Studio Stories: Building Blocks

About Studio Stories

Studio Stories is an occasional series of posts which looks at the inspiration and processes behind some of the projects I have completed over the years. As well as the article published here, there is exclusive content, including downloadable wif files, shared with my newsletter subscribers.

Blocks are not Bricks

I don’t know about you, but to me the word ‘blocks’ does not sound terribly promising. It suggests something hard and unyielding, either in primary-coloured plastic, like a lego brick, or rough grey cement and cinders, like a breeze block. These are not the associations I want to bring to my weaving!

Fortunately, at the loom the block is anything but rigid. It is a really flexible design tool with applications to every kind of weaving, from rugs to scarves to works of art. Over the next few weeks I am going to share a series of posts around the theme of building with blocks.

It’s a big topic, so I am going to approach it through an example. I am going to reflect on a design which I called Highland Summer, and unpick some of the key steps which took this design from an idea to a draft to a collection of lace scarves.

The shape of a Highland Summer

This is not a detective story, so there is no need for suspense. Here are the profile drafts* I came up with for three different designs on the same threading.

What’s going on here? Well, I will be sharing more background information – as well as the original 16-shaft drafts – exclusively with subscribers in my newsletter next week, so do sign up before the end of Tuesday 16 June if you’d like to receive those.

Don’t worry if you’re not weaving on 16 shafts. I’ll be back here on the blog every week for the next four weeks talking through the process and how it can work for any number of shafts.

For the first post in the series, I will look at the thorny question of ‘where the ideas come from’ – you don’t need any shafts at all for that one! In the second and third posts, I will get into the practical business of planning a block design and turning it into a draft. And in the final post I will get practical in another way, by offering some specific tips for weaving lace – my favourite summer structure.

*What is a profile draft? I’ll be getting to that in part two of the series!

First posted on © Cally Booker