A Split shed splendour- by Anwesha Mukherjee

I got to know about shuttles and needles through their website and was immediately intrigued by the vibrant assortment of yarns and looms on display, showcasing a diversity of colours, textures, and fibres. My interest in the products was piqued, and I sought to learn more. In May, I visited the studio to apply for an internship and thus began my journey with Shuttles and Needles.

Creating a product with Split Shed Weaving: My Experience:

I was assigned to the project using the split shed weaving technique and was handed a book which explained all about it and more. At first, I was overwhelmed but I knew I could figure it out.

I had to go through each line, and into the lines to get a better understanding of what to do, once this was done the most fun part with the Ashford Jack loom (treadle loom with 8 shafts & 10 treadles) started, and I set up the warp, started denting and the experimentation involved in setting up the tie-ups. It's fascinating how attaching one shaft to another treadle, its permutations and combinations can lead to diverse results.

Exploring New Techniques and Materials in Split Shed Weaving: My Experience

Initially, I was following the techniques outlined in the book by Deborah Silver titled ‘The Technique of Split Shed Weaving’ when creating my experimental sample. However, I soon realized that following a book might limit my creativity. Fortunately, my mentor came to my rescue by advising me to relax and explore. He emphasized that my sample could be as ugly as possible since I was in the exploration phase of the project.

Taking his advice, I decided to branch out and use a variety of materials, including cotton sport weight yarn, Wool Roving yarn, Metallic yarns and Nylon threads. 

After using techniques like broken and straight twill with one continuous weft, I started with the weave ‘mock samitum’, a complimentary weft technique. A fascinating fact is that you can insert 2-6 yarns in one shed, alternating their up and down positions within the mid-layer of warp, according to the design and a complex and striking pattern emerges. This method of weaving can also be accomplished through the use of jacquard looms. 
The result was a beautiful, long fabric, measuring about 16" x 73 inches

Exploring the Art of Hand Felting and Enjoying Studio Life

While taking a break from my work, I became interested in hand felting. I gave it a try and found it to be a delightful experience. With only a few minutes of effort, you can create a felted friend that can be fashioned into a brooch or hair clip. 

The studio environment is very welcoming, making you feel right at home. The greenery outside is a refreshing escape from the concrete jungle. My fellow interns and I enjoyed taking walks together, discovering nearby supermarkets and fruit juice stalls that became our go-to spots for a quick lunch.
Noon times at the studio were always enjoyable, as we gathered around to eat lunch and engage in lively conversations about looms. We discussed topics like where the wood comes from, how it ages, and how it is engineered and precision cut to create beautiful looms that last for a long time.

Creating beautiful Wall Hangings inspired by Australian aboriginal art:

As I worked on the final product of my wall-hanging project, I found myself in the flow of the process. Working with the loom, the yarns seemed to speak to me. Drawing inspiration from Australian Aboriginal Art dot paintings, I incorporated their motifs into my work to create a unique texture and symbolism appropriate for the studio. The split shed technique brought the art form to life. Despite the project feeling endless, my mentor's unwavering support kept me motivated throughout.

After approximately three and a half weeks of weaving, the wall-hanging panels were ready to be mounted on the wall.

A Few Reflections on the Process: 

1. My unique approach to manipulating yarns resulted in a different look for the fabric. 
2. Establishing a connection with the yarns helped me navigate and create my piece with greater ease. 
3. As I practised, I found that I became much faster at this art. 
4. Small mistakes are okay since focusing on the bigger picture and the final result is what really matters. 
5. Learning one craft at a time can spark your interest and lead you down unexpected paths. Becoming an expert takes time, but every step along the way counts. 
6. It's important not to be afraid of trying something new. New is always refreshing, and with yarns and a 4-shaft loom, the possibilities are endless. 
7. When working on a project, try to push yourself to do things in a new way instead of relying on traditional methods. Adding your own unique touch can make it truly one-of-a-kind.

Although it took some time to grasp this technique, I persisted and gradually began to comprehend it. Eventually, I was able to complete the assigned task, and the sense of accomplishment was indescribable. I'm eager to continue experimenting with this technique and develop a deeper mastery of it!



Anwesha Mukherjee t is pursuing B.Des Textile Design at NIFT Chennai and interned with Shuttles & Needles. She explored Split Shed weaving and created a beautiful woven wall art using Ashford Jack loom at Shuttles & Needles studio.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published