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Peter Collingwood Woven:Unwoven

Peter Collingwood | Woven:Unwoven

Peter Collingwood Woven:Unwoven

Peter Collingwood | Woven:Unwoven 2 January – 30 June 2018 © Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Falkner Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7DS Exhibition Curator: Caroline Burvill Curatorial Support: Greta Bertram Graphic Design: David Hyde Photography: Caroline Burvill, Jasper Cresdee-Hyde, David Hyde Research Support: Shirley Dixon, Sarah Steele Technical Support: Peter Vacher, Nao Fukumoto, Loucia Manopoulou Administration: Margaret Madden, Ingrid Stocker

The Crafts Study Centre wishes to thank Signals Media for kindly granting permission to show excerpts from the film interview of Peter Collingwood by Linda Theophilus, made for Firstsite Gallery in Colchester in 1998, to accompany the touring retrospective exhibition ‘Peter Collingwood, Master Weaver’. Signals is an award-winning arts and education charity, and centre for creative digital learning.

Foreword by Simon Olding

page 3

Woven:Unwoven 5 The exhibits


Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 1

‘Macrogauze 86’ This linen 2-D Macrogauze with stainless steel rods securing top and bottom was made at Nayland in 1986 from bleached and natural linen. (Ref. No. 9) 2 Crafts Study Centre

Foreword The Crafts Study Centre applied successfully

exhibition ‘Woven:Unwoven’, and it is the

to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant

first time that the Centre has presented a

in its imaginative programme ‘Collecting

single-focused exhibition that draws these

Cultures’ in 2007. This grant of £180,000

interlocking elements together. In doing

enabled the Centre to enrich and develop

so, we can see new relationships between

its collections in both strategic and reactive

creative thinking and writing, between

ways. That is, we focused our attention on

Collingwood’s extraordinary and diverse

three named collections and archives in the

research collection of world textiles and his

fields of textiles, lettering and furniture; and

own practice, as well as the reaction to his

we were able to bid for individual objects

work in the public domain. The exhibition

or archive materials that came up for sale,

becomes a way of looking at a major textile

following our collecting policy.

artist in the round.

The Crafts Study Centre was delighted

The exhibition also fulfils the Crafts

to acquire a very substantial body of work

Study Centre’s intentions, expressed in

from the great woven textile artist Peter

the original application form, to ‘tell the

Collingwood, including his creative work

rich but sparsely-told story of modern

as well as samples, a very large body of

crafts’ through an exemplary display of

ethnographic textiles and a paper archive.

connective materials: writing, thinking

This collection forms the basis of the

and making.

Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 3

Anglefell c. 1960 –1962 This delicate translucent ‘Anglefell’ wall hanging in black, white and natural linen, was made in the early 1960s, and purchased from The V&A Museum’s joint exhibition of Collingwood and potter Hans Coper’s work in 1969. (Ref. No. 8)

4 Crafts Study Centre

Woven:Unwoven “Behind my magnifying goggles, looking

form, with great potential for modern

closely, I feel I have made journeys into the

craft makers, as well as being a proud

minds of these skilled, anonymous makers;

tradition in the Northern parts of the

journeys which have greatly increased my

Indian subcontinent. Others are quirky,

respect for them.”

belying the skill required to make them,


like the ingenious mouse trap from Mali In writing about his fascination with the

(Ref. No. 62). While a few pieces are very

woven pieces gathered from around the

old, Collingwood bought some direct from

world, which form the Peter Collingwood

the maker, while others were gifts to

Ethnographic Collection, master weaver

him from students, friends and admiring

Collingwood reveals much about his innate

fellow weavers, like the beautiful ‘garlic

curiosity and quest to know everything

basket’ (Ref. No. 15) which weaver Linda

about the techniques of weaving, as well

Hendrickson made herself.

as the keen sense of natural fellowship

Despite his passion for collecting all these

with other makers, that compelled him to

items, nowhere does one see Collingwood

collect them.

attempting to copy any of them – his own

Some items, like the camel girths and

work has a very clear signature of its own,

neck adornments from Rajasthan, are

whether in the richly hand-woven rugs

works of great beauty, but are also fine

and wall hangings of his earlier years as a

examples of the traditional ply-split

weaver, or in the pared-back graphic works

braiding technique, which Collingwood

of his mature career.

saw as an exciting and innovative craft

‘Woven:Unwoven’ brings together these two aspects of Collingwood’s life.

Collingwood, P., The Maker’s Hand, London: B.T.

He donated the Ethnographic Collection,

Batsford (1987), p7.

many of his own works, and his letters and


Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 5

6 Crafts Study Centre

paper archive, to the Crafts Study Centre in Farnham, and we are delighted to bring some of these to the Tanner Gallery for people to discover. Beyond the woven works themselves, Peter Collingwood wrote some of the most important text books on weaving published in the second half of the 20th Century. The books on technique are comprehensively thorough and still used in teaching. Collingwood describes to us the process of gathering and organizing material for the books, the discipline of revisiting and refining notes in a quest for perfect clarity for the reader, and how this benefited himself, the author, cementing the information clearly in his own mind too. Collingwood wrote four books, each one a clear, complete reference on a Red double corduroy rug

particular aspect of weaving. The first, in

Made in 1964, and referred to by Peter

1968, was Techniques of Rug Weaving,

Collingwood as ‘Scarlet Runner’, this rug, hand-

followed by books on Sprang (1974),

woven using the double-corduroy technique

Tablet Weaving (1982), and his last book,

from wool on linen pile, in a mix of reds,

Textile and Weaving Structures, later

bright pink and orange, and hand-fringed, was

published as The Maker’s Hand, was a

originally part of a commission for the Assistant

collection of reflections on his favourite

High Commissioner’s office at New Zealand

pieces in the Ethnographic Collection,

House, London.

many of which are shown in the exhibition

(Ref. No. 78)

‘Woven:Unwoven’. Look for the small red labels showing Collingwood’s own Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 7

8 Crafts Study Centre

reference notes to an item’s place in the book. Collingwood was a great experimenter, and the large number of woven samples in the archive are evidence of this. “You have to be ‘hands-on’ and trying things for yourself, looking at what others have done, and trying to understand how they did it”. In his view the craftsman is nothing without a sure understanding of technique, and he would happily ‘unpick’ something, in order to see how it was made: “I can remember looking at my Harris Tweed jacket and trying to envisage how many shafts its 50/50 twill needed. I decided 3! When I tried it out and saw it needed 4, I’m sure this bit of information was of a different quality from the information received from a book.”


It was in 1950 that the young Dr Peter

Above: Catalogue cover From the 1969 V&A exhibition ‘Collingwood

Collingwood decided to abandon his


medical career and dedicate himself

(Ref. No. 40)

instead to becoming a weaver. At a friend’s

Left: Flattened vase form by Hans Coper

suggestion, he wrote to dyer, spinner and

This stoneware vase was given to gallery owner

weaver Ethel Mairet, who invited him to

Muriel Rose by Coper in 1966 and featured in

join her workshop in Ditchling, East Sussex,

the 1969 V&A exhibition.

to see what he could learn. Collingwood

(Ref. No. 39) 2

Firstsite, Peter Collingwood - Master Weaver, Colchester: Minories Art Gallery (1998), p44. Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 9

Commission for BP Britannic House Collingwood was asked in 1982 to submit a proposal for a commission for a wall hanging for the entrance to the BP head offices in London. (Ref. No. 3)

10 Crafts Study Centre

described Mairet as the grandmother of

things I have around the house, objects I’ve

the weaving revival in this country, and

collected: textiles, baskets, wooden pieces,

he acknowledged later that he did learn

pottery. Their shapes, colours, and textures

a lot from her, although she was cuttingly

are constantly teaching my eyes lessons in

scathing about his artistic talent, and


probably dented the creative confidence


The time had come in 1952 to set up his

of this non-art school trained student. The

own workshop in London, and, from 1954,

time in Ditchling was followed by a few

to help pay the rent, this keenest of learners

months with another weaver, Barbara

started teaching weaving to others part

Sawyer, and Collingwood spent his time

time, finding that he could earn enough

there executing her designs for floor

from one day’s teaching at one of the art

coverings, gaining speed and experience.

schools to last the week, a great help while

He then joined Alastair Morton, a successful

he was trying to persuade the buyers of

and creative weaver based in Croftfoot,

Heal’s, Liberty and Primavera to buy his

Hawkshead, and connected to Morton

rugs – he was only able to balance two of

Sundour Fabrics, Carlisle. Collingwood was

them on any one trip from his workshop

delighted to meet a fellow male, who was

in Archway into town on the handlebars of

both dedicated to weaving, and to making

his bicycle. At this time, he taught variously

his workshop an economic success. Morton

at Hammersmith, Camberwell and Central

was important to Collingwood in another

art schools.

way too: his home, where Collingwood

In 1957 Collingwood was invited to

stayed, was full of beautiful modern craft

become a resident craft maker at Digswell

pieces – an inspiring feast for the eyes –

Arts Trust in Hertfordshire, where he,

which Collingwood would later recreate in

along with other craftsmen, like the potter

his own environment, with woven and craft

Hans Coper, was given a very low-cost

items that inspired him. He explains:

studio and accommodation. It was here that

“I feel the only thing that can help you in designing is your own eyes – and your


Patrick, J. and Irwin, B. ‘An Interview with Peter

eyes need to be educated in some way.

Collingwood’ in Handwoven, September/October

Mine, I hope, have been educated by the

1988, p49. Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 11

Macrogauze panel for British Embassy in Brussels (detail) and overleaf (Ref. No. 10)

12 Crafts Study Centre

he met his future wife Elizabeth Brunston,

if it is able to keep abreast of contemporary

and worked on several large commissions,

movements in the world of architecture and

wall hangings for BP and Shell, for

fashion, if it can capture the spirit of the

example. Collingwood’s final workshop and

age in its textiles.”

home was at Nayland in Suffolk, where he


Collingwood’s formal art education was

had the opportunity in 1964, thanks to a

almost non-existent by the time he started

loan from an anonymous benefactor, to buy

his apprenticeship with Ethel Mairet,

and convert an old schoolhouse.

who, while acknowledging his technical

Collingwood clearly enjoyed technical

abilities, told him crushingly that he was no

mastery over his weaving equipment, and,

good at design. He also described feeling

while he was happy to tailor his creative

baffled by fellow makers who chatted

output to what the loom would permit

away about the great ideas and theories of

him to do, he pushed the equipment to

the art world, but despite these ‘outsider’

its limits, indeed taking the loom apart

feelings, Collingwood was building his

and redesigning it so it could do what

own language of weaving, and refining a

he wanted it to. Collingwood focussed on

style of work to become a leading voice in

mastering the techniques of the craft of the

the textile arts. From the richly colourful

loom, the business model of the successful

double corduroy rugs of his early years,

workshop, and weaving at economic speed,

like the ‘Scarlet Runner’ on display in

with the future ‘repeat’ potential and

‘Woven:Unwoven’ (Ref. No. 78), we see the

marketability of a design ever in mind.

refining and maturing of Collingwood’s

Collingwood felt very strongly that the work of talented craft creators merited its

work towards a more monochrome style, with a lighter, more contemporary feel.

place alongside ‘fine’ artists and sculptors

Through the propitious accident of

of the time, and indeed it was important

creating the first ‘Anglefell’, Collingwood

for practitioners who made things by hand

found himself on a path towards this

to find their place in the contemporary art scene. As he wrote in the Journal of


Collingwood, P., ‘Moving with the Times’, in:

Weavers, Spinners and Dyers in 1953:

Journal of the Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and

“Hand weaving is artistically justified only

Dyers, September 1953. Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 13

new, pared-back aesthetic, and started

Shuttlecraft Guild in 1962. With books

manipulating the lines of warp and

and lecture tours to his name, the leading

weft in a new graphic way, embracing

museums of the world began to ask for his

the geometric simplicity of the resulting

expert view on some of their own pieces –

shapes. From the ‘Anglefells’, which used an

Collingwood’s superb technical knowledge

angled weft, instead of the usual one lying

meant he could accurately determine how a

perpendicular to the warp, he moved on

historical woven item had been made, and

to the next innovation, the ‘Macrogauzes’,

what equipment might have been used. The

which he made by moving segments of

curiosity of the young Peter Collingwood,

a number of warp threads (secured in

who had recounted the tale of pretending

movable rigid heddles), crossing them

to retie his shoelaces in a store, as a foil

over so that, instead of following parallel

for getting a closer look at a floor rug

vertical straight lines, the warp threads

whose weave intrigued him, had led him to

now crossed each other at different

become the go-to analyst on woven museum

angles, creating new graphic shapes, later

pieces in his mature years.

even three-dimensional ones. As a mature craftsman, Collingwood had

His last major public work was a macrogauze in stainless steel yarn, a

now found his artistic voice. Preferring

material which his friend Junichi Arai had

an ordered, graphic style, reminiscent of

introduced him to. It was hung for the first

pencil-drawn lines to anything messily

time in Kiryu Performing Arts Centre in

expressionist, he produced works of great

Japan in 1997.

beauty, which hid their considerable

Peter Collingwood was awarded the

technical cleverness within their quiet,

Gold Medal at the Munich International

contemplative physicality.

Handicrafts Exhibition in 1963, and the OBE

Gaining recognition as both expert and

in 1974. In 1989 he won the Annual Medal

teacher, Collingwood was invited to give

from the Worshipful Company of Weavers,

lectures and lead weave workshops in the

and in 1994, the Annual Medal from the

US regularly – an important part of his

Society of Designer Craftsmen.

income – with his first trip to Michigan at the invitation of Harriet Tidball of the Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 15

Woven cotton jar By Pallavi Varia, using ply-split braiding technique. (Ref. No. 73)

16 Crafts Study Centre

The exhibits Note: In 1987, Collingwood’s book The

numbering plans for making the tapestry

Maker’s Hand was published, in which

lengths, and a page of instructions for the

Collingwood gives us many insights into

final sewing-up.

the Ethnographic Collection, and this


exhibition includes many quotes from the book (Ref. No. 41). For simplicity, the

2. Commission for the Kuwait Embassy

source of these quotations featured in

in London, 1977

the exhibition will be: ‘Collingwood, in

Shown here is a letter dated 16th March

The Maker’s Hand, followed by the page

1977 from London architects Farmer and


Dark confirming the commission for four Macrogauzes to hang in the Kuwait Embassy

1. Commission for Liverpool University,

in London, and for a possible additional

Senate House, 1971

tapestry for the Ambassador’s office,

Coloured illustration, which Collingwood

although this eventually was confirmed

sent to The University of Liverpool as

as a fifth Macrogauze. Also shown are

part of his proposal for a tapestry wall

some of Collingwood’s rough sketches,

hanging to be displayed in Senate House,

measurements, calculations and pricing,

consisting of five panels, to be sewn

including linen thread samples.

together. Shown here also are sketches in


biro on squared paper, and a letter from the University of Liverpool dated 18th

3. Commission for BP Britannic House,

December, 1970, confirming a design fee


of £25, and that the final work should be

When asked to submit a proposal for this

based on the illustration they had received;

1982 commission for a wall hanging for

some of Collingwood’s own hand-written

the entrance to the BP head offices in Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 17

Camel neckpiece or ‘gorbandh’ In red cotton, decorated with buttons, mirrors and tufting. (Ref. No. 53)

18 Crafts Study Centre

London, Collingwood was at a loss as to

4. Retrospective Exhibition ‘Peter

how he would respond to this corporate

Collingwood Master Weaver’, 1998

brief. His young son, Jason, reminded

This important touring exhibition was a

him that BP petrol stations were themed

celebration of Peter Collingwood’s life in

in yellow and green, and so Collingwood

weaving, not just in this country, but also

proceeded to incorporate these two colours

overseas, where Colllingwood’s work was

into the warm red and pink base, using

very highly regarded. Organized by Firstsite

a folding technique to make the ‘back’

in Colchester, ‘Peter Collingwood Master

colour be shown at the front, creating this

Weaver’ premiered at the Minories Art

motif of triangles and diamond shapes.

Gallery in Colchester, and ran there from

The project was a successful collaboration

January 17th to March 14th 1998, before

between architects Fitch & Company

travelling to venues such as the Holburne

and Collingwood, facilitated by The

Museum and Crafts Study Centre in Bath,

Contemporary Art Society, based at the

the Textilmuseet, Boras, Sweden and the

Tate Gallery, now Tate Britain. Seen here

Textile Museum in Washington DC, USA,

are diagrams and sketches for the hanging,

in 1999. Collingwood was unfortunately

including a copy of the floor plan for the

not well enough to travel to Washington

building, which Collingwood was sent.

for the opening of the exhibition there, but

Collingwood used information from the

fellow weaver Linda Theophilus made a film

plan: how light might fall on the proposed

interview with him to show there instead

site for his woven piece, and from which

for Firstsite, extracts of which are shown as

viewpoint it would be seen by visitors – all

part of this exhibition.

of which would have made the most of each

Crafts Study Centre Library, COL/7/3/5

site, and reassured both client and architect that Collingwood would create something

5. International press recognition of

suitably spectacular.



Collingwood’s impact on weaving was truly global. There are a great many articles, press clippings and features in publications of all languages, some of which appeared in Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 19

Cotton-covered sprung seat from a US Jeep vehicle With tri-axial linking to secure the springs. (Ref. No. 16)

20 Crafts Study Centre

the specialist press, but national newspapers

tangible visual, like the large blue sample

and magazines, from the UK to the Far East,

(Ref. No. 108), which provided the basis

via the US, Netherlands and Scandinavia

for a large hanging for Selwyn College,

and Japan, also recognized the contribution


of Peter Collingwood to the Textile Arts throughout his life.

101. Group of four rug samples


Top left: Double 2-tie Unit Weave – combining areas of twill block weave

6. The Journal for Weavers, Spinners

threading, controlled by shaft switching

and Dyers, ‘Peter Collingwood Special


Edition’, Summer 2009


Crafts Study Centre Library

Top middle: Warp-face – wefts of

“Start with what the technique gives

2 thicknesses.

willingly and from those elements


construct your design…The design must

Top right: Crossed weft technique using

so incorporate the technique’s peculiarities

4 wefts.

that the one could not be imagined to exist


without the other.” Peter Collingwood,

Bottom: A long sample for teaching.

writing in The Journal for Weavers,


Spinners and Dyers, No.35, September 1960. 102. Group of three rug samples The Crafts Study Centre holds a number of

Top: 4-end Blockweave – goat and horse

woven samples which Collingwood made,


some he used for teaching, like the long red


and white sample shown here (Ref. No. 101),

Middle: 4-end Blockweave plus plain weave

where the small labels bear Collingwood’s

– goat and horse hair.

own explanatory notes. Others were made


to test the theories and warps in his book

Bottom: 4-end Blockweave – goat and horse

The Techniques of Rug Weaving (1968), and


others to provide prospective clients with a

PCSC.2011.9.74 Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 21

103. Large sample

sample. Warp: 6 ends per inch (‘epi’). Weft:

In blue and black: test swatch for Selwyn

ground in 2x2 ply carpet wool, pile in 6x2

College hanging.

ply carpet wool.



104. Group of four rug samples

106. Group of four rug samples

Top left: goat and horse hair, plain weave.

Top left: matting sample using a linen warp,


and plaited rush and seagrass weft.

Middle: large sample in goat and horse


hair, plain weave.

Bottom left: wedge weave sample using a


natural white weft and ‘belting’ warp, ‘rug

Bottom left: goat and horse hair, plain

sample with eccentric weft’.




These two rug samples demonstrate ‘shaft

Right: goat and horse hair, plain weave.

switching’ – a method whereby levers would


bring a second set of warps forward, and then back again, opening up new design

105. Group of three rug samples

possibilities, but without loss of weaving

Top: matting experiment. Warp: hemp

speed – considered by Collingwood to be a

8 ends per inch, bleached & natural,

critical consideration in a successful craft

threaded 12341432, repeat. 1: yellow sisal


put in with this end. Weft: yellow and black

Top right: shaft switching.

wool, and yellow sisal.



Bottom right: shaft switching.

Middle: matting sample. Warp: 8 single warp


ends per inch, threaded 1212,3434, 16 ends white, 16 ends natural. Weft: green and

107. Demonstration sample of ‘sprang ’

black wool, hemp and cotton cords.

With making sticks in situ.



Bottom: double corduroy colour rug 22 Crafts Study Centre

108. Braided pieces, from left to right

to waste weaving time in having to correct

Two samples of ply-split braiding in

mistakes, but always looking to experiment,

geometric designs.

he decided to see what would happen if he

PCSC.2011.9.219.1, PCSC.2011.9.219.2

repeated the process, on the other side, and

Ply-split braiding in wool on a metal stick.

continued with the new pattern. In this way,


the Anglefells came about. A new, light, graphic touch was seen in

8. Anglefell c. 1960 –1962

Collingwood’s artistic output at this time,

This delicate translucent ‘Anglefell’ wall

but the Anglefells were soon eclipsed by

hanging in black, white and natural linen,

the Macrogauzes, which, though they

was made in the early 1960s, and purchased

share a visual style with the Anglefells,

from The V&A Museum’s joint exhibition

used a completely different technique of

of Collingwood and potter Hans Coper’s

repositioning sections of warp threads held

work in 1969. This was a time which saw an

in rigid heddles.

important shift in the style of Collingwood’s

The Textiles Collection: University for the

work. He described in his interview with

Creative Arts at Farnham, vads ref 3483

Linda Theophilus in 1998, his passion as a young man for a rich juxtaposition of

9. ‘Macrogauze 86’

bright, warm colours in his woven rugs,

This linen 2-D Macrogauze with stainless

perhaps inspired by his travels to India

steel rods securing top and bottom was

and Indonesia, but then, over the years, his

made at Nayland in 1986 from bleached and

transition towards using muted colours,

natural linen. It was previously exhibited

closer to monochrome, and his emerging

in the 2004 Crafts Study Centre exhibition

preference for simple, understated graphic

in Farnham entitled ‘20th Century Crafts:


A Review of the First Crafts Study Centre

The first ‘Anglefell’ wall hanging came about from a chance oversight, when

Exhibition 1972’. 2002.12

Collingwood forgot to ‘beat down’ both sides of a piece he was weaving, leaving the weft threads skewed at an angle. Never pleased Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 23

10. Macrogauze panel for British

14. Woven Cherokee basket

Embassy in Brussels

Made from river cane, interlaced in a 3/3

This large 3-D Macrogauze woven in

twill structure.

linen uses a strong but subtle range of


colours from yellow/orange, brown/olive green to brown and red. Consisting of

15. Circular open-work basket with

three panels, each 85cm wide, it was one


of a pair commissioned by the British and

Described as a ‘garlic basket’ by maker

Commonwealth Office to hang in the British

Linda Hendrickson.

Embassy in Brussels in the 1990s.


2009.27.1-2 16. Cotton-covered sprung seat from a US 11. Bag from Mexico

Jeep vehicle

With a leather strap, made of undyed yarn

With tri-axial linking to secure the springs.

using a linking structure.



Of the Jeep seat, Collingwood writes: “For someone interested in structures,

12. Miniature basket of dyed pine

it is galling to discover that a probably


unrecorded one has been lying about in

Made by a woman of the Yurok tribe from

the workshop, unnoticed for twenty-five


years. But it was only when I was mending


its canvas cover that I found triaxial interlinking in my old Jeep seat.” Sensing

13. Hat band of horse hair braid with

the analytical mind of a fellow maker, he


continues: “I would like to know both who

From Arizona.

thought of this structure and how it was


assembled.” Collingwood, in The Maker’s Hand, p138.

24 Crafts Study Centre

17. Basket

22. Pair of men’s shoes with curled toes

With lid and carrying handle.

Purchased in Yugoslavia, made of woven


brown leather. PCEC.2009.22.168.1-2

18. Small Greek basket Made from vertical grass stems, using a

23. Bilum bag

weft twining technique.

From Papua New Guinea. Made using


double looping, sometimes called ‘figure of eight’ or ‘hour-glass’ looping.

19. Fishing floats


From Norway, with floats inserted. PCEC.2009.22.252/253

24. Small round lidded basket

Collingwood writes of these floats: “The

Of dark colour, from Lombok.

incidental beauty of an object designed


solely for use is especially pleasing, because the beholder discovers it for himself.”

25. Arch-shaped small brush

Collingwood, in The Maker’s Hand, p57.

From Tegaman in Bali, made from plant fibre and cane.

20. Floor brush


Made from vertical grass stems, with seed heads still attached, taken in pairs and

26. Sword belt

doubled over a long core made of twisted

From Sulawesi, beginning with a large,

grass, using a weft twining technique.

padded woven loop, and becoming a flat


tube with delicate patterning at one end, and ending in a long minutely braided, ikat-dyed

21. Tablet-woven belt


Purchased in Athens in the 1960s, with


Greek script and evangeli in colours of tan, natural, palest green, red, yellow and brown. PCEC.2009.22.126 Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 25

Bag From Burundi made of plant fibre, with decorative hanging threads and a long strap. (Ref. No. 60)

26 Crafts Study Centre

27. Japanese ‘peasant rain hat’

31. Small Japanese basket

Made from plant material, to cover head

Possibly a hatchet sheath, made of split

and face, with a viewing window, using a

wood in a 2/2 twill weave.

twining technique.


PCEC.2009.22.343 32. Woollen braided slingshot 28. A group of four strainers

With a pouch of interlacing from China,

Made of interlinked metal wire, purchased

a gift from Suzi Dunmore

by Collingwood in a kitchenware shop in


Japan: Strainer with a circular bowl.

33. Yemen sling


Woollen braided slingshot with a patterned

Strainer with a circular bowl using linking

loop at one end, and a tail of four cords

brass wire.

stitched together.



Strainer with a shovel shaped bowl. PCEC.2009.22.72

34. Woollen braided slingshot

Strainer with a deeply cupped bowl.

With a loop at one end and tapered braid at


the other. PCEC.2009.22.225

29. A group of four pot scourers Made of plant materials and tightly wrapped

35. Shawl

copper wire.

Produced by the people of the


Sankhuwasabha District of Eastern Nepal from very fine bleached yarn, from the

30. Thin double-sided woven belt

fibres of the Himalayan Giant Nettle or ‘Allo’

From Japan, obi tie, featuring plain and


striped sections.



Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 27

36. Yarn balls

37. Blouse front, or ‘mola’

One ball of very fine spun one-ply black goat

Made by the Kuna women from the Sanblas

hair, and another of fine spun one-ply white

Islands in Panama, using two or three layers

goat hair.

of hand-stitched appliqué. Collingwood


collected a number of embroidered items for

Collingwood experimented with materials

his Ethnographic Collection, admiring the

as diverse as raffia and leather throughout

close needlework, an integral visual feature

his life, and he was fascinated by the

of the finished piece.

different materials favoured by different


cultures around the world, for example the traditional use in Nepal of fibres from the

38. Tall vase by Hans Coper

nettle plant ‘Allo’ to create fine, soft weaves

This tall-neck stoneware vase by Hans Coper

such as can be found in this shawl.

with a wide, flattened rim has an unglazed

Collingwood’s favoured thread for his

brown/black manganese exterior, with rings

Anglefells and Macrogauzes was linen,

scored around the lower half of the pot body.

which gave him clean lines for the light,

It was bought from Coper’s studio in Albion

graphic forms he was creating. For rugs

Mews, London, and dates from the 1950s.

he liked the robust strength of goat hair,

Crafts Study Centre Collection, P.74.104

but was very happy, where appropriate, to use good, durable commercial carpet wool,

39. Flattened vase form by Hans Coper

to keep the price of the finished item at a

This stoneware vase by Hans Coper was

commercial level.

given to gallery owner Muriel Rose by Coper

For his last large public commission,

in 1966. It has a flattened oval ‘spade’ form on

in 1997, he would create a magnificent

a cylindrical stem, with a recessed foot. The

Macrogauze for the Kiryu Performing Arts

textured surface is a pinkish cream to grey

Centre in Japan from stainless steel yarn,

over manganese on the exterior, with incised

a sample of which had been sent to him by

lines on the back and around the stem, and

his Japanese friend and fellow weaving

concentric rings incised on the foot. The

expert, Junichi Arai.

interior features a darker manganese. Crafts Study Centre Collection, P.74.28

28 Crafts Study Centre

Peter Collingwood and fellow craftsman,

show, called ‘The Crafts of 1957’), and the

potter Hans Coper, were invited to exhibit

Museum acquired a number of works from

together at the Victoria & Albert Museum in

him, both rugs and ‘Macrogauzes’.

1969. The two men had been friends when

After visiting the 1969 exhibition, artist

they each had a studio at Digswell House,

and friend Ann Sutton, commented: “Is it a

Hertfordshire, a decade earlier, and we know

coincidence that neither Collingwood nor

that Collingwood was a great admirer of

Coper has had a conventional art school

Coper’s work. He describes in The Maker’s

training? They both learnt their craft after

Hand a universal state of mind of the craft

another professional education; medicine

maker, and cites the potter as one whose

and engineering respectively.”

work embodies: “an indefinable quality,

(From Peter Collingwood Master Weaver,

which I think of as inevitability; a quality

the Firstsite book accompanying the 1988

which I, as a maker, am always striving for,

retrospective exhibition of the same name,

and which I can detect in the work of others,

where Collingwood is interviewed by Linda

for instance in the pots of Hans Coper.”

Theophilus, p.24.)

Collingwood, in The Maker’s Hand, Introduction.

41. Book by Peter Collingwood Textile and Weaving Structures, published

40. Letters referring to the 1969 V&A

by B.T. Batsford, London, in 1987, and later

Exhibition ‘Collingwood Coper’

as The Maker’s Hand in 1988.

Catalogue of the exhibition ‘Collingwood

Crafts Study Centre Library

Coper’, which opened at the V&A on

This book, which Collingwood wrote

January 29th, 1969, before travelling to

about a selection of his favourite pieces

Southampton Art Gallery, City and Art

from his Ethnographic Collection, many of

Gallery, Birmingham and the City Art

which feature in this exhibition, describes

Gallery, Manchester.

the processes by which they were made, and


celebrates the great technical ingenuity of

Crafts Study Centre Library

skilled craftspeople everywhere.

Collingwood had been the first weaver to exhibit at the V&A in his lifetime (in a group Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 29

Top: Hat band of horse hair braid

Below: Mouse trap

From Arizona.

From Mali.

(Ref. No. 13)

(Ref. No. 62)

30 Crafts Study Centre

42. Woman’s belt

successfully selling through Primavera,

From Guatemala, with a decorative section in

Heal’s and Liberty in London, as well as

multicoloured silk, using a tapestry technique.

working on commissions for Shell, B.P.


and others. He claimed that gathering and organizing the material for the books helped

43. Four combs

him in his own work, and through the

Made from split bamboo, probably from India:

discipline of revisiting and organizing notes,

Two sided comb of split bamboo and figure-

and creating meticulous diagrams and

of-eight binding.

illustrations, he gained greater clarity in his


own mind. “It took a whole year to write

Comb of split bamboo with two cross bars

the rug book, I devoted mornings to the

and woven pattern.

book, and wove in the afternoons… I began


putting it together, and found huge gaps in

Two sided comb with very fine teeth of

my knowledge. So I wove lots of samples,

bamboo, nettle fibre and cotton.

that are used in photographs in the book,


often of things I would never use, in ways

Curved comb of wood with handle, figure-of-

that I thought hadn’t been done before,

eight binding.

applying cloth structure to rugs.”


(Peter Collingwood, interviewed by Linda Theophilus, for the retrospective exhibition

44. The first book by Peter Collingwood

‘Peter Collingwood Master Weaver’ in 1998.)

The Techniques of Rug Weaving, published by Faber & Faber in 1968, with pages from

45. Peter Collingwood’s book

the hand-written draft, Collingwood’s

The Techniques of Sprang, published in

sketched explanatory illustrations, and a

1974 by Faber & Faber, London, as well

letter from the publishers Faber & Faber.

as Collingwood’s sketch of his own hands

Crafts Study Centre Library

holding threads for an illustration for the


book, other explanatory diagrams and hand-

Collingwood had by the mid 1960s established his name as a weaver of rugs,

written draft pages. Crafts Study Centre Library, COL/12/2/2 Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 31

46. Five samples of ‘sprang’ in different

48. Cotton belt


From Guatemala, finely woven in

Vertical stripes of ‘S&Z’ twist – interlinking

multicoloured cotton, with geometric and

‘sprang’ in raffia.

figurative designs, and fringing at both ends.



Sample of double intertwined ‘sprang’. PSC.2011.9.195.15

49. Wide belt

‘Sprang’ in black and white commercial wool.

From Bolivia, made in double cloth plain


weave dyed cotton, using warp-faced

Two halves of double interlinked ‘sprang’ in


olive green and beige cotton.


PSC.2011.9.195.16 Sample of ‘sprang’ in cream coloured

50. Multicoloured belt

commercial wool.

Of geometric design, with a blue and white


check border, made using a warp-face pick-

‘Sprang’ is a centuries-old technique for creating ‘springy’ weaves, by using

up, in doublecloth plain weave. PCEC.2009.22.51

tensioned threads, with one sample, probably the world’s oldest, discovered in

51. Multicoloured belt

a bog in Denmark, dating from 1400 BC.

With repeating floral motifs, and added

The ‘stretchy’ quality of ‘sprang’ weaves

braid ends, made using a warp-face pick-up,

means that they can be made into three-

double cloth plain weave.

dimensional pieces, like the brightly


coloured raffia sample shown here. 52. Narrow belt 47. ‘Mechita’ bag

From Bolivia in three colours, with sections

From Columbia, made from flat warp

of finely woven motifs, with added two

interlaced sprang, on a portable frame, from

colour ties, made using a warp-face pick-up,

singles agave fibre yarn.

double cloth plain weave.



32 Crafts Study Centre

53. Camel neckpiece or ‘gorbandh’

58. A pair of men’s shoes of Eastern style

In red cotton, decorated with buttons,

Made from dyed red leather with cotton

mirrors and tufting. The ends feature bound

chain stitch and metallic thread embroidery.

sections, finished with bunches of red


bobbles. PCEC.2009.22.693

59. Indian tools Used in ply-split braiding techniques, from

54. Camel neckpiece or ‘gorbandh’

left to right:

Decorated with tufts and shells, with braided

Large-holed ply-splitting needle, or ‘khali’,

ends finished with egg-shaped bobbles.

featuring a carved design with plastic yarn


decoration. PCEC.2009.22.563

55. Shoe with curved toe

Simple large-holed ply-splitting wooden

Made of twisted hemp and stiff grass

needle, or ‘gunthani’.

bundles, using both wrapping and


interlacing techniques.

Wooden needle used in the making of a


camel ‘tang’. PCEC.2009.22.575

56. Goat hair bag

Needle made from horn used in the making

In black, brown and natural, with a chevron

of a camel ‘tang’.

design, and black handle, from the Kutch


region of India.

Hooked ply-splitting wooden needle, or


‘gunthani’. PCEC.2009.22.562

57. Camel girth

A tang is the strap tied to one side of the

In brown and natural goat’s hair, with

camel’s wooden saddle, which passes around

geometric and figurative design motifs,

the animal’s neck, and then tail, to be tied to

cotton tufting, and ending in over-twisted

the saddle again on the other side.

bobbles. PCEC.2009.22.466 Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 33

60. Bag

66. Bag

From Burundi made of plant fibre, with

From Uganda, with integral handle, made

decorative hanging threads and a long strap.

from thick yarn in three colours, using a


loose, looped construction. PCEC.2009.22.27.1-3

61. ‘Irukere’ or Nigerian chief’s fly whisk ‘Superbly made’ from horse hair, loose and

67. Winnowing basket

springy when unworked, but strong and

From Ethiopia, whose complicated structure

firm when tightly woven to make a handle.

is made from a tube of canes, held fast


by spiralling rows of twined, interlacing elements.

62. Mouse trap


From Mali, made from split cane, using 2/2 diagonal interlacing.

68. Bag


From Uganda, with a long strap in three colours, using a dense weft-twined structure.

63. Fan-shaped African comb


Of bamboo, wrapped with cord. PCEC.2009.22.340

69. Camel girth In brown and white, with a belt featuring

64. African fish trap

leather reinforcement, geometric designs,

Made of split bamboo.

and braided bobbled ends.



65. Tuareg hat

70. Wide camel ‘lhoum’

In leather and plant fibre. It features densely

With a zigzag stripe design, made from

packed rows of twining, with decorative

rarely seen dyed goat hair, with braided


ends ending in multiple red and orange


bobbles. PCEC.2009.22.670

34 Crafts Study Centre

71. Pair of camel girths

also excited to see how a growing number

With red base, and black geometric and

of weavers, particularly in America and

figurative design.

India, were using ply-split braiding to create


sculptural forms. Woven round jar

72. Long camel tang

In natural cotton using ply-split braiding

Described by Collingwood as ‘very splendid’,

technique, made by contemporary Indian

with two buckles, tassels and geometric

maker, Pallavi Varia.

‘SLOT’ and ‘POT’ 2/2 patterning.



‘Silent Bell’ in blue and green yarns, made by Ann

73. Book

Sutton, and given to Collingwood on the

The Techniques of Ply-Split Braiding by

occasion of ‘Spliterati-01’.

Peter Collingwood, published by Bellew


Publishing Co Ltd in 1998. Also shown here are pamphlets and publicity material from

74. Camel tang

‘Spliterati-01’, a gathering of weavers in

From Rajasthan in brown and natural with

Bampton in 2001 to promote this evolving

iron buckle, stripe zigzag design, braided

craft. Collingwood himself gave a series of

ends with yellow bound tufts, woven by

talks called ‘Expanding Girths’ to add his

traditional maker Aatam Ram using the ply-

voice to what the group decided to call a

split braiding technique.

‘celebration’ of ply-split braiding.


Crafts Study Centre Library, COL/13/2 Collingwood was enthused by this method

75. Book

of creating woven pieces by passing one

The Techniques of Tablet Weaving by Peter

set of threads through the separated plies

Collingwood, published by Faber & Faber,

of another. He collected a great number of

London, 1982.

traditional Indian camel girths made using

Crafts Study Centre Library

this technique, which produced bands of great beauty as well as strength, but he was Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 35

Group of four rug samples (Ref. No. 101)

36 Crafts Study Centre

76. Long multi-coloured tablet woven band From Anatolia, Turkey, the double-faced

where the transitions are – true mastery. “The central pattern is only twelve tablets

design having a black and white central motif.

wide, but every one of the ten, double-faced


weave designs uses all the tablets and uses

Tablet weaving is a technique by which

them very skilfully... Many features in the

belts, bands and straps can be made creating

design result from the weaver’s obvious

rich patterns, using flat cards or ‘tablets’, with

understanding of the rules involved.”

holes in the corners through which the warp

Collingwood, in The Maker’s Hand p92.

threads pass. As the tablets are turned, the opening in the warp, through which the weft

77. Original hand-written draft text and

threads are to run, and known as the ‘shed’,


changes, bringing a different colour or set of

By Peter Collingwood for the book The

threads to the fore. To demonstrate their skill,

Techniques of Tablet Weaving and

traditional weavers, such as the Anatolian

diagrams on squared paper.

who created this long narrow strap, would


see just how many complex pattern sets they could seamlessly sequence in one piece. This band, as well as beautiful, was surely

78. Red double corduroy rug Made in 1964, and referred to by Peter

very strong, designed perhaps to strap

Collingwood as ‘Scarlet Runner’, this rug,

packs to a mule – but it conveys a special

hand-woven using the double-corduroy

message from its maker to a fellow weaver

technique from wool on linen pile, in a mix

such as Collingwood, in a coded language of

of reds, bright pink and orange, and hand-

threads, using complex formulae of turning

fringed, was originally part of a commission

tablets, adroitly calculated to give these

for the Assistant High Commissioner’s office

beautifully balanced motifs. Collingwood

at New Zealand House, London. The rug

was enchanted by this particular weaver’s

or runner was originally woven as one of

ability to transition the pattern flow from

ten which would be sewn together to make

one pattern to the next in sequence. So

the complete carpet, but it was found to be

smoothly is this achieved that one has to

two inches short, so another strip had to be

examine the band very closely just to see

woven. The commissioned carpet was the Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 37


‘Irukere’ or chief’s fly whisk

Bought in a kitchenware shop in Japan.

From Nigeria.

(Ref. No. 81)

(Ref. No. 80)

38 Crafts Study Centre

largest Collingwood made in the double-

Desk cabinet:

corduroy technique, and featured in his

Collingwood’s notebook from his medical

retrospective exhibition ‘Peter Collingwood

school studies.

Master Weaver’.


Collingwood gave this spare piece to his friend and fellow weaver, Ann Sutton


in 1964, swapping it for a piece of her own

Books by Ethel Mairet. Crafts Study Centre Library

work. It was never used by Ann Sutton as

Illustrated proposals for a commission for

a floor rug but covered a long seat, and

the Kuwait Embassy in London, 1977 (see

when it was sold at auction by Dreweatts

no. 2).

(Newbury) in 2009, it was purchased by the


Crafts Study Centre. 2009.21 79. ‘Gorbandh’ or camel neck decoration From India. PCEC.2009.22.693

Notes and correspondence with museums about techniques by which some of their pieces were made, with diagrams and illustrations. COL/11/1 Brush with seed heads, origin unknown.

80. A ‘superbly made’ Nigerian ‘Irukere’ or chief’s fly whisk PCEC.2009.22.66

PCEC.2009.22.322 Small brush of bamboo strands. PCEC.2009.22.179

81. Sieve

Tightly woven small lidded basket made of

Bought in a kitchenware shop in Japan.




82. Hat

For reference numbers 101 to 108 for wall-

From China in interlaced split bamboo

mounted woven samples, please go to


pages 21 to 23.

PCEC.2009.22.349 Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven 39

Woman’s belt From Guatemala. (Ref. No. 42)

40 Crafts Study Centre

Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven  

Catalogue to accompany the exhibition 'Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven' held at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, Surrey, January to Jul...

Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven  

Catalogue to accompany the exhibition 'Peter Collingwood | Woven : Unwoven' held at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, Surrey, January to Jul...