Learning the Weaver’s Handshake

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 Faulkner Weaver Weaving Sturt School

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!

Sturt School Weavers Handshake

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!

As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

4 thoughts on “Learning the Weaver’s Handshake

  1. Jane Tuttle

    How cool that your action on touching beyond the handshake, a gesture of compassion/affection, is the norm for weavers. Enjoying your stories from this adventure.

    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks Jane. Remember when we did all the leadership training? Well it should come as no surprise that I am a kinesthetic/tactile learner! Us kinesthetics learn best through physical activity, even just touching something as innocent as a sleeve or shirt arm. This is me in a nutshell and one of the reasons I love to stitch: it gets my moving my arms and I get to feel/touch the threads and linen and canvas.


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