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Young spanish fashion designers get up close to textiles at ESDEMGA with profesional weaver Anna Champeney

esdemga proyectos 2013 1st yearsEach year first years at Vigo University´s Fashion Design course have an unusual challenge:  to create or modify a garment or design a fashion accessory using fabrics woven by themselves on simple hand-looms.

These students are not craft or weave students but at ESDEMGA fashion school they have the chance to study simple weave techniques and the elements of woven textile design with professional weaver and designer of hand-woven fabrics, Anna Champeney.

Some of ESDEMGA´s students will be the fashion designers of tomorrow.  But of course, they could also become part of the new generation of design-makers in Spain, making hand-made limited editions by hand.  Or a combinatio of the two.

Craft has always been present in high-end couture pieces and to create additional drama on the catwalk.  But in the work of small-scale, high-end independent designers craft is also increasingly present, both as an ideal, an inspiration and means of production.

The future of craft in Spain also depends, more than ever, on design skills as well as making skills. 








Is this weaving? Pedal tie-ups and plumbers


Atado de pedales en telar de contramarcha (foto: Anna Champeney Estudio Textil). Cada pedal tiene tantas cuerdas como lizos, y se tiene que unir cada cuerda a una leva corta o larga, según el diseño que quieres realizar. Para nuestro telar con 10 pedales y 8 lizos, tenemos que atar … 80 cuerdas.

Making your living as a weaver isn´t a case of sitting peacefully at your loom all day.  Here´s a couple of photos of me tying up the pedals on my loom prior to weaving a new series of linen scarves.

The tie-up is just one of the many processes I need to do as part of loom preparation of my countermarch loom to weave a new design.  Of course, pedal tieups are not really something you can really do in live demonstrations as they´re not that photogenic and people prefer to retain a romantic image so often associated with craft.

So most people never really think about the loom preparation – and often think that the actual weaving is the “hard bit”.

“You must have so much patience to do that” people always tell me when they see me weaving at a fair.  Actually the weaving is sometimes pretty straightforward and relatively quick compared to all the other elements of “weaving”.


80 cuerdas que se fijan a través de ganchos metálicos a levas (cortas o largas) según el ligamento o ligamentos que quieres tejer. Ejemplo: Si atas todas las cuerdas desiguales (1-3-5-7-9) en pedal 1 a las levas largas se levantarán todos los lizos desiguales al activar el pedal durante el proceso de tejer, permitiendote tejer una pasada de tafetán (foto e información: Anna Champeney Estudio Textil). Cursos de tejeduría en telar y venta de telares Louet.

Most of the time which I spend on weaving a piece is design and research, dyeing, loom preparation, finishing and business stuff.  The actual weaving is a relatively small part of my work as a professional weaver.  Food for thought!  But does the public really want to know this?  Behind the scenes information I think is always interesting….

Talking of which, have a look at the last image on this post.  This is a photo taken by Claire Diamond, my volunteer assistant, just a couple of days ago.  Builders are coming as of next Monday to do some improvements in the studio.  Adolfo the plumber came early.  3 days early to be precise.

And so obviously we weren´t quite prepared for him.  Scarves had to be woven and computer admin done.  So we shared a few yarns with Adolfo, perched somewhat precariously on a stool with his blowtorch whilst we carried on working underneath.  You´d probably be shot by the health and safety police for doing this in the UK these days but here, where ideal conditions aren´t always possible (I did, however, offer Alfonso the use of our steel step-ladder!) you just use your common sense and take special care….  Refreshing really.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA