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A record of my experimentation, process and discovery in textile design and production.

Weaving a rug, and maybe weaving some more

Nyssa McCullough

So I made a thing. It's been a while since my last post, it seems like a lot has happened and also not very much! My textiles work had taken a bit of a backseat in the past 18 months whilst my husband and I worked hard to get a home of our very own. We moved in last year and I now have 2 dedicated loom rooms and space for all of my yarn! I am starting to get back into the rhythm of weaving and loving having the space and freedom to work.

Before I’d even moved into my new home I knew I wanted to weave a rug for the space. I decided on a hall runner as there is a long hall in the house and the width I wanted it would fit perfectly on my floor loom. I’ll admit it took me longer than I planned to get started with it, all of the moving and settling in took a while. I also have to admit there was also a bit of anxiety associated with starting such a big project, that I already had so much invested in emotionally. I really didn’t want to stuff this up!

I’ve never woven a rug before, I usually lean more towards super fine, lightweight yarns. I actually started my testing with finer rug yarns, but as you will see I quickly embraced the chunky fibres! It was also a bit fun to warp up with a nice wide sett and not have to thread 1000’s of fine warp yarns through the heddles!

I didn’t really have a plan to be perfectly honest, i just picked natural yarns that I liked and had a play on my test warp. Initially I thought I’d keep it simple, plain weave with some colour blocking, but it wasn’t long before I was messing about with point twill patterns, my favorite style of weave.

I know its good to venture outside your comfort zone at times, and I did with these samples! That said, my final design was very much in keeping with my signature style, which makes sense as I was designing a weave for my own home.

So my final specs were:

8/3 Linen rug warp (natural, undyed)

6 epi

37 inches wide (92.5 cm)

222 ends

6.5 m warp (allow for 5 m weaving length)

My weft yarns were from String Harvest, some beautiful vintage rug wool alternating with the textural black fair trade jute. I wove the pattern with the jute and a plain weave background with the vintage wool to provide structural integrity and soften the heaviness and darkness of the jute.

I’m not going to lie, I am really happy with the result, but I also greatly enjoyed the process. SO much so that I am keen to dive right back into some rug weaving. I am looking around my house for any spaces that could use a rug! I am also considering making a small collection of rugs available for purchase if there is any interest. Let me know what you think!

Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award, weaving and spinning

Nyssa McCullough

I am very excited and proud to announce that one of my woven works, Modern Nostalgia, has been selected as a finalist in the Wangaratta Contemporary Textiles Award 2015.  WCTA is a biennial award and is well known in the textile art industry. Entering this competition was one of the goals I set myself when I first heard about it last year. As an emerging artist I still find I'm quite shy about showing my work and putting it out in the public sphere to be seen and judged. To be selected as a finalist and exhibitor is a great feeling, so I want to share the news with you all too!

My work will be included in an exhibition at the Wangaratta Art Gallery, opening June 13 until July 26, 2015.

Hand woven linen/cotton gima/copper, Modern Nostalgia, part of my 'The dark world where I dwell' textile collection.

Hand woven linen/cotton gima/copper, Modern Nostalgia, part of my 'The dark world where I dwell' textile collection.


In other news, my weaving studio is still a work in progress. I am continuing weaving my new piece, work and life keep getting in the way of my weaving! I am planning on setting up an experimental warp to try out some new ideas on this week. I have recently been stocking up on yarns (Habu, Avril, Dairing, String Harvest are my favourites), so I have a wider range of colours and tones to work with. That said, I'm still leaning to a neutral colour palette, there are just so many beautiful greys out there!

I have also taken up spinning yarn in my spare (?!) time thanks to Caylie and Jacinta from Dye and Ply. They make beautifully soft hand spun, naturally dyed yarns and hand knitted products using locally sourced fibres and dyestuffs. Check out their instagram and facebook pages for a look at their work. Caylie was kind enough to teach me how to use my spinning wheel, being very patient as I felt so uncoordinated!

I plan to spend the next couple of weeks focusing on getting some weaving done and exploring new ideas. Hoping to have some progress to share soon!


New studio set up

Nyssa McCullough

Hello again. It has been a slow start to 2015, moving house and getting my studio set up but I am happy to say progress is finally  being made. I have a small home studio set up with two looms and have warped up and started weaving on my table loom as soon as I was able. I'm still waiting on a new reed for my floor loom but am looking forward to getting a warp on that one as well.

I am working on a few pieces that are a continuation of 'The Dark World Where I Dwell', further exploring some ideas and concepts that I didn't have time to fully flesh out last year. I still cant get copper out of my head but I am looking for different ways to use it and add depth to my work.

Images to follow soon...