Penny Johnstone 1941 - 2017

It is with sadness that the trustees announce the death of former trustee Penny Johnstone. Penny had been a trustee for nearly twenty years until she retired in 2014. She brought an extensive knowledge of charities and trusts to the Theo Moorman Trust. Although she presented herself as a non-weaver trustee, she had, in fact, met Theo Moorman when she attended one of her weaving courses and had a great understanding of the subject.

Bobbie Cox - Patron

The trustees are delighted to announce that tapestry weaver Bobbie Cox has agreed to be the Trust's patron. Bobbie was a friend of both Theo Moorman and Eileen Chadwick, a founding trustee of the Theo Moorman Trust and a trustee for many years.

The following weavers were awarded grants in 2016

Cos Ahmet
£1275 for materials, yarn and promotional material for a new body of work.

Louise R Anderson
£3000 contribution towards the purchase of a new loom.

Bonnie Kirkwood
£5000 contribution towards the purchase of a new loom.

Christine Porath
£1875 towards attending a master class in weave design.

Katherine Swales
£764 for materials and studio rent.

Louise Tucker
£500 for purchase of yarn for a research and development project exploring light and pattern.

Rezia Wahid
£1800 for research and development, materials and yarn to delevop a new body of work.

Sally Weatherill
£2190 for purchase of a Louet Megado mechanical dobby loom.

WEAVERS' KNOT 2015

A gathering of past recipients of a Theo Moorman grant at the V&A Clothworkers' Centre, Blythe Road, London in March 2015.

Our appetites had been whetted when the invitation card arrived to have a study day at Blythe House, near Olympia. Not only did this looking very promising but the invited list of previous TMT Award winners was both impressive and daunting!

Armed with the required ID the large entrance gate opened to this most impressive Grade II listed building. It was built in 1899 as the Headquarters for the Post Office Savings Bank. It is now shared by the V&A, the British Museum, and the Science Museum. A magnificent building that is used for various films and TV locations, providing some useful income.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Clothworkers' Company, over the last 4 years the V&A textile collection has been transferred to its new home, moving some 85,00 objects, to new state of the art storage systems. The architects have given great care to design all the storage areas to distribute the weight evenly.

At last it is possible to arrange group visits, and also individual study sessions by appointment. Do look at the website for information about this procedure, and bear in mind that it is closed in August for an Audit, very important as financial support depends on this. It is always hoped there will be very few NIPs - Not in Place where an object is not in the allocated space so serious detective work is required.

We were divided into two groups, one with Sue Pritchard, the other with Suzanne Smith, to see a variety of amazing objects and we also met the people who were selecting potential items for new major exhibitions.

Tall hanging space houses many garments each in their Tyvek protective bags as a barrier against light and dust. Long drawers below allow items to be stored flat. Our questions were welcomed and answered very fully. Inevitably the whole aspect of moth and insect control was raised - and I expect many of us will be taking additional measures in our own homes and studios now! We could all have lingered in this storage area for the rest of the day!

In the large light study area, Sue Pritchard had put out two contrasting items from the collection: the famous sampler by Jane Bostocke 1598, and a modern piece - a machine embroidered surgical implant used in reconstructive surgery. In the same room was one of the superb mahogany cabinets from the V&A study gallery with the collection of examples that can be slid out to view.

After a delicious lunch we returned to the V&A section to the Patricia Baines Seminar Room to look at some of Theo Moorman's weaving from the collection. It was indeed fitting for us to be there that day, as many of us remember Patricia with great affection. We saw some of the items that had been part of the Circulation Department, based on the best of British design, used as a teaching resource, sadly disbanded during severe cutbacks.

The Worshipful Company of Weavers runs a competition every two years for young graduates to weave a panel of a set size - 5' x 5' x not more that 12" that will be displayed at their headquarters for two years and then on long term loan to the V&A. We are saw several of these innovative art pieces.

Tea and cakes rounded off a very special day, with TMT Award Winners being able to exchange ideas and share our current developments with each other as well as the Trustees.

We had been extremely fortunate to have so much time with Sue and Suzanne who had given much thought about what to show us. The usual group visit would be 45 minutes.

I do recommend registering on the V&A search collections website, since many thousands of objects are now viewable, and the details obtained if seeking to study in person. Group visits can also be arranged.

A very big thank you to the Trustees and Julia Philips for arranging this very special day. It was a real joy to meet other recipients in such an erudite location. Geographically we are so far flung, and yet another bonus is the warmth in messages since to meet up if traveling nearby.

Jennie Parry, grant recipient, 2012.

at the V&A Clothworkers' Centre Sue Pritchard, curator of contemporary textiles, V&A, (right) shows work by Theo Moorman to the weavers at the Weavers' Knot 2015.

Eileen Chadwick 1917 - 2014

It is with sadness that the trustees announce the death of the Trust's patron Eileen Chadwick. Eileen was a great friend of Theo's and a founder trustee of the Trust. In 2007 she became Patron and remained interested and involved in the work of the Trust.

Eileen will be remembered as a handspinner and teacher particularly through her book The Craft of the Handspinner which brings together and shares her deep knowledge and understanding of the craft. Some will also remember that at the age of eighty she embarked or a new career - that of a full-time weaver producing and selling wall hangings and cushions.

The following weavers were awarded grants in 2014

Laura Adburgham
£2000 contribution towards the purchase of a computerised dobby loom.

Julieann Worrall Hood
£1650 for studio rent for eleven months.

Louise Martin
£1500 for a research and study trip to Iceland.

Philip Sanderson
£1300 for studio time to develop new work.

Stacie Sheeran
£1000 to purchase experimental yarns.

Christine Sawyer
£550 for promotional material and to attend a Touring Exhibition Group marketplace.

Theo Moorman Hangings given to the Craft Study Centre

at the Craft Study Centre Farnham In February 2014 Sue Hiley Harris delivered two hangings by Theo Moorman to the Craft Study Centre in Farnham. Eileen Chadwick donated Pierced Landscape, from the early 1970s, and a work from Theo's Encrusted Gold series, from the late 1980s, to the Centre. The image above shows Sue Hiley Harris (centre) handing the works to the Craft Study Centre Director, Professor Simon Olding, and curator, Jean Vacher. They are availabe to see by appointment and it is hoped that they will be exhibited in the gallery from time to time.

The following weavers were awarded grants in 2012

Louise Renae Anderson
£3000 to contribute towards her research project in weaving and fashion.

Sara Brennan
£2600 to provide time to develop a new body of work, materials and studio rent.

Daisy Williamson
£650 to attend some weaving workshops.

Katie Russell
£650 to attend a weaving course and buy yarns.

Jennie Parry
£580 to fund the purchase of a 3 level takadai.

WEAVERS' KNOT

A gathering of past recipients of a Theo Moorman grant at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester in March 2011.

The Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers has been awarding grants to weavers biennially since 1991. In 2001 an exhibition of work from the first decade's recipients of grants was held in Leeds. Ten years on from that, in March this year, a second, rather different event was held. The Trustees organised a day at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester for a gathering of past grant recipients to meet, talk, listen and experience some of the wonderful textiles in the Whitworth Collection.

Fourteen of us travelled to Manchester from all corners of the country, (Lynne Curran in fact made it over from Italy!), all curious and keen to take this opportunity to meet up with other weavers. Sue Hiley Harris began our day with an excellent talk about Theo Moorman and her work. Although we all had at least some idea about Theo's techniques and achievements, it was so good to hear about her from someone who had actually met her, and was able to give us a more intimate insight into this remarkable craftswoman. Sue had also brought with her some of Theo's actual samples, which we fell upon with cries of joy! It is always exciting to be able to actually handle and examine closely someone else's experimental pieces.

After an excellent lunch provided by the Whitworth, Frances Pritchard, the Whitworth's textile curator, took us into the storerooms where she had brought out some of their collection of Egyptian textiles for us to see. Again, it was such a privilege to be able to examine these extraordinary pieces up close, and to be allowed to photograph them. Frances was also very generous with her time and knowledge, and many of us bought her excellent book about the collection.

We reconvened for tea, and spent some time sharing details about what our respective Theo Moorman grants had allowed us to do. It was extremely interesting to hear not only what the original application had been, but often the consequences brought about by having that support at a particular time. The kinds of practice we all do varies considerably, but it was very valuable to learn about the twists and turns of how we have all managed to keep our weaving work going. The degree of commitment that emerged from the group to each of our own particular forms of the craft of weaving was extraordinary. For some of us weaving has become a full career, for most of us, it is an essential part of our lives and work, but other activities have had to be fitted in, usually in order to pay the bills.

The Trustees said they had been slightly nervous about the day, wondering how many people would want to come, and whether they would find it worthwhile. I did not detect any disappointment at all, and I am sure I speak for all when I say we found it fascinating, good fun and nourishing to the spirit. Also, the opportunity to re-connect with familiar faces and make new contacts is always invaluable.

Jacy Wall, grant recipient, 2008.