Summer is seminar season and this year was a return to CW Seminars, the first time in person for me for 8 years! It seems unbelievable to think the year of Nature in the Making in Tacoma (2014) was the last time I had been with the fabulous weaving family that is Complex Weavers… but so it was! Moving to France in 2016 and then a sudden hike in air fares that made it impossible for me to go in 2018 was followed by the cancellation of everything in the pandemic in 2020. In the end I think there were only a handful of us from abroad this year – a much lower number than previously – but not a big surprise.

It was so good to meet in person with so many old friends and to make some new ones too! The times when you go to a restaurant or sit with a glass of wine and just catch up or dive into interesting weaving conversations are irreplaceable. It was a delight to be sitting in a class learning from interesting speakers alongside people in real life, rather than on Zoom although I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to benefit from others’ wisdom throughout the pandemic. I’m sure Zoom is now an established mode of learning and sharing and it certainly cuts down on air miles and pollution!! It has its inherent problems too – a dodgy connection and suddenly a seminar is offline – but it also worked to bring us some favourite presenters and teachers who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to contribute. I suspect this might well be the pattern of Seminars to come. It’s quite funny to think that in 2018, this was so unusual. I think I was the first person to present remotely, with Wendy Morris there in person with my samples, and a pre-recorded Powerpoint our back-up plan as my internet was so dodgy back then. The wonders of fibre optic means I could now do a Zoom presentation in future…

Seminars itself was smaller than usual, but no less interesting and vibrant than ever. There was even a ‘Lilian Whipple’ moment in the Silent Auction between Teresa Edmiston and me over an old English weaver’s knotting machine. I confess to ‘Lilian-style’ tactics which those of you who know of that famous incident will recall Lilian almost lay on top of an item that she wanted to get. Teresa pushed up the price quite considerably which was only fair!!!! But she was so gracious afterwards and I want to say a huge thank you to her for her good humour and to hope that she won’t hold it against me in the future!!! I promise to use the knotter on my baby jacquards and hopefully on the TC-1 when I finally get it threaded up (all 1320 ends!) and the first warp finished, Teresa!!

It was lovely to find out from Ruth McGregor that one of my Covid Chaos series (see feature photo) has made it to the cover of the next CW Journal !! Thank you, Ruth!!

Complexity was full of beautiful pieces. The standard was as high as ever, and it was lovely to see quite a few international exhibits, and even more to see them in person and to be standing around discussing them with other people who were talking the same language. The spread that the Marriot hotel put on at the gallery was just superb. In fact, the meals in general and the service were really good throughout the whole Seminars which contributes more than we realise to the whole event.

The CW anniversary book Eight Shafts: Beyond the Beginning, is now out so go to the CW website if you want to find out more…. It’s chock full of lovely pieces from 72 weavers from around the globe, all CW members, and there’s bound to be something to inspire your weaving soul within its pages!

If I could just teleport to Seminars, I’d be there every time! But unfortunately, international travel has suffered from pandemic trauma too, and I can’t say the travel was enjoyable either way, with an overnight sleep on the floor of Philadelphia’s Terminal F on the way out and a 50-hour journey due to a technical fault and a cancelled flight on the way back, but I met some really interesting people on both occasions so there’s nearly always a silver lining, and I remind myself that I was travelling for pleasure when so many people are fleeing from oppression and war.

So now it’s back to the looms and writing, with fresh inspiration and ideas of future projects. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest in Woven Optical Illusions and were so encouraging about the material that I shared. I promise that I will update you with the progress of the book. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find out more about the project here….

I hope you have a lovely summer/winter (southern hemisphere) planned with lots of weaving activity as well as fun family/friends time! Happy Weaving!!