Jennie’s creative life changed in 1985 when she learned to use a marudai. Today her relationship with the most sophisticated type of Japanese braiding equipment, the takadai, and now the three level ‘Tri Takadai’ is deeply rooted, total and passionate. Having spent some years learning the essential traditional techniques, she now feels able to experiment, explores and develops the vast potential of these most versatile tools.
The freedom for hands to pass through the fanned out warp threads choosing a path for the end bobbin thread to change from warp to weft, to decide its destination on the same level or to a different level, and to beat with a highly person touch of the sword/hera/tou leads to highly personal work. Her choice of yarns is unique for Kumihimo. She uses Japanese paper, monofilament, silk, linen, lycra, shrinking silks, silk and stainless steel, and even dissolving threads that create spaces. The experience gained through a vast amount of time spent sampling and experimenting with different combinations of yarns has lead to pioneering innovative work which has gained much international respect.
Structures of plain weave and twill in braid behave differently from those in loom weaving. The addition of leno techniques opens the structures to give a lacey appearance. Once off the takadai, she delights in manipulating these braids.
One braid is not enough to express her emotional responses to natural rhythms, shadows and patterns, so each piece consists of several braids, sometimes just repeating, sometimes mirroring the order of the bobbins.
She continues to strive for a simplicity of form, to seek the essence of rhythm and inner oneness that she values and respects in Japanese craftsmanship.
In 2012 she was awarded a Bursary from the Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers for the purchase of a three level Takadai made to her own specification.