"Peggotty!" repeated Miss Betsey, with some indignation. "Do you mean to say, child, that any human being has gone into a Christian church, and got herself named Peggotty?"
- DAVID COPPERFIELD (CHARLES DICKENS, 1850)
Firstly, my name is Nicky! The name Clara Peggoty was adopted from Charles Dickens’ novel “David Copperfield” which I studied with my children as part of our home-schooling process. I fell in love with the character and, over the years, the name has stuck and become part and parcel of my creative identity.
Based on the South Coast of the UK, I began my love-affair with yarn several years ago when I taught myself to crochet, and dusted off my childhood knitting knowledge. Hand-processing fleece, natural-dyeing and spinning followed, and then weaving. My loom of choice is an Ashford Rigid Heddle, of which I have various different sizes. Although the name belies the idea, I find the rigid heddle super-flexible. Its simplicity enables me to play around with a huge variety of patterns and yarns, and over the past few years I have found myself weaving with all sorts of fibres and mixes, including handspun yarns (my favourite), fabric scraps, organic cotton and even old plastic bags!
My design process is all about texture, followed closely by colour. I love to experiment, and more often than not the end product of fabric is a combination of planning and organic, on-the-loom ideas. I say to my weaving students that the loom “leads” you along, and this is the basis of most of my work. The loom really creates a kind of magic with fibres that you would be hard-pushed to envisage beforehand. A good example of this can be seen in the Alchemy Blankets that I make to commission, using peoples’ leftover yarns – most of my customers have been completely astounded at the beautiful blankets that have resulted from putting together a whole gamut of colours and yarn weights (see my gallery for some of the finished objects). When people ask me what sort of colours to send, I always answer “send everything, and don’t try to plan”! What was a bag of redundant sock and sweater leftovers transforms into a stunning blanket.
Of course, I also weave much more structured patterns and fabric, examples of which can be seen in my work with Rauwerk Wool, where I used Christine’s beautiful Bavarian Merino to weave several blankets to showcase the yarn. I have created cushions, table mats, table runners and throws, as well as scarves and shawls. I work in collaboration with other makers for specific projects, such as creating fabric to be sewn into knitters’/crocheters’ project bags.
I am a strong believer in ethical and sustainable production, both at the yarn/fibre production end of the scale as well as my own methods of production. I only work with high quality – often hand-dyed – yarns, and where possible I research the provenance of the fibres and yarns I use. Natural-dyed fibres are a favourite, but I do not limit my work in this respect.
I also offer classes, and regularly teach at Tribe Yarns in Richmond, Surrey. The weaving classes are so much fun, and I encourage the students to throw out any preconceived ideas about colour combinations, and really experiment to their heart’s desire. A majority of them leave the class having purchased their loom….
Anyway, enough chat - do have a look around the site. If you’re interested in the process of weaving, have a read of the blog. As and when I produce pieces of work, I will add them to the online shop part of the site but please be patient - it’s not a quick process when it’s just one woman and a loom!