Last weekend, while up in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales (about an hour outside of Sydney) our hosts took us to a textile exhibit called, Ordinary/Extraordinary at the Sturt Australian Contemporary Craft and Design school/gallery/center. This is a very cool center focusing on teaching Australian contemporary craft and design. While walking around the grounds, we wondered into the textile weaving cottage and got to meet the weaving goddess, Kay Faulkner. She is a master weaver, designer and teacher and was working on a loom that the woodworking students had built for her. She was weaving a piece of linen that she was planning on adding embroidery to, hence my interest.
She has been a full time professional hand weaver since the mid 1980’s and has been working, studying and playing in the textile field all her life. She considers herself to be both a textile artist and an exacting craft worker. She was the 2013 artist-in-residence in the Weaving Studio at Sturt and is currently the studio leader, living and breathing textiles. She travels, exhibits and teaches (including master classes) around the world.
Kay was wonderfully entertaining as she was educating us about weaving, the Sturt School and the piece she was creating. As we said good bye, I put my hand on her sleeve and started to feel the linen shirt she was wearing, without thinking about it. She told us that I was giving her the weaver’s handshake–something that those of us who create with threads, cloth, textiles do all the time. For those of us in the textile/stitching world, we love the feel of what we work with as much as the process of making it!
Here is me giving Kay the weaver’s handshake. The photo is not in focus, but you can tell I am touching her sleeve!
The Sturt school teaches courses in jewelry making, ceramics, wood working and weaving. If I were to come back to Australia, it would be to get lost in some course work here for sure!
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