as well as doing research at State Museums.
I weave because I enjoy creating beautiful fabrics. Colour and the way it effects weave structures fascinates me. I continue to work with the 'what if' theory to try to create fresh and appealing examples of the ancient art of weaving.
The simple designs and colours of the Scandinavian weaver have great influence on my work
Jim Walliss sea urchin basket