About Avon Guild of Spinners, Weavers & Dyers
The aim of the Guild is to promote and encourage the art of spinning, weaving and dyeing. It aims to cater for everyone, from beginner to experienced teacher to interested outsider, with a varied programme of lectures, demonstrations and workshops. Public exhibitions are held periodically for members to exhibit their work and to demonstrate their skills. The Avon Guild meets every second Saturday of the month at Long Ashton Bowling Hall, Keedwell Hill, Long Ashton, BS41 9DP (with occasional changes of location to the main hall). www.avonguild.org.uk
Meet……. Lorna Lindfield, member of the Avon Guild.
What have you made recently? A rather bonkers loom. It’s a very haphazard object, made by recycling household bits and pieces using instructions from the internet, but it functions. Having built it myself means I know the name and function of each part. I’m producing my first ever piece of weaving; a tapestry on the theme of grids/networks. When I look at it I see kowledge and experience accumulating with every inch of weft I add. Whether it’s adjusting warp tension, choice of warp, the best way to make a string heddle, or how and when to tamp the work down, the narrative of learning is literally woven into the piece.
Are you looking forward to the Bristol Mini Maker Faire? It’s going to be very interesting to see which elements of our skills and activities the public find most interesting. Will it be the ancient technology of drop spindling? The creation of usable yarn from scratch? The colour variations you can achieve when you dye your own fibre?
Would you hope that what you are showing will inspire other people to get into making? I hope that people will be inspired to have a go, try things out, and laugh when things go wrong. It’s so important to realise that failing is actually learning. After all, seven thousand years ago someone learnt to spin yarn on a stone with a stick through the middle.
Can you remember the first thing you made? When I was five or six I made a tiny Plasticine model of an old mono record player which we had at home. I was so pleased with it. I even made the tiny needle to go on the arm of the record player. Talking about it transports me back to a sunny wooden classroom, with the smell of warm Plasticine, and cress seeds growing on toilet paper on the windowsill.
What did you enjoy at school? I seemed to gravitate towards reading, writing and three dimensional art. I had the luck to be born to older parents who were well-practised in ‘make do and mend’. I have never forgotten their resourcefulness.
Is this how you make your living? Fibre arts are a complete contrast from my day job, which is digital marketing. I started out by knitting, and from there on out, curiosity keeps getting the better of me. The guild itself is a mixture of hobbyists and artisans.
Can you name anyone who inspires you? I love the textiles of the Bauhaus weavers. It’s something about the combination of strength and restraint of the designs, and the subtly disrupted repetitions.
If you were able to go back and give advice to yourself at age 14 or 15, what would you say? Experience as many different crafts as you can, and build up your manual skills. And the advice you would offer to a young person with an interest in making in today’s world? Probably to have a back-up skill which complements your craft. Many craftspeople today supplement the income they receive from producing by teaching craft skills, working in arts administration, or working in related retail outlets.