This week we spoke to Kate Weedon-Jones, a much-loved tutor in our art courses program and long-term employee in the FOUND Shop. Kate’s been working in textiles for almost 40 years and has been involved with FAC since the early 1980s. Here she shares the story behind her textile practice and how she first discovered the technique of shibori.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice. How long have you been making work and what do you create?

My textile practice has spanned nearly 40 years now. Having grown up in a design-oriented family – my father was an architect and my mother an artist and textile enthusiast/weaver extraordinaire (my brother’s a doctor….we forgive him) – it was their influence in the world of art and design that fuelled my passion for fabric design from an early age. The mentorship, support and encouragement I received from my parents, pivotal senior arts educators, managers and colleagues is probably what shaped me, in my life and work.

I completed a BA in Design with a Textile Major in 1978 at WAIT (now Curtin University) and was invited to stay on in 1979 as a Graduate in Residence, which included some teaching roles, studio use and an exhibition.

The following eight years until 1986 were a full-on period of development in my work practice. I produced a wide range of textiles for exhibitions, fashion parades, retail sales and commissions. It was a great time in my life. It is true, the more you just get on with it and work hard the more opportunities come your way – it was that kind of snowball effect for me.

I also ran a specialist textile retail shop called Indigo 119 with my mother during the early to mid-80s, which stocked my work.

The main textile techniques I worked in then included dyeing, batik, weaving, screen-printing, applique and stitch. All the processes were hand done, and I still like the slow-fibre handmade approach today. It can be a meditative process.

I have had numerous part-time lecturing positions in textile design at tertiary institutions, workshops and tutoring in community programs, including the art classes at Fremantle Arts Centre, throughout my 40 year career and still enjoy the interaction and sharing of knowledge.

Kate Weedon-Jones' shibori wool scarves

Kate Weedon-Jones’ shibori wool scarves

You’re also part of the FAC team, tutoring textile classes and working at FOUND. How did you first get involved with FAC?

I officially started at Fremantle Arts Centre in my early 20s in 1982, under the Directorship of Ian Templeman. I was given a position called Senior Fellow in Printed Textiles. I continued on as the resident textile designer/printer in the textile studio until early 1986.

I had a solo exhibition in the main gallery of FAC at the end of 1983, which was a very memorable experience for me.

Through the end of the 80s until early 2000 I was committed to raising my family so my textile practice took a back seat, but I continued with some production and exhibition work and part-time teaching throughout my children’s school years.

It was then that I discovered the technique of shibori resist and was very fortunate to attend the World Shibori Symposium in Santiago, Chile in 1999. I have continued working in and teaching shibori and dyeing. I find this technique absolutely fascinating and I am particularly interested in exploring the use of combined textile techniques (e.g. shibori and dye and print) in my work.

What else are you working on at the moment? 

I currently work in the lovely Fremantle Arts Centre shop FOUND, having been here for nearly 12 years. I supply some of my textile shibori pieces to FOUND and I am also tutoring in FAC’s art courses program in shibori and a batik class as well. Lots of fun!

What’s up next?

For me… there’ll be more exploration of techniques to come in the next year and hopefully a website, maybe an online shop and an exhibition soon!!

My first grandchild is due very soon so maybe everything will change then!

Kate’s one-off shibori wool scarves are currently in store at FOUND. Open daily 9am–5pm