Paintings by Carolyn Hillyer

A circle of thirteen ancient weavers sit working around this loom. The loom cloths were created first, using a mix of self-woven pieces, vintage hand weaves and cloths gathered from travels and women’s circles. The voices of each particular aspect of wild land (mountains, rivers, forest) were anchored in the cloth and then gradually drawn into the painting of the weaver. Each painting took between two to four months to complete. The cycle includes the weavers of mountains, forest, rivers, islands, caverns, wild hills, oceans, desert, tundra, valleys, meadows, earth and sky. The Shaman Weavers were painted between 2011 and 2015. They have been exhibited twice as a large installation forming a shrine that represents the ancient house of weavers and the primordial world loom. Carolyn’s album THE WYCHED WOMBE includes songs connected to these shaman weavings. Click onto any print to view the full description.

We were sitting near the bottom of a great loom, shaped like a broad open bowl. Above us a ring of faces were working at the rim, old fingers reaching down to twist and tie the threads, quick hands moving back and forth around the warp, colours being braided, bound and trimmed. The women worked in silence, thirteen weavers at the loom, thirteen wizened sisters in this house of weavers. Many faces, many lines of blood, many lands, many cultures lost and living, many long forgotten bones. The fabric tumbled down between their hands as they bound the threads. And into the cloth they were weaving lives and stories, myths and memories, cruelties and kindnesses, all tied into the fabric that fell from the loom. Down in the centre of the bowl, the length of woven cloth fed through a hole, the warp and weft constantly dropping, carrying all the textures, all the patterns, all the colours of the world. The work of a thousand, thousand weavers, coiled deep down to the fragile faded weavings created by the very first to sit around this loom. We sat within the lap of this life weaving and watched the sisters at their work. We saw our own lives played out along their yarns… from SACRED HOUSE