It's been an interesting journey. And it's not over yet; in fact, I can't believe my reLAXed attitude about finishing the last piece in the gallery on the first day. It must be a first of some kind. I feel embarrassed about it, and at the same time, I feel strangely OK because sometime in the last few months, in discussing the nature of this Exhibit(ion) with Martin, the focus has shifted slightly from showing work to promoting the art of handweaving. (Anywhere else in the world I'd probably get thrown out of town and my name will become a curse, but this is in a small gallery in Sunny Nelson on the last day of a three-day weekend. I'm telling myself I'm going to get away with it.)
When I signed up to do this Exhibit(ion), I didn't realize there was a vast difference in weaving one-offs vs. weaving a series. I felt pulled in two direction; wanting to weave the more nuanced, subtle cloth vs. weaving shawls that expressed the elements included in the title of the Exhibit(ion). In retrospect, I think I was being too literal, and could have deviated/experimented more. I should have started weaving earlier to experiment more. But I'm listening to my body, (something I'm still getting used to) and I could not have woven more quickly because even at the current slow pace, I'm still feeling strange kinks and shakes in my wrist, neck and shoulders. I don't want to overdo it and then be unable to weave, as in the first half of 2006!!
My image of the Exhibit(ion) oscillated between the austere minimalist art galleries I loved in Tokyo vs. the familiar and cozy perception of the handwoven textile in New Zealand. Although I didn't want to mix/match and dilute the focus of the Exhibit(ion), standing at the gallery tonight after everything was in its place, my ambiguities and indecisions were evident. Austere doesn't fit Nelson, and neither does handweaving. So this is my compromise.
The hanging/installation part is an art in itself; I knew this, but for a little Exhibit(ion) like mine, I thought I could wing it because I've been to so many art exhibits. Not so. It's amazing how little I saw of the way works are exhibited at past exhibit(ions). And then there was the logistics of locating material that would allow building the rigs/widgets/whatsits to hang the shawls the way I wanted to. And getting tall people to do the work the way I wanted them to do.
I'm not unhappy. It's been a great journey, and I'm going to enjoy myself for the next three weeks, and so will, I hope, the people who come to see it. Respected Nelson Weaver Nola Fournier was the first to ring me to let me know she is coming to the Weavers' House; she said, "You don't know what you want to do until you do it." Well, I know what I don't want to do if there is a next time.
Thank you for your visits and warm support in the past months, everybody. My Exhibit(ion) starts in 11 hours.