Featured Artist: Anne Gilmour
We welcome featured artist, Anne Gilmour, to our blog today. Anne is a multi-talented master weaver, master soap maker, and singer/songwriter. I met Anne at Open Studios of Clark County last year and I had the pleasure of seeing her work at the exhibit.
She grew up in Colonial Williamsburg, a living history community in Virginia & was introduced to traditional methods of spinning & weaving by renowned Scottish Master Weaver Norman Kennedy who was a resident artisan there at the time.
Anne began knitting at the age of 8 (working in original designs even then) & has never looked back. Extensive work in traditional Scottish Tartan Weaving has helped hone her skills and develop her noted eye for proportion & color harmony in garment design. She now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she works full time in a converted pole barn/ textile studio and teaches occasional workshops in spinning, weaving and knitting.
Her award-winning hand knitting designs and woven creations have been featured in various textile books and periodicals and in many galleries, museums & private collections worldwide. A first generation American, she readily admits that her Celtic roots & love of history and traditional textile skills show up frequently in her design aesthetic. She is an accredited member of the Scottish Tartans Authority and is also a master soap maker.
When not elbow-deep in wool, she is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter and enjoys playing with a local band. She also raises Jacob sheep and enjoys family, rescue pets, hiking and skiing, gardening and reading.
Here’s what she said about her craft….
I love combining unusual and unexpected combinations of color, pattern, texture, technique & fiber- I was born predisposed to possibilities.
Working in textiles allows me a perfect vehicle to lend form to a constant flow of ideas. That these ideas can then live & breathe on a person and become a moving part in someone’s life is a special privilege known only to those who invent wearables, and to me is an absolute joy.
This is such a remarkable age of possibility- recently I finished a length of woolen cloth on my computer driven dobby loom, combining centuries old techniques with the latest technology, then took it to a group attending the local fiber festival to ‘wet finish’ it with a traditional ‘Waulking’, complete with ancient Gaelic songs.
Waulking, or luadh (‘loo-ugh’) in Gaelic, is the time-honored process of hand finishing woolen cloth in the traditional way. In the Scottish Gaidhealtachd, most especially in the Hebrides, this method survived into the twentieth century and consists of getting a group of people (usually women) seated around a large table where they thump, rub and pass the newly woven wetted cloth while singing traditional Orain Luadh (rythmic gaelic waulking songs). This is still one of the most effective (& fun!) ways to wet-finish hand woven woolens, and has always served the very practical purpose of making the resulting cloth tight, strong and weather-proof.
The hands of many people blessed this cloth, and the belief is that this spirit & energy goes on to bless the finished garments and their eventual owners. This is a kind of old world magic I love to believe in, in this age of possibility!
To see more of Anne’s work, you can visit her website here.