Monday, December 03, 2007

Tablet weaving - gold brocade


I've just begun my latest large commission, a tablet woven band based on the Anglo Saxon burials at Taplow. The band will not be an attempt at a true reconstruction, primarily because some assumptions have to be made with regards to the ground weave and the limitations of modern materials. It will, however, be a band based on available research and using the correct techniques.


The ground weave is a fine wool, hand-dyed with weld and indigo to create a nice green. The brocade weft is gilt plate - a flat metal strip as opposed to metal wraped around a core. The design is based on the analysis of the gold remaining in the ground, as shown in Cloth and Clothing - Early Anglo-Saxon England AD 450-700 (Penelope Walton Rogers).


I decided to use my very large inkle loom to warp this band, as opposed to my tablet weaving loom. Normally, I would work silk brocade by weighting the warp threads, but I am conscious of the fine wool breaking if it hangs for a long period of time (and as brocade is time-consuming for even the smallest band, that really is an issue!) My other concern was the use of the flat plate when winding any finished weave around a beam to move the weaving on. The flat plate marks so easily - imagine a piece of tin foil - the slightly thicker type - that is very similar to the plate. By using the inkle loom, the whole of the band can remain relatively flat and avoid most types of marking.


Tablet weaving - especially brocade, doesn't always work on an inkle loom. It really depends upon how much space you have for the tablets to turn. Because this is a large loom and I use very small tablets, it does work. But using the 'standard' of either doesn't usually, so if anyone fancies trying it, do a test first!


The picture is of the first piece of weaving - the flash if off so the picture is fairly dark, but the gold shines much better here (it looks black if the flash is on!)


9 comments:

  1. Wow! That looks absolutely amazing! The gilt plate is so...golden! Is it real gold, and in that case, where can I get some? :-)

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  2. Thank you! The plate is gilt - gold on silver plated copper. It is No11 broad plate from Benton & Johnson, http://www.bentonandjohnson.com/. The gilt is more yellow than the photo, which has a bit of a red tint to it as the flash is off. It is lovely and shiny though! They do the same in 2%WM; the highest standard available for metal threads, but of course this is pricier!

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  3. Stunning!
    Look forward to seeing it in person, I hope!

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  4. wonderful work!

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  5. It's very lovely and the green ground is coming through very nicely on my computer.

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  6. Hello, Benton & Johnson's website is under maintenance, and the only gilt broad plate I can find is the No6. Do you know how this compares in size to the No11?
    Thank-you

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  7. Hi Laura
    No. 6 is 2mm wide, whilst No.11 is 1mm (give or take!) I hope that helps!

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  8. Yes, thank-you, that is very helpfull, now if only I could find someone in the States who carries it; currenly my closest source is Austraila... lol

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  9. I'm afraid I can't recommend anyone Laura, though I do know that B&J will send to the States, so maybe worth emailing them anyway?

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