Hailing from the fabulously crafty Saltaire, the mecca for northern artists, Chrissie Freeth will be joining us at the next Reetsweet on April 6th at Leeds Corn Exchange...
'I first learned to weave twenty years ago on a replica Viking warp-weighted loom built by a friend. Although my career as an archaeologist tended to focus on other areas I continued to create and study textiles and yarn and enjoyed the informal mentoring of two friends and renowned textile conservators, Sonia O’Connor and Rob Janaway.
Living in Saltaire it was impossible not to be
inspired by its history, vibrancy and creativity and last year I began
making and exhibiting hooked and prodded rag rugs, traditional mats that
would have once adorned every house in the village in one room or
another. I was used to exploring what interested me through the written
word but began to see other possibilities and was eventually able to
realise a dream when an old four shaft counterbalance floorloom came my
I live in a small cottage and it took some doing to
find somewhere for him to live, but from the get-go we were a team, his
dents, nicks and scratches guiding me through what needed to go where
and how. He provides the means for me to explore my creative side and
his technical and practical tantrums I have grown to love. He has also
given me that link to the past which as an archaeologist I have always
craved and when I sit before him I know I am making the same moves and
decisions others have made for centuries before me, and on equipment
that would have been little different to that they used.
In recent years there has been a growing interest
in protecting heritage skills, skills which once have been commonplace
but are now on the verge of being forgotten. Whilst modern day
practitioners help to prevent their loss, unless they are shared there
is little point in their preservation and for that reason I am always
happy to teach, demonstrate and talk about spinning, weaving and my
work.I am a friend of the Heritage Crafts Association, a
member of the Guild of Long Draw Spinners and part of a Yorkshire based
group of energetic designer/makers called Craft Soup.'