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Nola Spence

Nola is a master weaver, whose beautiful work is featured in our Lyrebird Gallery.

She started spinning and weaving as a hobby 30 years ago, and in 2003 she gained a Certificate of Weaving in Melbourne and then went on to university to complete the Diploma of Textile Design and Production. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and has done ceramics, gold and silversmithing, all of which have contributed to her textile work. Teaching is very important to her whether it be weaving or any craft, and she has been doing this for the past 10 years.

Nola totally creates her textile pieces - she spins and dyes the yarn, and then weaves the fabric, and often then sews the fabric into garments. Alpaca, wool and silk are her preferred yarns to work with. Knitting and crochet have always been a part of her life from a very early age, and every day she manages to do one of these. Fabrics for apparel are her favourite things to weave, and then make up into garments or accessories such as bags and scarves. She also sometimes creates textile sculptures such as the Chposticks wall hanging.

Nola's inspiration comes from the world around her, particularly flowers, tree bark, roots, landscapes and food. Colour and design are what she focuses on.

In 2012 she travelled to Bali to learn backstrap weaving with the Balinese weavers. This was a wonderful experience and a new learning experience, sitting on the floor, legs straight in front with a loom strapped around her back. This was for her a totally new way of weaving with the most primitive implements - pieces of wood from the jungle, bones from birds or bats fashioned into tools, and stones in bamboo for weight in the beater. The yarn was sewing machine cotton and hand spun cotton which was hand dyed in traditional colours and patterns, which could not be seen until it was woven.

Japan was on the agenda in 2013, so off she went to learn Saori weaving. This was another new experience where the simplest looms are used and the designs and colours are totally by the weaver. Nola was used to using multi-shaft looms ranging from 4-shaft to 24-shaft computer-aided looms where you create multiple patterns and weave complex fabric. The Saori way is letting your imagination and creativity come through into your weaving, something anyone can do. You just have to think simply, forget everything you have ever been taught about weaving because there are NO mistakes in Saori. This has been a revelation for Nola as she just loves colour and texture and each piece in unique. They cannot be repeated.

Nola is an accredited teacher of the Saori method of weaving and intend to return next year to the university to further her Japanese Ikat weaving. At present she is producing Japanese inspired garments and accessories which are available from our Lyrebird Gallery in the Beaudesert Information Centre.