Retired maths trainer and gradual trend fan embraces Damask weaving to maintain age-old craft alive


Inside her mudbrick residence, Paula Fulton sits at considered one of just a few drawlooms that exist within the nation.

The 67-year-old helps to maintain the age-old craft of Damask weaving alive.

“There is perhaps 5 drawlooms in Australia,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

It took her greater than two days to assemble the 56-shaft loom, which fills a complete room in her Mooral Creek residence, west of Wingham, on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.

Looms usually have 4 to eight shafts.

Paula makes use of a warp mill to spool a 12 months’s value of thread for her loom.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)

“It is complicated weaving and it is my ardour … I do not use artificial material in any respect, I solely use pure fibres,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

“A few of my clothes have been made by hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn.”

“Some persons are into gradual cooking, I am slow-wearing.”

Gradual trend refers to a mind-set about how we purchase, put on and care for garments. Clothes are ethically made and disposed of in an environmentally sustainable manner.

“We have a society the place there’s a whole lot of waste,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

When the previous maths trainer moved to her distant property she discovered a artistic area the place she may weave her magic.

A couple in their 60s walking along a bush driveway the man has a stick to assist walking.
Paula and her husband at their Mooral Creek residence, west of Taree.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)

“I used to be searching for my paradise,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

And she or he and her husband discovered it.

“[It has a] pecan grove, a mudbrick home, [and a] pristine creek working by my place,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

“[We’ve got] bees and goats and geese and chooks and geese and canines.”

She has at all times been captivated with being artistic with all types of textiles.

“I’ve had a needle in my hand since I used to be 4 years previous,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

“It is a combination of Zen; meditative, psychological gymnastics and creative endeavour.”

Studying the craft

Damask weaving
Ma Fulton says that intricate patterns are the idea of damask weaving.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)

Ms Fulton believes weaving requires a ability set that entails engineering, maths, artistry and endurance.

“When you could have a maths mind, you could have a weaving mind,” she mentioned.

Ms Fulton realized the intricate weaving approach on the Wingham Wool Shed from former NASA physicist Marjorie Rees who would now be in her mid-90s.

“She learnt to fly earlier than she learnt to drive,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

Ms Rees was taught the craft by her grandfather.

“She impressed me to make use of my mind — not a pc to create patterns,” Ms Fulton mentioned.

hand drawn pattern on grid paper colouring in squares to form a flower
A hand-drawn pixel sample that Paula created to information her damask weaving.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)

A gradual, methodical course of

It takes Ms Fulton three months to spool a 12 months’s value of yarn. Twenty metres of warp produces 19 metres of material.

“Every of those threads is wound onto the mill and I’ve to do 1,500 of those turns, from one finish to the opposite,” she mentioned.

Ms Fulton can produce about 5 centimetres a day of the finer weave or 15cm of material a day in a coarser weave.

For the remaining 9 months of the 12 months, Ms Fulton weaves for about 45 minutes a day — all she’s in a position to handle with points with each shoulders.

To make a garment, can take Ms Fulton two to a few months, however she says the artwork kind has an additional advantage.

“It retains your mind alive,” she mentioned.

Handmade clothes
Ms Fulton wears a woven vest that she made by weaving with a natural-fibre yarn.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)

Sustainable way of life

One other two looms are arrange in Ms Fulton’s exterior studio the place she makes tea towels, family rugs and wall hangings.

“I like to make handwoven, home-constructed clothes and family textiles. [They are] made with love for my household and mates as presents which might be each trendy and sustainable,” she mentioned.

“[These are] previous second-hand yarns, that I’ve put collectively to create one thing helpful.

“I give hand-knitted socks as presents to my household. I’d aspire to solely put on hand-woven handmade clothes.”

Ms Fulton fears that “previous abilities” like loom weaving are “dying out”.

“I believe it is actually vital for conventional feminine artwork varieties to be maintained and handed on,” she mentioned.

A couple in their 60s feeding goats some hay beside a shed in a bush paddock.
Ms Fulton’s dream residence permits her to accommodate goats, bees, chooks, geese, and canines.(ABC Mid North Coast: Wiriya Sati)


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