Inklings of renaissance

Happy New Year! Well, I had the sweetest Christmas, how was yours? Always exhausted at the year’s end, I crashed before getting to the end of the working year, but was able to do a little more, if not round off the batch of seascapes I was in, and stave off a proper bout of lurgy.

In a lovely Devon pub I met a beautiful, high-powered friend who works for a big NGO and we talked about how localism had left her discourse but how that was probably because it was by now a given in her development projects, so that ‘developing’ countries don’t just ‘develop’ in the same fatally flawed way that ours have done. Instead, like a good un, she’s getting anti-neoliberalism and post-neoliberalism on the table at talks with bigwigs from multiple southern hemisphere nations. We egged each other on and made a toast.

And in a lovely Devon café I met a gorgeous, bright woodman who’s looking for a smallholding partner. We had a dimpsey walk by the river, visited a printing press, sung into a mini-amphitheatre, enjoyed coffee and cake and a harp recital and browsing the right-on books for sale. We are also egging each other on and making toasts (and porridge).

However, I did then leave Devon regretfully to come to Brittany (optimistically), where a borrowed cottage affords me the comfort of a woodburner, beautiful extensive forest and a bigger workshop space. This last gives me room to try out my new treadle that I bartered in the Green Cloth Collective, where – compliment of compliments – another weaver and Ashford dealer traded it for a bluebellwood shawl of mine. I’m hoping that higher weaving speeds will increase productivity and thus sales, because sales tend to happen when new listings flurry my shop. This year, despite an excellent November/December thanks to BBC Radio 4, sales/orders have dropped off more over the Christmas/New Year period than they have done in the past. That’s nailbiting since the ferry and cottage cost a little more than staying in my van – which still costs, nonetheless.

I finished the batch of seascapes and found a Breton beach to rival the most stunning Cornish, Hebridean and Connemara ones. The bitter squalls rivalled the most stinging Cornish, Hebridean and Connemara ones too, and the breakers were bigger than the islets in the bay.

But in between  horizontalpours I crabbed around patches of virgin sand, leaning in as far as I could to place a weaving on the clean canvas, occasionally falling on an elbow and spoiling it, then following my tracks back around to move to another virgin patch, one eye on the rising tide, fingers freezing, admiring the view, missing the shot of sunlight, getting back to work, positioning everything perfectly, waiting for another shot of sunlight, running out of camera battery, replacing the camera battery, returning to catch the blowing-away garment, anchoring it with rocks and weed, awaiting another shot of sunlight, readjusting my metre, greeting the sunshot, cursing Murph who was clingy and cold and casting a shadow, getting him out of the way, awaiting another shot of sunlight, and throwing my arms up in the air at another dog hurtling towards us and skidding into my vignette, and crabbing around to another patch of virgin sand… And so on.

Petrol blue alpaca infinity scarf in landscapePetrol blue alpaca infinity scarf ring 2dark royal blue sea cowl round knotsBlue snug knots

Two blue snugs

Vertical seascape cowlDark royal blue snug round close

Largest all-Shetland sea cowl round on beachSea lettuce scarf knot

Grey green sea cowl ruffledGrey green sea waves weed detailSea remnant detail blurGrey Shetland sea scarf flotsamFoggy Atlantic purple grey green cowl blown open


I think 2018 is going to bring renaissance. Be at the heart of it. Join the Green Cloth Collective, for a start. It’s wicked.

7 thoughts on “Inklings of renaissance

  1. Elouïse, your weaving is very beautiful and your photography is stunning! I am glad for you that you are in a larger space for a while especially as you have treadles!! You won’t know yourself 😉 I look fwd to seeing your creations from there. Best Wishes jjx


    • Thank you very much Jenny! (I think that’s you!?) I finished off the last batch (pictured here) with my loom on the table because full width was too uncomfortable when seated and using a stick shuttle. But now I’ve just got going on a batch of scarves, and even seated and with the stick shuttle I think I’m going faster at last… Eloïse


      • Yes that is me, Jenny aka Textile Artisan. Elouïse, there are some boat shuttles at good prices on UK Ebay, current bids 2 pound 50. I don’t seem to have Pound sign. see them here
        If you Google this address it definitely goes to the page. Hope you haven’t rec. my 3 previous attempts to send this. Something always happens. Then you’ll need something to wind bobbins on (I cut up drinking straws for bobbins) If you can clamp a hand drill to something this does work with a drill of correct straw size! I use an electric spinner ( ‘spinning wheel’) that I bought cheaply. Basically it is a shaft run by a sewing machine engine.I did have someone make a tapered shaft so that I can use it for winding bobbins for sectional warping. Lots of other uses too. Excuse me shooting this stuff at you unasked but I feel your excitement ;-)) Cheers now jj

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jenny, belated thanks for this, and please feel free to shoot such helpful tips at me unasked, I really appreciate it! I’ve got a major quandrary in that I didn’t realise, but now am under the impression, that boat shuttles and bobbins will only carry quite fine yarn? So that would enable me to turn out finer products at my current pace, but would not help me make my current products more quickly (since I already save time by using dk, aran and even chunkier wefts). So I’m still umming and aahing about all of this… Your thoughts welcome 🙂 Thanks again, Eloïse


          • I wish that I lived somewhere on your trail Elouïse then I could lend you a boat for a try and have a good chat every so often ;-)) Certainly thicker yarns not very suitable but with a fine bobbin core and deep boat with a base it would be worth a try because it would be much quicker than the stick. I’m off on Sun to NZ for a week’s R&R with a dear weaving friend who lives in Nelson. Cheers for now jj


            • Aw, thank you Jenny, that’s a lovely sentiment! Have a wonderful R&R in Nelson – I visited there once and consider the culture and landscape to be among the best NZ has to offer (which is pretty lovely)! Thanks and bon vacance.xx


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