Did you know you can weave without using a loom?
Sarah Ward of Lark & Bower makes small hand-woven artworks, created off-loom using a needle and thread. The concept was conceived during lockdown when she had no access to her loom or studio. Desperate to weave, Ward started using birch wood, a needle and some leftover yarn to make small studies of her favourite woven structures; twills, hopsacks, waffle, and houndstooth.
Now, despite having access to both studio and loom, she has continued to work on these small, extremely long winded offerings, whilst pondering why woven structure isn’t more celebrated.
Rejecting the constant demand for newness and instead supporting slow-design and sustainable practice, Sarah aims to use these woven pieces to raise awareness about the impact of the textile industry on the environment.
All the pieces are woven with industry waste yarn, yarn left over from previous projects or sustainable plant based fibres. Her pieces shine a spotlight on craftsmanship, and on woven structure as an art form in its own right. Hand-weaving is an often forgotten art, and one which Ward feels deserves to be appreciated without necessarily being part of a functional item.
As an ancient craft, weaving is deeply connected to what it is to be a human. Like music, weaving developed in many parts of the world simultaneously, long before civilisations had communication with one another - an idea often forgotten in our new digital and industrial world.
My eyes have been opened to the sheer quantity of new yarn and virgin cotton that is produced to support the fast fashion industry – an industry in which much of what’s made and sold is quickly discarded. The impact on our planet is too great, the waste and throw away culture comes at too high a cost.
So instead of participating in this I intend to use mill waste yarn, sustainable plant-based fibres, dead stock or surplus yarn from mills that have shut down, or left over yarn from old projects.’
‘These projects are born not just out of love for weaving but also out of concern for the way in which the textile industry has been shaped in recent years by the fast fashion mentality, and how that impacts our planet and our future. I intend to use these pieces as a way to raise awareness about that.’
We're delighted that Sarah is sharing her skill and craft in her upcoming workshop for Selvedge.
Twills, herringbones, dogtooth, hopsack - we'll be putting functionality and fashion aside for a moment to celebrate woven cloth, and the structures used to create it.
Sarah will be guiding participants through the history of the woven fabrics and their structures. Though first developed for its functionality, weaving has long been practiced as a form of expression, like many other artistic disciplines. Yet, in today's fast paced fashion culture, we have started to think of textiles as 'disposable’ and the craft of weaving is perceived as devalued. Through these weavings, you will be able to re-familiarise with the human input that goes into our clothing, and the skill, patience and craftsmanship of makers.
Off-Loom Weaving with Sarah Ward is now sold out. Click here to find out more and join the waiting list:
when will next off-loom weaving open?