A Continuing Thread – Exhibition 2014

by | Apr 28, 2015 | Event write-ups

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Following our successful 50th anniversary exhibition in 2011, Hallamshire Guild members were keen to work towards another major exhibition in 2014. ‘A Continuing Thread’ was to show a snapshot of the Guild now; a vibrant, active and steadily growing group of people of all ages and abilities. The venue for this show was the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, a city centre location and a wonderful bright,
modern space.
Our exhibition was to show the work of the Guild in its entirety. This included work from across the range of expertise from beginner to the more experienced and accomplished. It also included demonstrations of many types of weaving and spinning and some dying. The exhibition space was divided up into four main areas, each focussing on one of the skills and taking the visitor on a journey from fibre to finished article.
The entrance space exhibited material from the Guilds’ archive. The beginnings of the
Guild and its early activities showed the strength of its membership from the very
start, with a shift from mainly weaving in its early years (with only one spinner in its
75 members at the outset), to a more diverse membership in more recent years. Also,
at the beginning of the exhibition, the Guild Challenge, an annual competition, was on show for public judging. The scarves on show were a prime example of how a simple subject results in limitless interpretations.
The ‘Dye Garden’ area displayed the potential of natural dyes; summarised in a skein colour wheel. The process of solar dying was shown with glass jars filled with dyebaths of onion skins, madder, woad etc., glowing in the autumn light of the gallery.
The ‘Spinners Spinney’ consisted of trees of golden twisted willow, fruitful with skeins of handspun yarn. Here, the visitor could see wheel spinning, spindle, stick and rakestraw spinning. Many of the exhibits that spinners had made put spun wool to use in knitted items, from throws and blankets in chow and alpaca to the finest laceweight knitting on piano wire needles in silk and bamboo.
‘Weaveworld’ was located at the end of the exhibition and this area consisted of looms of all shapes and sizes; tablet weaving, backstrap and inkle loom weaving as well as a floor loom. The visitor could try out many of these pieces of equipment and this part of the exhibition was very popular.
Although weavers are now in the minority in the Guild, the work on display demonstrated quality as well as variety and ambition. The samples for a Guild workshop on double weave attracted a good deal of attention because of their puzzle- like complexity.
The galleries had also allowed us to use the public space outside our exhibition and here members set up an activities table for children. This was fully occupied on both days with peg loom weaving, braiding and making Gods’ Eye stars. Hopefully, this introduction to the pleasure and fun of our fibre arts will mean that our Guild will continue to grow for the next fifty years.