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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Jane Huws

Jane Huws's studio at Yorkshire Artspace's Exchange Place was a gift to our photographer Gemma. Colourful cones of wool hang from the walls, alongside bags and scarves woven by Jane, and dominating it all is a magnificent 6-foot rigid heddle loom. We were lucky enough to watch Jane in action, setting up the loom and beginning to weave her latest creation.

It's incredible to watch hand weaving in progress, and we urge you to make Jane a stop on your next Open Studios tour. Jane dyes her own yarn, choosing shades inspired by the colours around her, be it from nature or Park Hill flats, which gives her work a unique charm.

If you fancy giving the loom a whirl, Jane offers classes for all abilities: anyone aged six years and up can use the peg loom to create a woven seat cover or wall hanging or, if you want to get serious, Jane holds small classes at her studio where you can take to the loom and make your own scarf. What a treat.

How would you describe your work?
I’m a weaver who specialises in working with wool and linen. I dye most of my own yarn and weave fabric, which I combine with leather to make bags and other accessories.

What inspires you?
Colour – I really love looking at the green of a leaf or a bright coloured jacket and working out how I’d mix that colour in my dye pot. I’m really pleased when I can weave a piece that captures the subtle gradual colour changes that I see in nature.

What’s your workspace like?
My studio is lovely and light with good views. My 6-foot floor loom dominates the room and it’s where most of the work gets done. I have cones of yarn on rack and pulleys round the room, and tables for the leather work. When I lose something important, it prompts me to have a tidy up. Sometimes the floor has more threads on it than the loom.

What do you love about Sheffield?
I love taking the kids to play in the stream in Ecclesall Woods; Sheffield is unique in that it has semi-ancient woodland within its boundaries. It’s also great looking for remains of the city’s industrial past.

What would you do to improve the city?
More safe cycle routes, and better road surfaces (although the council are working on this).

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