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Waterline – a segment (Photograph: Joanne Withers Photography)


Both a weaving project and a learning experience, Waterline brought together a small group of tapestry weavers who have each woven their own individual tapestry as one part of a composite tapestry which reflects the theme of the flow of a river. The project has been lead by Joan Baxter, supported by Irene Evison and Anna Wetherell of Nearly Wild Weaving.

The tapestries are of varying sizes and proportions, square or rectangular in shape. Anywhere within each piece, a straight and level silvery gold line of a similar width, representing the surface and flow of the water, is the most important shared element. The finished tapestries are hung side by side so that, although the individual pieces are of different sizes and shapes, all the waterlines are at the same level.

The process has been as important as the end product, with participants working together on the over-arching tapestry design criteria, liaising with their neighbours along the line, and sharing learning throughout the weaving process. Scroll down to our updates to see our progress.

As a legacy of the project, we are exhibiting the tapestry as a single artwork, both ‘online’ and in a ‘real life’ space. We have also created a publication about the project, where we pass on our learning from the design and creation process, its “difficulties and delights”, and show our work in progress. Contact Anna if you would like to order a copy.

The members of the group are: Yonat Michaelov; Angela Forte; Jenny Heard; Minna Rothman; Katrine West; Irene Evison; Janet Moore; Terry Gerrard; Christine Paine; Anita Bruce; Kennita Tully; Veronique van Zeeland; Christine Rivers; Katariina Paakki; Anna Wetherell – and Joan Baxter.

March 2023 update

Plans for Waterline’s exhibition at Gairloch Museum have been continuing, and we hope that visitors from near and far will join us for the opening and Private View on Friday 7th July. At 5:30pm, we’ll also be doing a talk to introduce people to the Waterline project and tapestries; you can join either in person or online. Tickets for the talk are on sale via the Gairloch Museum website, priced £5.

In the week following the opening, Irene and Anna will be running a variety of workshops (tickets via Eventbrite) as well as free tapestry weaving demonstrations in the gallery. Then, in late August, Joan Baxter will be running a masterclass – Landscapes of the Heart. The Waterline exhibition continues in Gairloch until August 28th.

Then we’re very excited to be taking Waterline to Shetland Wool Week (September 23rd – October 1st), hosted by The Weaving Shed Gallery in Hillswick. As in Gairloch, Irene and Anna will be running a variety of activities including a talk, workshops and weaving demonstrations. We will publish the exhibition opening hours nearer the time, free to view. We hope you’ll pop in to see us if you’re in the area. Tickets for the talk and workshops will be on sale via the Shetland Wool Week website – we’ll let you know as soon as they become available.

More details about all of the talks and workshops are on the Activities page of our website, but please do get in touch if you have any questions or just want a bit more information.

January 2023 Update

Waterline was taken down from Farfield Mill early in the New Year – but we are already planning what will happen when it arrives in its next venue, Gairloch Museum on the West Coast of Scotland! The exhibition is due to open on 7th July with a Private View, and will be there until 26th August. We have a number of activities in mind to run alongside it – demonstrations, workshops and who knows what else… Watch this space for further updates!

Autumn 2022 Update

And we’re there!! What a journey it has been – and it’s not over yet! On 4th October, Joan, Irene and Anna hung Waterline at Farfield Mill, Cumbria, UK.

Waterline at Farfield Mill (image Anna Wetherell)

On 8th October we held a ‘Meet the Makers’ at Farfield Mill. Most of the group were there and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing each other in real life rather than just virtually via zoom! We did, of course, set up a zoom with those who couldn’t be there in person, however… The Meet the Makers was recorded – click here for the link to Vimeo. Thanks to Anita Bruce for this!

In addition, another member of the group, Katariina Paakki, created a video of the project – click on the link to see it. It’s a lovely taster of the project – thank you Kati!! We hope you all enjoy it too!

Waterline will be on display at Farfield Mill until 23rd December 2022. It will then go on tour, due to be shown at Gairloch Museum, Scotland, in July and August 2023, then we are expecting it to travel across to the States and Canada before returning to Europe. Dates and venues to be confirmed – watch this space for details!

The Waterline publication

The publication is now available, priced £16 (plus postage and packaging where needed). It will be available alongside the Waterline exhibitions (so you can buy it when you visit Farfield Mill), or contact Anna to be sent one. If you have already confirmed your pre-order it’s on it’s way to you, or may even have already arrived!

It’s been fabulous to see it all come together – tapestries, friendships, publication – and we are looking forward to sharing it with as many of you as possible. If you get a chance to see the exhibition or read the publication, do let us know what you think!

Spring 2022 Update

Looking along the Waterline… (Photograph by Joanne Withers, edited by Anna Wetherell)

All the tapestries are now complete! They were brought together in late March for a photo shoot, ready for putting the publication together – and the results are simply fabulous! The way each weaver has worked together with their neighbours is clearly evident in the colour choices, alongside elements which pick up themes (patterns, marks) from along the line as well as in adjacent tapestries. But each tapestry is still individual and stands as a work in its own right.

As well as all the discussions around colour and design, we also had to agree to hang them in the same way, taking advice from Joan. Much discussion of sewing of turnbacks and finishing off weft ends ensued, how to attach tape and velcro most effectively, and then a session for Irene cutting lengths of wood to size for each tapestry and attaching the opposite side of the velcro to them. The temporary hanging session saw Anna and Irene wielding spirit level and tape measure, checking that all the waterlines were horizontal and that they were spaced evenly. A 2″ or a 3″ gap? There may not seem to be much difference in theory, but hanging them more closely together brought the individual tapestries together as a whole, while still allowing them to speak for themselves.

Our next task is to pull together the material for the publication, so writing and designing rather than weaving…

Several articles about the project have been written by members of the group, including in Tapestry Weaver Issue 31, the Tapestry Weavers West newsletter, and, coming soon, one in Weven. We continue to reflect on the project, and are looking forward to getting together in the Autumn, in person, for as many as can travel to be in one place to celebrate what we have achieved!

Autumn 2021 Update

Jan Moore – work in progress

We’re delighted to report that all is going well. We’ve had several online sessions led by Joan, as well as some informal small group meetings, which have taken us through the design stage and now into weaving.

Each weaver has created their own unique design, clearly showing a waterline running through. The challenge was then to work out what order to place the designs to create a coherent collaborative piece! Starting with an initial suggestion from Joan, and with excellent online manipulation of slides in Powerpoint by Anna, the group arrived at an order that we all feel comfortable with.

It’s been fun to get to know our ‘neighbours’ and work out how to make small adaptations in our own design in order to achieve some crossover into the pieces on either side.

We’ve all been busy sampling, and group members are now at different stages in creating their tapestries, sharing progress as we go.

Angela Forte – design stage
Nita Bruce – colour sample
A group zoom session – at the start Europe is in daylight and Pacific Coast in darkness, which steadily shifts as our session goes on…

Summer 2021 Update

We were delighted to have received applications from around the UK and beyond. Joan had the tricky task of choosing weavers whose styles can be complementary within the composite piece, and we are excited to be bringing together a group of weavers with diverse experience and approaches.

Our first session was in early September. We will be posting our progress on social media (#weavingwaterline), once we get going. Keep an eye out!

Joan Baxter – detail from Halaig 2
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