Day 2: Sampling

Tuesday: 20/6

The pace picked up today and we were moving full steam ahead. Yesterday had helped to get through all of the initial complications of communicating and sharing ideas, so that today we were able to work much more efficiently. Much to our surprise, we walked into our classroom to find that all of our partners had worked tirelessly on our weaves the previous night after wed left. For a lot of us this was the first time we had seen something physical for all the talking being done yesterday.

Jin Jin, amazingly assertive and creative in her own right, had done a lot of work last night. She had really tried to emphasise the fluffy texture of the fabrics, by sampling weave structures that really highlighted their texture of the weft yarns.

The final sample: looking into pattern and texture.

In other sections she had looked into quite detailed and geometric patterns that relied on very thin, flat yarns. I was really excited about what was happening in this sample piece, the combination of raw and exposed yarns with something very planned was really interesting and I could see a lot of potential moving forward. It was so nice to see Jin Jin’s face light up when I told her how much I loved what was happening in the weave, and there was so much excited energy in the air, we couldn’t wait to continue working.

Process images of the developing weave sample

That is exactly what we did until late that afternoon, when all the UTS students had to go off to visit the mill. By that point Jin Jin and I had managed to spin all the thread for our final weave, a huge accomplishment in and of itself, as we needed over 600 threads in total for the warp. It was repetitive and laborious but Jin Jin and I didn’t break once, and we were so determined to see this weave through.

All 600+ warp yarns, tied up and ready to thread…

Leaving the shaded classroom to walk to the mill was a challenge. None of us were yet used to the heat, and the bright, glaring sun pushed us into a lethargic state. A walk that would’ve taken no more than 10 minutes felt more like and hour, and we all collapsed, half asleep, into the mill’s reception area’s lounge chairs.

The sluggishness slipped away immediately as we entered the weaving mill though. So many machines working at such a pace, it was hard to know where to look, or who to pay attention to. The fast pace and repetitive, mechanical noises had such an effect on us, the same awe a child gets at a museum, and we all trailed around the factory, eyes wide open, silent in astonishment.

A meditative process; After wool is washed and scoured, it is bundled into thick, fluffy tops. These are then separated into much thinner rovings.

After working in such small scale at the uni, it was amazing how large this type of production could get. It was amazing to see the grass roots production of woven fabrics, because it is so easy to forget that what we buy on the role at a fabric store is not the begimmimg of the story at all.

Even such a technical and mechanised process can take on its own beauty. Rovings being spun into a double ply thread.

The production of these weaves was just so beautiful to watch, it was really inspiring to see this part of the fashion industry, to open our eyes to how things are actually created, and how strenuous and time consumming they are. Never ahain will a woven fabric be taken for granted bu ay of us.

Notes left scattered on a machine; so much detail to find in these little things.
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