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Weaving and drafting the water

This week we have a reflection from another one of our participants, Cally Booker, where she writes:

The element of the landscape that speaks to me most strongly is water. River, loch, sea, duckpond, puddle… I am drawn to water as reliably as a midgie!


In our first workshop in Newtonmore I ventured down to the Spey to try recording some sounds there. However, while the calm voice of the smooth-flowing river was delightful to experience, it didn’t generate very interesting visualisations.

Walking from Pittenweem to Anstruther

In my own excursions into the hills and along the coast, I found that I needed to capture the moments when water meets an obstacle in order to start seeing patterns I could work with. A burn trickling over rocks; a wave lapping the shore; raindrops falling onto a shed roof: these all create sounds and images which are rich with design potential.

When experimenting with this material I have used weave drafting techniques that are a staple of my practice. Network drafting is a process in which the designer takes a ‘pattern line’ and maps it onto a basic weave structure, such as a twill. By printing out a spectrogram and tracing over it, I was able to isolate some suitable pattern lines in the sound of a single wave recorded on the beach at Pittenweem.

Having drafted two distinct pattern lines, I was then able to interleave them to create a more complex weave. As one line is longer than the other, they don’t align neatly across the design. Instead, the two patterns become gradually more and more offset from each other. When this is expressed in the woven cloth, it is seen as shifting colour interactions throughout the fabric.

In the small samples I have woven so far, there is only a glimpse of this aspect of the design. Over the summer I will be exploring different ways of scaling up to a much larger piece of cloth.

See more of Cally's work at or her Instagram

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