Becky Gallop – Textile Artist

Posted on 18th November 2015 by David under artists at work, Creativity, Textiles

Becky Gallop at work

Becky Gallop at work

Becky Gallop – Textile Artist

Rebecca Gallop is a contemporary textile artist. I visited her studio recently as she was weaving another of her hand made scarves. It’s always a pleasure to meet with creative people and learn about different art forms and the media they use. I came away with photographs of the visit, a better understanding of what textile art is about, and great admiration for her skill and patience.

If you’ve ever seen an industrial loom in action you will appreciate how quickly those things can work. Shuttles flying back and forth and woven cloth emerging at a tremendous rate. You’ll also appreciate the noise they make. So it was quite a surprise to find Becky working away on a modern, rigid heddle loom, built for more considered, not to mention quieter, work.

Weaving in progress on the loom

Weaving in progress on the loom

A brief 101 on weaving: cloth is formed when threads (the weft) are passed over and under other threads (the warp). The loom allows the warp threads to be alternately raised and lowered. Weaving is the methodical process of passing the weft thread back and forth between them in a special holder called a shuttle.

A selection of thread and a shuttle

A selection of thread and a shuttle

If all she wanted to do were churn out cloth I’m sure Becky would have bought an automated loom long ago. But that isn’t her aim and automation would be a hindrance. Instead she produces unique lengths of cloth that use a variety of weft threads, sometimes changed after only one or two passes across the loom. Selecting different threads is similar to a painter selecting different colours from a palette. It gives the cloth a variety of colours and textures according the to the design Becky has in mind

Working at the loom

Working at the loom

The piece she was working on when I visited was another scarf to add to the selection of scarves and shawls for sale on her Etsy shop.  Each one is unique, beautiful, and definitely not mass-produced.

Finished scarves

Finished scarves

Weaving isn’t the only textile skill Becky uses. Before you can weave you first have to wash and dry, card, spin, and dye the wool. There were a couple of fleeces in the studio waiting to be processed – from Alpaca and Jacob’s Sheep. Each of these steps is again done on a small scale and adds to the stock of specialist wool that Becky also buys in. She does some spinning herself and can create beautiful, unique threads when a mix of wools of different colours is blended together.

Colourful wool thread

Colourful wool thread

As someone who is used to the relative speed of the photographic process I left with great admiration for the methodical, and very creative process of textile art.  Thank you, Becky for letting me come to see you at work.

Becky is based in an old industrial building in Stafford that has been converted into modern studio spaces.


 

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