There are just two weeks to go before an amazing trip of a lifetime – two months touring, teaching and exhibiting around the wonderful place that is New Zealand!

I thought I would post a few images of the frenzy (organised, of course!) of packing, last minute weaving, revisions of lectures and workshops, and collating of stuff.  So much stuff!!  Samples of seersucker, overshot, shibori, stitched double cloth, honeycomb, and large pieces – my growth forms in different sizes and structures from 4 feet right through to 12 feet tall!  Complete with dreadlocks!               

I love the jellyfish version!  In fact, I was wondering a while ago how best to weave jellyfish after a passing comment from a marine biologist student who saw jellyfish in one of the growth forms I had hung up to photograph!  That got me thinking and about a week or two later I had worked out how I could actually weave a jellyfish.  So, imagine my surprise when one popped up when I thought I was packing a case!!

The third image is actually of three panels of a Strata wall I’ve just taken off the loom prior to going to the Launderette for wet-finishing.  It’s one of those ‘gulp’ moments.  I have no idea how the stresses and frictions of the full wash process is going to impact on the 180″ panels, and then I put them in the commercial tumble-dryers to give them another going over!

This trip is doubly exciting because it is the first major exhibition I’ve ever done.  Agnes Hauptli, friend, fellow weaver, roadtrip companion, and general all-around good egg, is showing with me.  Agnes is a fabulous colourist and I’m really looking forward to seeing her stunning multi-panel jacquard hangings of the Antelope Canyon (Arizona)and the interior of the Luray Caverns (Virginia).  She has also woven some gorgeous silk shawls picking up on the contouring of the interior of the Antelope Canyon in the amazing colours that are there in the petrified sand dunes.  She has also contributed some stalactites to the growth form installation.  So far, I have 14 different forms to hang, and hope to have a couple more (time permitting).

The exhibition, entitled ‘nature in the making’, is going to be shown at the Earth House in Peria, and then at the Arts In Oxford Gallery.  Here’s the flyer for the show:      After it has visited its two venues in New Zealand, it is going across to the US Northwest Pacific Coast, to Tacoma and the B2 Fine Art Gallery where it will be up from 19th June to 25th July.  We’re very excited about this as the Complex Weavers Seminars are being held in Tacoma this summer, and it coincides with the exhibition.

The idea for the exhibition developed during one of our biennial roadtrips around certain areas of the US.  Agnes and I both attend Complex Weavers Seminars every two years and, as Agnes is from New Zealand, and I am from the UK, we plan a roadtrip around the same time so that we can catch up, and also indulge in our love of geology and natural history.  And let’s face it – there’s plenty to see in the US!!  So in 2010, we travelled to Arizona and Utah to visit the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Bryce Canyon as well as seeing the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest and Monument Valley.  Sounds like a wonderful child’s book, doesn’t it??  

Two years later, we ended up under the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountain Ranges in the wonderful limestone caves of Virginia.  As we sat pondering what we had seen over a meal or two, lots of ideas for how to begin to capture some of the essence of what we had experienced came bubbling up, and then we thought it would be a good idea to put on a joint exhibition.  After all, that way things might actually be woven, mightn’t they?!  Well, the idea bore fruit, and we started working on a few ideas.  Agnes invited me to be the keynote speaker to the Professional Weavers Network conference in New Zealand, and suggested I might like to do a few workshops and lectures to make it a worthwhile trip, and suddenly we had a tour on our hands!!  

A few years before hand, I had been challenged, by weavers Richard and Christine Jeryan, to put on an exhibit of my work in the US within 7 years.  I had accepted, not really expecting that the opportunity would arise.  But then, things started to fall into place.  2014 would be the seventh year, so why not give it a go with this exhibition?  Thanks to Mimi Anderson, the convener of the 2014 Complex Weavers Seminars, contacts were made and conversations were had.  Before we knew where we were, it was a goer!!

So – an amazing opportunity to travel, spend time with other weavers, see the geology of New Zealand and the US, and have a ball!!

I’ll post images and update my blog, and my facebook pages during the trip.  But in the meantime, a lot of the backstory in photos and comments are to be found on our dedicated facebook page for the exhibition,  So if you are a facebook user, then please pop in and like the page and follow the story.  If not, I promise not to leave you out in the cold!!  :^))  In the meantime, we’d like to take the work to other venues, so if you have any ideas, or would like to have our exhibit at your gallery/museum, do please get in touch….  We’re hoping to take it to many different sorts of venue – geological, natural history, sealife, arboretums (?) – over a period of a few years, so we look forward to hearing from you with your suggestions.

Till next time, Happy Weaving!