I’m collaborating on a Sonic Pattern residency as part of the Inhabiting the Hack series, where four artists are invited to spend three days thinking about patterns in sound, textile, and technology. We started with a briliant half-day workshop on tablet weaving, lead by Sarah Williams. It was good to start a tech-focussed residency with some ancient tech, blowing our minds with the complexity which fell out from simple interactions between threads.
We first learned how to do the weaving, and then how to set up the warp, getting stuck in to the weaving first, and then get a feeling for how the threads themselves play their role in the cloth which emerges. Learning how to tablet weave backwards in this way worked well, and at some point Sarah noted how weavers generally seem to do things backwards. Instruction was around sitting position, tension, and how to establish a simple baseline to understanding what was going on, to avoid being scared off by the complexity. Learning Sarah’s techniques for how to warp up the tablets felt a little like taming a wild beast.
It turned out that Sarah is the Hon. Secretary of the association of Guilds of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, which made it especially good to see how much she enjoyed the surprises which tablet weaving threw up even in our short workshop.