Cotton Yarn Riddle

Q: What begins as a beanie and ends as a basket?

A: The crocheted vessel, made by Dianne, pictured above.

The softness of the high-grade cotton is a perfect match for the rolls of Japanese tissue corralled within. On the studio table, having this pair near to hand, makes book/spine reinforcement work an ongoing pleasure.

Thank you

A warm thank you to all who came to the Hackett Shops Party yesterday. Magic & Medicine ran a successful stall and we look forward to seeing you all again soon. Although our wares are available to enjoy via our online store, meeting other crusaders in person is what makes our efforts worthwhile.

Coming soon…

Magic&Medicine are holding a stall this Saturday, 26 October, as part of the ‘Party at the Shops’ event on Madigan Street, Hackett, ACT.

Come along and say hello. Our curious and wonderful wares will be for sale including the famous handmade sashiko-stitched Thinking Headbands and our full range of creative mints.

On silver thimbles and beautiful tools

Having the tools you need to do your work is a way of telling yourself that your work is important. We all know how to make do and get by. Making do can be a great well-spring for invention. Coming to your workspace each day, however, and handling your tools that support you and carry you along through the dark and the rough is a reminder that your art has worth.

Do you have a favourite tool at this moment? Appreciate all it does for you.

Have you been postponing your work for lack of a functional tool? Sharpen your scissors. Borrow a friend’s palette knives. Start a fresh notebook.

The photograph above is a bespoke silver thimble cast in honour of those who crusade with Magic & Medicine. Beautiful tools, like the thimble, are our invitation to pick up the needle.

Hot Ashes for Trees (Weaving Project v)

There are people out there who want to tell you that you are doing it wrong.

“That’s not how you do a French knot.”

“You shouldn’t angle your weft like that.”

“Seams are meant to be even and invisible.”

“The fibres ought to be properly fused.”

Do you have a response for the self-appointed textile police?

If not, practice one. You’ll need it. And don’t be afraid to invoke truth with a dash of aggressivity; it’ll make your work stronger.

Honest stories, bare struggles (Weaving Project iv)

What do you lose by making or watching a time-lapse film of a long-term, complicated work? While it can be an amusing gimmick to witness the making of a two-year work in under a minute, what is the cost to process, art, knowledge, truth?

Do we want to throw away our honest lived time for the sake of cuteness?

What about making a film of only your struggles with a work? All the stalls. All the unpicking, unravelling, undoing? All the false-starts that are behind every grand experiment?

What about a film of only you in flow, where there is no time? A film of your hands in motion with a small knit of your brow in the joyous discomfort of uncertainty?

Time-lapse films are a lie. Be certain they are a lie you want to tell about your work.

The Physics of the Spell (Weaving Project iii)

Weaving is an act of creating tension. It is a process of working with and furthering a pulling force. In textile work it is the opposite of compression. Felting is an example of textile compression.

Weaving by hand on a loom is the act of making tapestry. This is a process of creating and holding force. So long as a finished textile remains intact the weaver’s force will be forever ‘entrapped’ within the work.

To be near a tapestry, physically, is an opportunity to read the force between the threads giving the piece that sense of liveliness we crave in our hand-wrought works.


Enoughness (Weaving Project ii)

There is never ‘not enough’ wherein idea drinks from the well of a work’s process.

In this large tapestry (in-progress pictured) Dianne works with only five colours of cotton yarn.


Light grey.

Mid grey.

Dark grey.


This was both the artist’s chosen restriction and an externally forced constraint within the work.

Is the restriction to only five primary sources unworkable for a large scale design?


The colour choices are more than five, as you can clearly see from the in-progress photograph.

Using either the primary source tones at their current ply, or by combining threads of ply from differing colours, Dianne can generate an excess of tonal potential; more tones than needed for this large work.

Possible tones from mixing threads from five colours of a five ply yarn will yield a minimum of 125 tones.

–125 tonal possibilities from five balls of yarn–

A 125 tones is not everything. It is better than everything. It is enough.


Textile Sports (Weaving Project i)

There are multiple versions of the Greek myth of Arachne; a mortal woman bestowed with the gift of artful weaving.

In each version Arachne and the goddess Athena engage in a weave-off.

Competitive tapestry (weft-faced weaving on a loom) is not the national sport of anywhere. Perhaps its time has come?

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