Course Provider: Snail Trail Handweavers
Contact Name: Martin Weatherhead
Telephone: 01239 841 228
Course Length: 1 day
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You can weave, spin, dye, or any combination of all three crafts.
With an average of three or four students, and never more than six at a time, classes are small and personal, enabling Martin to take complete beginners and experienced students together. This individual approach means that you can achieve a great deal.
Courses can last several days depending on what you would like to achieve! Residential courses can be arranged as we have full board accommodation for between £65 and £75 per night. For these, you would arrive Sunday evening in time for supper and depart after breakfast the morning following the final day.
Martin is a full-time designer-craftsman whose work is widely exhibited. He gives talks, workshops and demonstrations throughout the UK, has worked as "Artist in Residence" in schools and the National Eisteddfod of Wales. Over the winter he runs local Community Education classes for adults and children. He has been running residential courses at his studio since 1980.
Craft skills covered in the courses:
Weaving - the studio contains table looms, tapestry frames, inkle and backstrap looms and tablet weaving sets:
Using Martin's quick warping method everyone is weaving on the first day. The full warping method is used for subsequent projects. Beginners are guided through at least two warps during the week and gain the confidence to set up and carry on weaving at home. Some students may opt to learn a variety of techniques and weave many samples to explore and develop at home. Most, however, prefer to be guided through a project from the design stage to the finished piece and enjoy the satisfaction of taking home a practical item. Projects include: rugs (Martin's own specialisation), wallhangings, cushions, bags, tapestry, scarves, fabric for garments or furnishing, tablet and inkle woven bands for accessories or decorative finishes. Ikat is also an area that Martin has a particular interest .
This is only offered at a basic level as part of a combined course with dyeing and/or weaving.. Topics covered are fleece sorting, carding, short draw spinning, colour blending, plying.
Dyeing - The dye area has gas rings, spin-dryer and precision scales. Stainless steel containers are used for dyeing small quantities and a boiler for dyeing in bulk:
The course covers fleece and yarn scouring, hank making, mordanting, dye-extraction, dyeing, record keeping and sampling. There is a good selection of dyestuffs in the studio and students can also collect their own fresh materials from the surrounding fields and hedgerows. By combining historical dyes such as cochineal, weld and indigo an exciting spectrum can be created.
Acid and pre-metalised dyes are used for wool & silk and fibre-reactive dyes for cotton & linen. The course covers safe practice, accurate measurement, making up and using stock solutions, colour theory, creating colour mixes, tints and shades and good record-keeping. By the end of the week students will have developed a strong awareness of colour and will have assembled a set of reference samples that can be used to repeat any colour or to act as a starting point to create new colours. Control of colour widens the scope for creativity in textile design.
What's included in the price?
Tuition is from 9.30 am - 5 pm daily (flexible) and the studio is available 24 hours a day for students to continue on their own. Materials are charged at cost and usually come to less than £5, unless you are weaving a rug which can be up to £25.