Friday, 19 March 2010

Mastercrafts weaving with Monty Don

Well I caught up with the weaving episode last night, very interesting and different again. It was good to see Monty getting to grips with a subject he knew nothing about, I learnt a lot too.If you missed it you can catch up on iplayer here

I would have liked to see more different aspects of the craft, to visit some yarn producers or some folk that did natural dying or spinning. To see the industrial processes Margo designs for would have been interesting too, I really enjoyed seeing the blown plate glass made in the glass episode, large scale production can be interesting as well as small scale handmade. I would have loved to see a Harris tweed weaver.

Having said all that I loved the show, I got completely drawn in to the emotional side of it as no doubt many less craft obsessed viewers would do. The finished fabrics were glorious and astonishing to have been made in such a short time. Were the final pieces judged as art or craft or design? It has been interesting to see the variety of judges and the way they have set their own differing criteria, some attempting some sort of objectivity, whilst others respond completely intuitively and subjectively to the pieces that speak to them. Some have rated function and technique most highly (will this roof let water in?, are these joints tight?) whilst our Arts council and Weavers guild ladies clearly wanted to see something innovative that they had not seen before. I guess this tells us something about the various crafts and what is viewed as important in those fields at the current time.

Looking forward to stone, Andy has taught both of my kids stone carving and he is fun, patient and I suspect it will be a great episode to finish on.

For folk who are interested to learn more or try their hand at weaving the Association of Guilds of weavers spinners and dyers is a great place to start with many active local groups around the country.

Feel free to add links to other useful or interesting weaving sites in the comments below. I'll add a plug for my friend Anna Champeney who runs weaving and natural dying couses from her idyllic home in Northern Spain, she has an interesting blog too.


  1. I am also particularly looking forward to tonight's instalment, specifically to see the similarities/differences in stone and wood carving. And its always good to learn something new....
    I very much hope that there will be another series and that the powers that be can now feel more confident about increasing the craft and technique aspect of the series.

  2. I agree with your comments wholeheartedly, I loved what was shown, but was frustrated at what wasn't. An hour really isn't long enough to cover such a fascinating and diverse craft, and fully explore all the contributing factors which make it so addictive.

    Spinning and dyeing would have been wonderful - but perhaps not quite so photogenic as warp ending up in knots. Also that would take matters off on another tangent..

  3. More links for you:
    Brilliant page of other links:
    Riitta Sinkkonnen-Davies in Pembrokeshire