Linda Moss: Handweaver
Work in progress
Linda and eweI’ve been weaving for more than 60 years! As a young schoolchild I was taught to make a simple scarf, and immediately wanted my own loom. This was a small, basic loom that produced plain weave. However, it was only since retirement from a career in arts management and university teaching in the arts that I was able to develop my technique more seriously.
My weaving now covers the full spectrum from plain weave in handspun wools on a portable rigid heddle loom, to complex patterns in fine silks on a floor-standing 8-shaft loom. I enjoy working in a medium that combines mathematical precision and technical excellence with aesthetic choice. Having rare breed primitive sheep living in our field, and hand-made yarns from their fleece is a further incentive for weaving. Now it’s the weaving that dictates the colour, texture and handle of these hand-made yarns.
Peak District Inspiration
Living on a hillside smallholding, I am surrounded by moorland landscape where colours and textures constantly change with the seasons and the weather. In winter snow and mists, it can be almost monochrome, subtle and subdued. In late summer, the brilliance of flowering heather and thick bracken erupts among dark rocks and blue skies. I try to reflect these colour palettes and textural contrasts in my yarn, colour and pattern choices.
Peak District Materials
Not only does the local landscape influence my colours and texture choices, it provides them. The Shetland and Icelandic sheep in our field provide most of my wool, often in their natural colours which vary from warm white, through greys and honey shades to natural black (a deep bitter-chocolate brown). We also have a dye garden, which produces many ancient and native plants for dyeing the wool in subtle colours not achievable with chemical dyes.
The place where we live is high and beautiful in a rugged way: a rushing stream below our cottage and wild hills all round. We grow dye plants and sturdy vegetables behind a sheltering hedge. Our sheep are small and hardy and, at birth, their lambs are the size of cats. It snows here every winter, but you can see the stars on clear nights.