Madeleine Jude

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Place Category: Makers and textilesPlace Tags: blankets, throws, and wool

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  • As a textile designer and handweaver I am best known for my beautifully soft lambswool throws, cushions and home textiles which are woven using complex block weave drafting techniques.

    My designs are strongly influenced by Scandinavian weaving traditions, and my colour aesthetic has much in common with the beautiful and naturalistic colour palette of early 20th century Swedish women rug weavers such as Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom and Ingegerd Silow .

    Each of my collections is a celebration of my love of colour and pattern and an opportunity to explore new weave structures and design elements. Every piece is meticulously handwoven, hand fringed or blanket stitched and hand finished by me in my Surrey / London studio, and as a result every piece is unique.

    My love of everything to do with textiles can be attributed to my mother’s side of our family. Here you will find Lancashire cotton mill managers, spinners, weavers, milliners and tailors during the 19th and early 20th centuries, silk weavers in pre-industrial Manchester, and yeoman sheep farmers and weavers before that.

    The history of weaving fascinates me. It goes back thousands of years and in terms of traditional patterns and weaves is enormously diverse. Scandinavia has an particulary rich heritage of weave structures, patterns and techniques partly due to its formidable trading links with all parts of the globe established during the Viking Age.

    But it also has an enormous resonance with me in terms of its strong symmetry and blocks of bold geometric shapes, and the earthy colour palette found in many Scandinavian textiles.

    My colour preferences are so old and completely unchanged with time. I can trace them back to a box of Caran D’Ache oil pastels I was given as a small child. My favourites then are just the same today – the various ochres, umbers and siennas, burnt and raw, a certain deep malachite green, the muddier spruce and olive green, and the vibrant indigo, gentian and Prussian blue.

    I weave my throws and cushions on a 32 shaft Louet Megado computer dobby loom and I design my textiles using specialist weaving software.

    I still use all the traditional knowledge and skills of the handweaver – and both my hands and both my feet are put to work. My hands throw the shuttle, beat the cloth and wind on the warp whilst my feet press down the treadle to change the shed (lifting or lowering the threaded heddles on the shafts to create the pattern).

    The yarn I use for my throws is spun from first-clip lambswool sourced from two British spinning companies – one in Scotland and one in England. The wool comes mostly from Australia and New Zealand, following a centuries old practise of British spinning mills. It is top grade supersoft lambswool spun in fabulously subtle and heathery blends of colours. I love the colours because they really appeal to my own aesthetic – soft and natural colours that are gentle on the eye.

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