Cording and Trapping with Rosie

Here are some raving reviews of last month's Cording class lead by Rosanna Ford:

"Rosie's class was both fun and informative.  Learning the basics of the cording technique and becoming aware of its possibilities was very exciting for me as an artist and a textile-lover.  The Pop Craft studio was fantastic as a workshop space, fostering a relaxed, colourful and productive atmosphere while we worked."-- Maggie

"Rosie's cording class was the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. Learning a new embellishment technique from an obviously talented textile designer all among like minded textile lovers. There was there plenty of one on one attention, cups of tea, discussion of what fabrics, yarns and embroidery threads would work best and a beautiful array of samples, perfect for generating ideas. Rosie passed on her learnt tricks that first time corders might stumble upon and also baked us a delicious treat for morning tea."-- Carla

Rosie will be sharing more of her surface embellishment secrets in her next class - Trapping, on Saturday the 23rd of May from 10-4pm. Work the magic of this ancient textile technique into your fabrics to create truly one off designs. 

All photos below of Trapping samples were shot by heartland.

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Studio pop-in with Rosanna Ford

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From the student halls of Central Saint Martins, to the glamorous workrooms of Diane Von Furstenberg, to the evocative craft villages in India - it seems you have followed your heart in a very constructive manner, entwining your passion of textiles and traveling.  I've been so lucky to be able to visit and work in all the places I have. I've gathered so much inspiration along the way, particularly from my visits to India, which shaped my work and the way I see the world in equal measure. I think my travels allow me to access my creativity like nothing else, and if necessary I'll use imagined journeys to get going. The ultimate journey to follow my heart is the one I took to be with my husband in Australia. Now I'm in the happy position of enjoying this incredible country as a permanent traveller.   You have an impressive repertoire of traditional surface embellishment techniques. Have you been able to apply this knowledge as much as you had hoped? What do you think the future holds for these ancient skills?  When I started teaching textiles I set out to prove to my students that these techniques didn't have to just be about craft, but also about cutting edge design. I looked for examples of specific techniques on the catwalk to show my students that they really are relevant and I surprised even myself with how many examples I could find. You'll never see these unusual and time consuming techniques at the lower end of the market, but for anyone creating something special, techniques like cording give an incredibly modern look, partly because they've been largely forgotten. I love seeking out more and more obscure techniques from history and reworking them into pieces that look fresh and contemporary.   Dropping names here, but what was it like to work for the incomparable Grayson Perry?   I created an opera jacket for his collection of costumes, which he wears in his professional appearances. He's such an intelligent and down to earth person, but also a surprisingly difficult customer because he didn't just want to look like a flamboyant cross dresser, but wanted to minimise his waist, show off his legs but look good in flat shoes (years of high heels ruined his back). He gave an incredibly entertaining and detailed brief, and what I chose to take from it was his love of astrology and maps, and his interest in bondage, which led me to Japanese rope bondage and ultimately cording. So I have a lot to thank him for because this is now one of my favourite techniques.     Rosanna Ford  is a stunning (and ethical) bridal design label. Describe the dress you are creating for your own wedding this year.  I love sharing ideas and I'm also a bit of a gossip, so it's been hard keeping it under wraps! I won't give too much away, but I'm using a vintage lace harvested from a wedding dress I bought a couple of years ago at a market, as well as Fairtrade hand-loomed silk from Cambodia. It's very true to the aesthetic of my collections, which is fairly minimal in silhouette, with the fabrics doing the talking, and a modern look underpinned with a bit of vintage. I've already previewed the jacket that will go with it - comfort is a big factor in my designs and I want to keep warm on the day. It's been a strange experience being my own customer, and I could have created a hundred dresses so settling on just one design has been hard.    Rosie is leading both the  Cording  class on Saturday  the 18th of April and the  Trapping  class on Saturday the 23rd of May .    All photos courtesy of  Heartland .

From the student halls of Central Saint Martins, to the glamorous workrooms of Diane Von Furstenberg, to the evocative craft villages in India - it seems you have followed your heart in a very constructive manner, entwining your passion of textiles and traveling.
I've been so lucky to be able to visit and work in all the places I have. I've gathered so much inspiration along the way, particularly from my visits to India, which shaped my work and the way I see the world in equal measure. I think my travels allow me to access my creativity like nothing else, and if necessary I'll use imagined journeys to get going. The ultimate journey to follow my heart is the one I took to be with my husband in Australia. Now I'm in the happy position of enjoying this incredible country as a permanent traveller.

You have an impressive repertoire of traditional surface embellishment techniques. Have you been able to apply this knowledge as much as you had hoped? What do you think the future holds for these ancient skills?
When I started teaching textiles I set out to prove to my students that these techniques didn't have to just be about craft, but also about cutting edge design. I looked for examples of specific techniques on the catwalk to show my students that they really are relevant and I surprised even myself with how many examples I could find. You'll never see these unusual and time consuming techniques at the lower end of the market, but for anyone creating something special, techniques like cording give an incredibly modern look, partly because they've been largely forgotten. I love seeking out more and more obscure techniques from history and reworking them into pieces that look fresh and contemporary.

Dropping names here, but what was it like to work for the incomparable Grayson Perry? 
I created an opera jacket for his collection of costumes, which he wears in his professional appearances. He's such an intelligent and down to earth person, but also a surprisingly difficult customer because he didn't just want to look like a flamboyant cross dresser, but wanted to minimise his waist, show off his legs but look good in flat shoes (years of high heels ruined his back). He gave an incredibly entertaining and detailed brief, and what I chose to take from it was his love of astrology and maps, and his interest in bondage, which led me to Japanese rope bondage and ultimately cording. So I have a lot to thank him for because this is now one of my favourite techniques. 

Rosanna Ford is a stunning (and ethical) bridal design label. Describe the dress you are creating for your own wedding this year.
I love sharing ideas and I'm also a bit of a gossip, so it's been hard keeping it under wraps! I won't give too much away, but I'm using a vintage lace harvested from a wedding dress I bought a couple of years ago at a market, as well as Fairtrade hand-loomed silk from Cambodia. It's very true to the aesthetic of my collections, which is fairly minimal in silhouette, with the fabrics doing the talking, and a modern look underpinned with a bit of vintage. I've already previewed the jacket that will go with it - comfort is a big factor in my designs and I want to keep warm on the day. It's been a strange experience being my own customer, and I could have created a hundred dresses so settling on just one design has been hard. 

Rosie is leading both the Cording class on Saturday  the 18th of April and the Trapping class on Saturday the 23rd of May.

 All photos courtesy of Heartland.

studio pop-in with yoshie burns

Please tell how you came to specialise in Saori weaving.   I first became interested in Saori weaving by accident.  I was having a day out looking in craft shops in Osaka in 2006 and one of the shops had a Saori loom set up where you could try it for fun. It looked interesting so I sat down and had a go. It was so fun and simple I fell in love with it immediately. I felt as though Saori found me. After that first try I found Suyoko-san who runs a studio called Suyo in Tamatsukuri, Osaka. There I learnt how to use the loom, make the warp and a variety of techniques that got me started. The philosophy behind Saori weaving is in my mind the freedom to express yourself through experimenting with colour and yarn. Saori feels very natural and acts like nature where things take on their own forms and patterns. I also like the way you can follow set patterns and produce work that is more uniform. I like mixing various styles together to see what I can create.   Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?  I would like to run workshops with all ages to help them tap into their creative side and feel the joy of weaving. I think Saori’s simplicity is a great way to bring this out. I would also like to show it's therapeutic and meditative qualities in the way it acts on the senses when using the loom through colour, movement and sound. I am also happy to share techniques with people who are wanting to further their weaving skills into other areas.   Your woven garments are extraordinary, the patterns are simple but yet so stylish. What/who are your fashion inspirations?  Weaving is so ancient you can travel through time exploring all of the colours, textures and patterns from around the world. I love the way nature influences the traditional costumes in each culture. Lately I have been looking at Australian birds, flowers and scenery thinking of ways I can incorporate them into my weaving. Being Japanese I definitely draw inspiration from the simple shapes and lines found in both modern and traditional Japanese clothing. I also like experimenting with patterns and find that often by making mistakes I come up with new ideas.    Is your husband Cailan Burns aka,  Too Much To Dream , also your muse? Tell us about Mystery Twin.  Cailan is one of my influences he always paints with bright colours and has unique ideas. It would be fun to try and collaborate with him creating something using weaving and painting. I could imagine one of his creatures coming to life with a mixture of sculpture, painting and weaving. One for the future to do list. In regards to Mystery Twin. This was a musical project Cailan worked on over many years between Osaka and Melbourne and finally with the help of friends finished in 2010. I sang in Japanese on two tracks which was fun. His style is very ambient and dreamlike, I love listening to it when I am weaving. It also has a beautifully illustrated cover and a poster inside which Cailan designed. You might be able to still get it here at  Sensory Projects .    Yoshie will be assisting us as a  guest cook for the Feast on the 27th Of March. We are also thrilled to announce that we will be exhibiting a small collection of her Saori garments in our studio on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of March from 1:30-4:30 pm. She will be demonstrating some of her techniques during the Sunday session and exclusively for the guests on the night of the Feast.   Please come and admire and enquire about this very special form of weaving at Pop Craft Studio, 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote 3070.     All photos courtesy of  Heartland

Please tell how you came to specialise in Saori weaving. 
I first became interested in Saori weaving by accident.  I was having a day out looking in craft shops in Osaka in 2006 and one of the shops had a Saori loom set up where you could try it for fun. It looked interesting so I sat down and had a go. It was so fun and simple I fell in love with it immediately. I felt as though Saori found me. After that first try I found Suyoko-san who runs a studio called Suyo in Tamatsukuri, Osaka. There I learnt how to use the loom, make the warp and a variety of techniques that got me started. The philosophy behind Saori weaving is in my mind the freedom to express yourself through experimenting with colour and yarn. Saori feels very natural and acts like nature where things take on their own forms and patterns. I also like the way you can follow set patterns and produce work that is more uniform. I like mixing various styles together to see what I can create.

Where do you hope to take your practice in the future?
I would like to run workshops with all ages to help them tap into their creative side and feel the joy of weaving. I think Saori’s simplicity is a great way to bring this out. I would also like to show it's therapeutic and meditative qualities in the way it acts on the senses when using the loom through colour, movement and sound. I am also happy to share techniques with people who are wanting to further their weaving skills into other areas.

Your woven garments are extraordinary, the patterns are simple but yet so stylish. What/who are your fashion inspirations?
Weaving is so ancient you can travel through time exploring all of the colours, textures and patterns from around the world. I love the way nature influences the traditional costumes in each culture. Lately I have been looking at Australian birds, flowers and scenery thinking of ways I can incorporate them into my weaving. Being Japanese I definitely draw inspiration from the simple shapes and lines found in both modern and traditional Japanese clothing. I also like experimenting with patterns and find that often by making mistakes I come up with new ideas. 

Is your husband Cailan Burns aka, Too Much To Dream, also your muse? Tell us about Mystery Twin.
Cailan is one of my influences he always paints with bright colours and has unique ideas. It would be fun to try and collaborate with him creating something using weaving and painting. I could imagine one of his creatures coming to life with a mixture of sculpture, painting and weaving. One for the future to do list. In regards to Mystery Twin. This was a musical project Cailan worked on over many years between Osaka and Melbourne and finally with the help of friends finished in 2010. I sang in Japanese on two tracks which was fun. His style is very ambient and dreamlike, I love listening to it when I am weaving. It also has a beautifully illustrated cover and a poster inside which Cailan designed. You might be able to still get it here at Sensory Projects.

Yoshie will be assisting us as a  guest cook for the Feast on the 27th Of March. We are also thrilled to announce that we will be exhibiting a small collection of her Saori garments in our studio on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of March from 1:30-4:30 pm. She will be demonstrating some of her techniques during the Sunday session and exclusively for the guests on the night of the Feast. Please come and admire and enquire about this very special form of weaving at Pop Craft Studio, 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote 3070.

All photos courtesy of Heartland

Studio Pop-in with Carla Grbac

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     You originally studied Media Arts, what inspired your transition into Textile design?          Coming from a photographic arts background, I was interested in screen printing and actually did a short course with one of the lecturers in textile design, Roze Elizabeth at Olive Grove Studio on Sydney Road. She suggested Studio Textiles at RMIT, so I enrolled in a part time capacity and completed a subject here and there in the print studio. To be frank, I can’t remember why I decided to give weaving a go, but it intrigued me no end. It didn’t take much - after that first class, I was hooked. Perhaps it was also the very idea of the beginning of something that resonated with me, making fabric from thread. Of course, if I were to take that at it’s most literal, I would also be harvesting the yarn, spinning and dyeing it. But I decided long ago that there would be some processes best left to those who do them very well and there is beautiful yarn out there, you just have to know where to look. It helped that we had a brilliant teacher in Rachel Halton and some lovely classmates who fell as hard as what I did. Luckily, I came across all sorts of creative types who have now become dear friends. There were plenty of late night tunes in the weave studio in my final year, as we raced the setting sun over Brunswick to get our production pieces finished.      Tell us about your relationship with Gunta.  Gunta and I became firm friends after I purchased her from RMIT. The textiles course had upgraded to twenty four shaft AVL computer driven looms and she was taking up a little too much room in the weave studio. She is about the width of a queen bed you see, not nearly as deep but just about as tall as me. Gunta is an eight shaft countermarch Karelia loom from Finland, which all just means she is ideal for weaving linen – did I mention linen was one of my other passions? Being quite a utilitarian object and also quite beautiful, I thought the name was fitting. Her namesake is the revered master Bauhaus weaver, Gunta Stolzl. She has much to live up to! I’ve just moved into a new house and studio so Gunta unfortunately is still in storage. At the moment, I’m weaving on a sixteen shaft South Australian Noble table loom borrowed from a friend that I’ve quietly named Eileen, after Ms Gray, the Irish architect and furniture designer who was also an accomplished textile and rug designer.                                       How did you become obsessed with Kumihimo? Was it your love affair with Japanese yarn that led you to this particular technique?              Almost certainly! I have always loved the materiality of things. Whether it is fiber based photographic printing paper, the indentations made by acid etched copper plates on paper or a skein of linen yarn. I came to silk a little later, mostly because I was afraid of it, it was expensive and had its own set of parameters. Ridiculous I know, as linen can be so frustrating to work with. But that aside, the Japanese know how to make beautiful yarn and they are excellent at silk. In my uni day’s, I was using commercially made ropes and cords for my neckpieces but was ultimately unsatisfied with the end product, it wore badly and didn’t quite sit right alongside my woven pieces. As I didn’t have a background of working with metals to create findings and structural bars for my woven pieces, I looked into ways of creating my own cord using the types of yarns that I loved and kumihimo was it.                          You are also a star baker, what are the parallels between baking and weaving?        Thanks Pop Craft! I’m not so sure I fit the star baker bill, but food and baking are my other great passions. Baking requires precision, much like setting up the loom and weaving. And much like weaving, baking is enjoyed in the final stages. The weaving and eating is the easy bit.  It is the setting up of a loom that is the hard work; long warps can take a day to wind on and you may have five hundred ends to thread through heddles, sley, tie onto the front of the loom and then the pattern to set up on your peddles. This all before you throw one single strand of weft through your shed. Baking is much the same in its preparation; there is whisking, folding, baking and making sure you have all the right ingredients at temperature and then the technique. All this to be done before a morsel passes one’s lips.  With both disciplines, there is a certain amount of hoping it will be the best you’ve made so far - woven exactly as you wanted it or with baking, that it tastes great and has risen perfectly. Lots of practice and experience teach us that we can replicate those experiences fairly closely. With both disciplines, the thing that has me coming back each time is that moment of waiting - for something to cool down enough to cut into it or weaving the full length of the warp before cutting it off the loom. Without a doubt, I love that inherent in both is that they speak of something made by hand, not by machine.        All photos courtesy of  Heartland

You originally studied Media Arts, what inspired your transition into Textile design?        
Coming from a photographic arts background, I was interested in screen printing and actually did a short course with one of the lecturers in textile design, Roze Elizabeth at Olive Grove Studio on Sydney Road. She suggested Studio Textiles at RMIT, so I enrolled in a part time capacity and completed a subject here and there in the print studio. To be frank, I can’t remember why I decided to give weaving a go, but it intrigued me no end. It didn’t take much - after that first class, I was hooked. Perhaps it was also the very idea of the beginning of something that resonated with me, making fabric from thread. Of course, if I were to take that at it’s most literal, I would also be harvesting the yarn, spinning and dyeing it. But I decided long ago that there would be some processes best left to those who do them very well and there is beautiful yarn out there, you just have to know where to look. It helped that we had a brilliant teacher in Rachel Halton and some lovely classmates who fell as hard as what I did. Luckily, I came across all sorts of creative types who have now become dear friends. There were plenty of late night tunes in the weave studio in my final year, as we raced the setting sun over Brunswick to get our production pieces finished.   

Tell us about your relationship with Gunta.
Gunta and I became firm friends after I purchased her from RMIT. The textiles course had upgraded to twenty four shaft AVL computer driven looms and she was taking up a little too much room in the weave studio. She is about the width of a queen bed you see, not nearly as deep but just about as tall as me. Gunta is an eight shaft countermarch Karelia loom from Finland, which all just means she is ideal for weaving linen – did I mention linen was one of my other passions? Being quite a utilitarian object and also quite beautiful, I thought the name was fitting. Her namesake is the revered master Bauhaus weaver, Gunta Stolzl. She has much to live up to! I’ve just moved into a new house and studio so Gunta unfortunately is still in storage. At the moment, I’m weaving on a sixteen shaft South Australian Noble table loom borrowed from a friend that I’ve quietly named Eileen, after Ms Gray, the Irish architect and furniture designer who was also an accomplished textile and rug designer.                                    

How did you become obsessed with Kumihimo? Was it your love affair with Japanese yarn that led you to this particular technique?            
Almost certainly! I have always loved the materiality of things. Whether it is fiber based photographic printing paper, the indentations made by acid etched copper plates on paper or a skein of linen yarn. I came to silk a little later, mostly because I was afraid of it, it was expensive and had its own set of parameters. Ridiculous I know, as linen can be so frustrating to work with. But that aside, the Japanese know how to make beautiful yarn and they are excellent at silk.
In my uni day’s, I was using commercially made ropes and cords for my neckpieces but was ultimately unsatisfied with the end product, it wore badly and didn’t quite sit right alongside my woven pieces. As I didn’t have a background of working with metals to create findings and structural bars for my woven pieces, I looked into ways of creating my own cord using the types of yarns that I loved and kumihimo was it.                       

You are also a star baker, what are the parallels between baking and weaving?      
Thanks Pop Craft! I’m not so sure I fit the star baker bill, but food and baking are my other great passions. Baking requires precision, much like setting up the loom and weaving. And much like weaving, baking is enjoyed in the final stages. The weaving and eating is the easy bit.
 It is the setting up of a loom that is the hard work; long warps can take a day to wind on and you may have five hundred ends to thread through heddles, sley, tie onto the front of the loom and then the pattern to set up on your peddles. This all before you throw one single strand of weft through your shed. Baking is much the same in its preparation; there is whisking, folding, baking and making sure you have all the right ingredients at temperature and then the technique. All this to be done before a morsel passes one’s lips.
 With both disciplines, there is a certain amount of hoping it will be the best you’ve made so far - woven exactly as you wanted it or with baking, that it tastes great and has risen perfectly. Lots of practice and experience teach us that we can replicate those experiences fairly closely. With both disciplines, the thing that has me coming back each time is that moment of waiting - for something to cool down enough to cut into it or weaving the full length of the warp before cutting it off the loom. Without a doubt, I love that inherent in both is that they speak of something made by hand, not by machine.     

All photos courtesy of Heartland

pop craft studio - emerging jubilant and primed for action

Many moons ago, the Pop Craft Studio concept was just a reverie.
Finally, after 
a successful fundraising campaign supported by friends, family and fans; along with months of nail biting and planning,
Pop Craft Studio emerges jubilant and primed for action .


After consulting with an impressive list of textile all stars we are thrilled to announce the first 3 of our extended lineup of masterclasses.
These workshops have been designed to feed the passion and satisfy the thirst for knowledge of all textile nerds.
Each one has been thoughtfully formulated by artists, designers and craftspeople to ensure the survival of traditional textile practices and
at the same time inspire new forms of designs.

We hope that our masterclasses will give you the expertise and tools necessary to free your inner textile genius.
Also, we welcome any suggestions for future classes. 

With great respect and affection, we would like to thank Carla Grbac and Rosanna Ford for leading our inaugural classes.