Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 3: Special Weavers' Hour (Followed by Afternoon Tea)

I recant (again!). Lloyd was a perfect gentleman (the way I knew him to be) and we worked out a way for him to sand the spackle and paint the wall without getting anything on the shawls, and the job was finished by 11am.

I was washing cups and getting ready for the afternoon tea in the back when I heard a person. It was my dear friend Gaylene and she was the very first person, of the people I invited, to come see the Exhibit(ion). We spent a quiet time looking over each piece, and it was lovely. That's exactly how I imagined my Exhibit(ion) should be. Lovely.

Jay from the Red came with afternoon tea goodies, and had a look around; she approved the way I set up the Exhibit(ion), and pointed out some of the details that I got right; this is better than Michelin's four stars.

By this time it was sweltering and I was busy making hot coffee and getting ready for afternoon tea. Weavers (and old faithful friends like my... ahem.... singing teacher Joe - yes, I've tried that, too) started to come in, and still I wasn't thinking of cold drinks to serve. By around 2.30, there must have been close to 30 people in the room, and I was worried about the number of chairs and ... hot drinks. I gave a short talk about how I came to have an Exhibit(ion), why I chose the title, and how I went about designing the pieces. I must say, this Newbie had a captive audience, who collectively had more than 500 (??) years of weaving experience.

It was great to see my friends, and meet other weavers. But it was like a wedding reception, where, as much as I wanted to, I couldn't sit down and spend time with everybody. Still, nobody fainted in the heat, and some old friends had a chance to catch up with one another. I think this is where Kiwis say; "And a good time was had by all". I hope.

At around 4PM, I noticed Lloyd had washed all the cups. I felt another Prima Donna Panic, because I had thought I had everything under control, but not so. Eendeavors like these are supported by so many people, even though this particular Exhibit(ion) has only my name on it.

It's been a roller coaster, but seeing friends finally made me comfortable and happy about what I've done; no more fear and loathing; just a nice, smooth ride from now on.

Thank you, everybody, for coming to see the Exhibit(ion), for the baking, and the washing up. Tomorrow, Kath Bee sings at Gallery 203.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Obviously, You're New at This

In the last two days, two people have commented thus. I'm not taking offense, because I am new at this, but I want to know what gives. I want to know what marks my work as so obviously a newbie job, because I want to learn how to look at my and others' work, and if there is a way, oh yeah, I'm looking for a shortcut out of newbiedom.

So, in addition to the curvy selvedge, raggedy fringes, and uneven picks, what else? Please tell me.

Day 2: Attempted Robbery, Ashford Spinning Wheel, and Sand Paper

*** Warning: Unweaverly Language and Many Exclamation Marks!! ***

Pay attention; this was all in one day. I forgot how wild and dangerous the world outside my basement is.

Just before we left this morning, always-lovely Sharleen from the furniture rental place rang in response to the message I left Friday night; after a brief conversation, we discovered that the chairs delivered to the gallery just came back from someone's home and the ones intended for me were professionally cleaned and waiting in the storage and were indeed navy blue. Sharleen offered to replace them, but I didn't want the already installed Exhibit(ion) disturbed, so I declined.

When we got to the gallery, Ben noticed two police cars nearby, but I thought the policemen were having morning tea in a cafe. We unlocked and opened the gallery door and found the lights on. We went up the stairs and heard a radio. And shock, horror, I found the bathroom window open and the removable windowpane removed!! Then I noticed a policeman's holster (no guns in NZ) on the bathroom floor. Lloyd the gallery manager was in his office, and told me that over the weekend there was an attempted robbery at the pharmacy downstairs; the robbers broke a pipe on the roof, and therefore all the gushing rain-like sounds all weekend!! They suspect the culprits wanted material to manufacture P! They could have been walking on the roof while we were installing inside.

Taking a deep breath, I hung "Deep" in its rightful place, and I was pleased; I was pleased because I like this piece, but more because it seems to have completed the Exhibit(ion), not just in numbers but in color/value balance, and in terms of showing a bit more of what I can do.

I didn't want to write letters on the footpath/sidewalk with chalk advertising the Exhibit(ion); but in the end, I did; in skinny meek letters in white, I wrote, "Weaving ->".

A young lad (possibly Lloyd's son) sat in one of the chairs and watched me weave, which made me nervous and I made mistakes. I knew that I should use a simple weave structure while demonstrating, but I didn't imagine I wouldn't cope with an 8-end, two-faced twill. I thoroughly enjoyed the young man's company, learned that the cartoon South Park is named after a real town in Canada, and appreciated his interest in what the different parts of the loom do.

Another German/Dutch-(??)-speaking family came, and asked how long it takes to weave a shawl. Hummm.... I read in the American fora that this is asked often, so I was prepared, but I wonder if there is at least some kind of an appreciation that handweaving takes a long time, at least among those mildly interested in the craft, or if it's just a way of making conversation.

Two weavers came; I know they were weavers though they didn't tell me. I got so nervous because I was having terrible tension problems on the demonstration loom; I remembered why I "temporarily" abandoned this particular warp 20 months ago. But one of them complimented me on "Wind Print". I love you, unknown weaver; thank you!!

Then I met Laura, and here's a story. Laura was living in the Netherlands 30 years ago when she bought an Ashford (NZ) spinning wheel. It came wrapped in old newspaper back then, and her husband became interested in the newspaper's contents, and shortly after he uplifted his family and moved to New Zealand. Laura knows the Marlborough Weavers so she's going to come again tomorrow for Weavers' Hour. What a treat!

When Laura left, at 2:50, I heard this horrible noise, and to my shock & horror, Lloyd was sanding down holes on the wall right behind "Deep"!! I offered to remove the shawls, but he said the dust would fall right down and so not to worry. Yeah, right! I really wanted to take them down, but I didn't.

I noticed someone had texted me. I own a cell phone, but it is never on, except this week, and I don't "do" text. It was Kath Bee, but I didn't understand the text language, so while Lloyd was sanding the wall behind "Paua" (!!!), I asked him to translate Kath's text; Kath and I arranged to meet in front of a bank.

While waiting for Kath, I rushed to Page & Blackmore bookshop, because they kindly put a shawl (the rejected Shawl Four) and my poster in the window. They've hung it over textile, costume, and fashion books and I was very grateful. I also saw a woman for whom I worked for a short time: she said she would come and see my Exhibit(ion) because she saw the writing on the footpath!!

After meeting up with Kath, we went to the gallery ostensibly for Kath to have a look at the space one last time. She decided to go acoustic (which I later understood to mean, "no speakers"; boy, I must be tired!). I think it will be so perfect and lovely; I'm really looking forward to Thursday.

The real reason I wanted to go back was to take down the textiles. Lloyd was spackling, which meant he would sand some more, and then paint over it, and I had a vision of him using a big roller to paint the wall white and ... oh, nightmare; I was feeling physically sick. Anyway, he said he'd use a brush, but it's the sanding I have problems with, so he kindly offered to wait until tomorrow morning when I get there and remove the textile; he'll sand, paint with a brush, and I will put the textile back up. And I'm vacuuming the two rooms and the chairs and lint-rolling the chairs myself. Am I displaying symptoms of Prima Donna Panic?

Kath and I came home. It was so hot all I had to offer Kath was filtered tap water! But we had some good laughs and any day when I can have a good laugh with Kath Bee is a great day.

Tomorrow, the Weavers' Hour.

Shawl Seven, "Deep"

It's a too early in the day and I don't have good light, but this is the first photo of the last piece.

The warp was in a variegated purple 100% merino wool, 110/2; the sett was 18 DPI; in 14-end straight draw, Shafts 15 and 16 weaving two ends of plain weave at both selvedges. The weft is possum/merino/silk in deep green. The weave is two-faced 1/7 and 7/1 twill.

I was tired of my lame pictorial depictions of SS&S and was taking a walk in my favorite Flickr galleries. All I knew is I wanted to get into the water this time, not just looking at the surface. On Montana Raven's beautiful pages, I found three photos of dry winter grass, (posted January 23), and I remembered I wanted to do something about seaweeds dancing in the water. Now my Exhibit(ion) is complete.

I hope I can post better photos of this later.

Day 1: Beach Day

It was a glorious Beach Day (at least until 3 in the afternoon) and the last day of a three-day weekend. Nelsonians don't go to see art on days like these; most of the galleries are closed anyway. I could start with a very low-keyed Day 1.

I opened the Gallery at 10:45 and Ben left me to my devices. I couldn't stop shaking for about 15 minutes, but I fringed Shawl Seven to calm down. I realized I could hear people coming up the stairs even if I had Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo`ole) on softly.

A painter named Bob popped up to get something from the office, but we had a nice chat, and I got some tips on using acrylic paints; he told me when he stayed open on a Saturday, he had six visitors, so that would be about the number I could expect. Suits me fine.

A couple in my target age group took time to climb up the stairs, coffee in hand, took one look inside from the doorway and left. I thought, "Oh, it's not that bad," but Ben later said they might have thought I wasn't open yet, because Shawl Seven, in a rather prominent position, wasn't hung and I was working there. Pity. They left before I could even make eye contact.

A German-speaking family clambered up the stairs; the mother asked me if "this is the gallery". I smiled; if you come from a big city, this must look like a hallway leading to a gallery. We chatted, I told them about the Sand Castle Contest on Tahuna Beach, she thanked me, pointed to something and spoke with a 6-year-old-ish son, and left.

A short chat with this immaculately-dressed-for-holiday family got me thinking I must improve on the basic techniques of weaving this year. I've been so busy thinking about what takes place in the cloth that I've not made extra efforts to try to keep selvedges straight, and having hung my shawls on bars in this way, I'm shocked at the unevenness of the fringe length! In many places in the world, my pieces would be immediately dismissed for these reasons. I knew this all along, but become so absorbed in the design to pay more attention to the basics; must remember this. I must also investigate how to keep selvedges straight in swirly doodle weaves.
I finished fringing around 2, and finished weaving the piece on the loom (which I started in July 2005 according to my notes!); I nearly dozed off until two teenagers came looking for Mr Harwood.

By 3 I was ready to go home. Although many of you have wished me big crowds, this was the first day I had hoped for; I got things done, I had great company in Iz.

The gathering in lieu of an opening is on Wednesday.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Funny Feeling / The Purpose of an Exhibit(ion)

I just finished the last piece. It needs to be fringed in the gallery tomorrow, and washed and pressed at home, but on Tuesday it can be hung like the others.

I had a strange realization as I worked the last two hours of the "preparation" phase. I was weaving slowly and at first I thought I was just being careful, but it was more than that. I didn't want the preparation phase to end. And that also seems to be why I didn't work efficiently this last week. I did have nine days to weave and finish one piece, and though I did struggle to design this particular one, I was slowing down the pace more than necessary, while my "evil twin" was savoring the moments. Is this a usual part of the creative process? I've never heard anything like this!

At the same time, I am starting to dread showing my work. I can only remember the horrible things about the pieces, (it didn't help that the photographs I took today were kind of horrible, too), and I was thinking up all kinds of excuses why they were the way they were, rehearsing what I am going to say so at least I sound like I know what I am talking about. I was already regretting the quality of the work that is being shown.

I definitely need to improve the technical aspects of weaving this year, I know this. But there's more.

I use words to aid my designs; I collect words to describe the outcome of the design at hand. And I often include words like elegant, exquisite, delicate and , ahem, slinky. Somehow, Nelson's summer sea and the sand and the clouds didn't end up in designs that I would describe thus. Meaning, I don't feel my very first exhibit(ion) represents the best work I can do, and perhaps the best work I do don't render to exhibit(ion)s because they are not striking looking.

Oh, I think I need a good night's sleep, and maybe another Exhit(ion) in a couple of years. But we won't tell Ben just yet; he's asleep on the couch.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Exhibit(ion) Eve

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.

The Almost-World Premier of a Tiny Weaving Exhibit(ion) Part 3

"Rabbit Island"; the grass, the sand, the water, I see it.
Your mother got you started on weaving.
That's a nice little loom. But this is not how you made those shawls?

Oh, I think I'll have a little read about how you made the big shawls.
Good Bye.

The Almost-World Premier of a Tiny Weaving Exhibit(ion) Part 2

"Wave"; this one is blue on one side and green on the other.
"Bubble"
"Gentle"
Oh, what a bright room. I think I'll have a wee rest on the chair.
"Paua"; this one is rather interesting.

The Almost-World Premier of a Tiny Weaving Exhibit(ion) Part 1

This must be the place.
Mind the steps. Oh I think I've seen that picture before...

"Wind Print"
"Deep" - I wonder where the piece is!
Oh, she's still working on it...

Installation Day 2 of 2

Today was relaxed and enjoyable. Well, as relaxed as an artist whose last piece of work is not completed dare to be. Ben and I had time to laugh and do a bit of creative work in the gallery. These photographs, printed on photo paper and pasted on foam boards, were cut in three and pasted to the side of the stairs leading up to the gallery. It's by no means an original idea, but it looked good to us. I hope nobody has wet shoes, though.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No Opening

When I came home, I knew I was running on fume. I was so tired Ben had to repeat three times everything he said. So after supper and a bit of rest, I went downstairs to weave. Though it took me longer to establish a rhythm, it was relaxing and enjoyable. After 40 minutes my mind cleared and I could think again, and I had one recurring thought: THANK GOODNESS I HAD ENOUGH FORESIGHT TO FORGO THE OPENING!!!

Installation Day 1 of 2

It's great to have peaceful people like Ben and Tim Wraight to help me. Things that looked pretty hidious yesterday didn't look so bad today.

The chairs: although I found more cigarette burns and two huge brown stains on the pet-hair chair, this color probably suits the surrounds better than the navy blue sample I saw. I vacuumed the chairs twice, and used the lint-remover (a whole role for the two chairs) and ended up picking hair by hand, but they are OK now. Tomorrow I have to sew the tear.

By the way, the soft light is coming through a set of window shades Tim made out of garden shade cloth. It's light weight, inexpensive, but extremely effective. This was a huge job I wasn't sure of, and it took a better part of two hours, but Tim just quietly made and hung them. Thank you, Tim.

The cut lettering: we separated the three lines, set the Exhibit(ion) title; no problem. Then we tired to decide the position of my name. Well, even though they are the same size fonts, when we put the name below the title, it looked so much bigger, so Ben thought to put it to the right; below it we'll have my two A4 sheets of "About Me" and "In the Beginning" (in lieu of Artist's Statement and Resume/CV), and comment/doodle notebook on the plinth.

Going back to peaceful people, Tim is a successful sculptor and not the kind of man one normally calls to solicit help installing a tiny newbie show. And Ben's a good engineer and hobby cabinet maker and is perfectly capable of hanging shawls. But neither Ben nor I have experience in installing an art exhibit(ion); Tim has, in abundance.

I didn't grow up with a lot of visual art, nor people who exhibited work. So this whole "weaving thing" has been a journey in a foreign land, and yet I chose to travel alone, and enjoyed the solitude. When I started to plan This Hoo Hah, I paid attention, and got plenty of professional and friendly help, but I alone made the decisions.

An Exhibit(ion) involves other people, though; people who will climb up a flight of strange stairs in the Nelson summer heat to see wool shawls, and for that, the shawls need to be hung as attractively as possible, and people need to feel it was worth the climb. Without expert knowledge, Ben would have suggested a few things, but I would have bullied him into doing things my way; not a recipe for optimum results.

That's why Tim's presence was so important; he could explain how people behave, where eyes go naturally, what normal practices are. And he's taller than Ben, so the five pieces in hung in the first room - they are going to be almost 80cm higher than I had planned, and they look terrific, if I may say so myself.

Thank you again, Tim and Ben. You two were good helpers today. I might get you guys back for the Next Hoo Hah.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Murphy's Law Is A Way Of Life

"Only in Nelson" as we say, mixed with a sigh and a laugh. Mr Murphy must have been from Nelson; how else would he know exactly how life works? What's gone wrong, you ask?

1. The gallery did not arrange with the artists currently showing when they will take down their artwork, so I had to ring them myself, and they told me there's absolutely no room for compromise/negotiation, so we delayed installation by one day. It's partially the gallery's contract at fault, because item (1) says the gallery is open from 11AM - 3PM, Monday to Friday, but (4) says all artworks must be removed by 1:30PM of the last Friday.

2. The lounge chairs came on time, except they are light blue with red (?) designs, and one has a big visible tear (which I can sew up tomorrow), and the other has cigarette burns on both sides of the cushion, and at least one is covered with pet hair. I am so very disappointed, because I checked and rechecked all the details with them beforehand, and could not believe the miserable state of these chairs.

3. The cut lettering, the name of the Exhibit(ion) and artist pasted on the wall of the galleries.

All I wanted was: "Sea, Sand and Sky", new line, Meg Nakagawa, in normal Times New Roman, centered, the total size being roughly A2, my name slightly smaller than the title.

It came out visibly smaller than A2, in three lines, all same size skinny Times New Roman: "Sea, Sand and Sky", new line, Meg Nakagawa, new line, my phone number!!! What were they thinking!!! This is the place Nelson's main gallery, The Suter Art Gallery uses!!!

(And the scariest part is right now as I try to format these lines to try to show you, Blogger corrupts the size of the fonts and alignment. My name is cursed.)

But they had the color right, a beautiful navy blue (I'd call it indigo) and they did it on very short notice over the phone, so I can't really fault them.... GRRRRRR...

4. Matt's article came out last night; a few days prior to that he rang and read the article to me and it sounded interesting, but what made to the printed page was abridged and kind of "blah". And there's a biggish photo of my fat, evil twin. I wished they took out the photo and left the interesting bits in.

To tell you the truth, I didn't expect people to read it, but quite a few people commented that I am now "World Famous in Nelson" (taken from a soft drink L&P commercial, "World Famous in New Zealand".) It tickles one's ego, but I'm not too comfortable with it. My 15 seconds of fame.

5. The heatwave goes on and on and on... Actually I'm not sure if it's a heatwave or just the normal summer, but come on, folks, I'm having an Exhibit(ion) of wool shawls. Can we please have some southerlies, please.

Murphy's Law is the way of life in Nelson. We get use to it and move on. But I am very disappointed with 2. and 3... And 5.

But just when you think it's all gone to custard, somebody saves the day. Jay Farnsworth, of The Red Art Gallery, my agent, is going to bake something nice for my "Weavers' Hour: Show and Tell, followed by afternoon tea"!! That's the second baking offer I had, and with the numbers going up to 15 yeses and 3 maybes, the offers are Heaven-Sent.

Life is not bad.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"How Long Have You Been Weaving?"

This is another I don't know how to answer. I wove my first creation on 5 August 1995 on a rigid heddle loom. I bought a homemade 4-shaft jack and wove six cottolin napkins; then the loom collapsed. (I have to tell you this story some other time.) I borrowed a better 4-shaft Naggi (NZ) jack and contemplated undulating twills, but while I worked full time, I draped laundry over my looms.

In February 2001, I went to my first weaving workshop in Marlborough; this was my coming out; I declared/admitted to the world that... ummmm... I weave... And I had to learn how to read a draft in the first 15 minutes. I wove for a local weaver later that year for three months, throwing a boat shuttle for the first time when she asked me to sit at her loom.

Having woven two or three warps on 4-shaft, I went to Bonnie Inouye's workshop in Murchison in May 2002 to make up the numbers. I got Fiberworks PCW Bronze and a 16-shaft Thorp (NZ). I wove two or three warps. In August, I bought Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", and totally uncharacteristically, "did" the whole three months. (I'm still kind of proud of that.) 2003 was a bad with health problems galore, both of us.

Early in 2004, after being throughly disgusted with my inability to switch to a creative/artistic life, and thinking I can always go back to an office job, I got a part time job, where I walked like a zombie wondering what world I stepped into. Around August 2004, I was more or less asked to resign, and that was the best thing that could have happened. I have been weaving more or less consistently since the day after I left that job.

I made plans and wove to schedule in 2005; I sold my first piece in September; I got a piece accepted at the national exhibition in Wellington and sold that piece; I had three commissions and finished weaving the last of these at 11:30AM on Christmas Eve morning - I had seven guests at 7PM that night. In February 2006, I got my first award, the First Time Entrant Award at the Nelson/Marlborough/Buller Area Exhibition, and then had tendinitis from a gym machine that's not suited to people with short arms and couldn't weave for six months. And then of course I went to Randall Darwall's workshop in October 2006.

So 1995-2004 was the Dark Ages, but I feel like I'm cheating if I say I started in August 2004. "I have been weaving intermittently for a little over a decade," seems to be about right.

No Words Required

On our way home from the Marlborough Weavers' meeting, the sea of sheep parted and we drove through. My camera was in the bag in the back of the truck, so Sue kindly took these and sent them to me.

I love New Zealand.

(Note the appropriately faded shirt, the hat, the shorts; if dressed properly, he would have brown-and-natural wool socks and a brown pair of boots or black "gummies", rubber boots.)

"Why Are You Doing This?"

This is one question I don't know how to answer: why am I having an Exhibit(ion)?

I said I would to Lloyd Harwood of Arts Council and reserved the gallery last May.

In June I went to an Artists' Retreat and sat in a workshop for "craft" artists; the speaker was meant to discuss the ways craft can be shown/sold, and how we should approach galleries/shops. The message I (and as it turns out, quite a lot of people who attended) got, however, was a cool "Don't call us; we'll call you!" So I thought I needed to make the first move, so I can write it in my Resume/CV.

Last Sunday in Marlborough, Joan asked me the same question, and my answer de jour was: "I came to weaving late in my life; people my age have been weaving for decades, and I want to catch up."

Until last week, we had had a cool summer and I haven't spring-cleaned the fireplace because I was never sure when we would use it again. A week before I'm opening This Hoo Hah showing wool shawls, summer finally arrives full blast and it's hot and sticky and I wouldn't blame anyone if s/he thought I was demented for doing This Hoo Hah in the middle of a Nelson summer.

So, three days to go, I still have to weave one more, so out you go. Don't ask me such a hard question!

Support Crew

With the preparation of what I'm now calling This Hoo Hah, I am being encouraged and helped by many people, about some of whom I will be writing in some depth in the future, because I'm hoping, in spite of This Hoo Hah, they will stay my friends and artistic co-conspirators for a long time.

Today I'm introducing this guy. He has a full time IT job; he comes home, takes me to the Mega Store to buy material, builds/paints the rigs, and then cooks me dinner. When my mother visits solo, he makes us coffee and toast, goes to work, comes home, and seeing us in the middle of warping/dyeing/sorting yarns, cooks us dinner.

He never questions when I covet yarns or weaving books/software/equipment/loom but encourages me to get them. And he didn't mind when my weaving space crept into his workshop and finally pushed him out into the garage.

Weavers' husbands are a patient lot, but I have to say, I hit the jackpot with Ben. (And everybody thought we wouldn't last three months!)

Thank you, Ben. I am making you breakfast on 17 February.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Randall Darwall Update

This just in from the Great One: "Finally getting back to whatever normal is after 4 shows since NZ. Eek! ... Brian's show was wonderful - will send pix sometime. It just came down 2 days ago."

Ornament magazine Vol 30, No 1 had a 4-page article on the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2006, in which Randy and Brian participated. There's no photo of Randy's work, but: "Randall Darwall, from Bass River, Massachusetts, is a studio clothmaker who designs as he works. "I particularly like the unpredictable potential that only the handweaver is free to explore in process," he says. He will use many different kinds of silk yarns "to make the color glow, to create depth and to record the motion of weaving."

This magazine is not sold in bookstores in New Zealand, so if interested, email them, attention: Stephanie Morris.

The Rig

Five of the seven pieces will be hung on what I'm calling the trapeze. Ben cut 16mm-diameter pine dowels to roughly 900mm in length and drilled a hole roughly 10mm from each end. I threaded a window blind cord into these holes and knotted the ends. Then we slipped the dowel through a plumber's insulation material, made to fit a 15mm pipe. This particular one is cut on the side, so we can slide the dowel (with the cord) through, and then remove the cellophane to seal the insulation material. But the real reason I selected this particular insulation is because it came in the least obtrusive gray, and the manufacturer logos were in slightly darker gray, so they will not show through the shawls. As well, I would have preferred to use fishing lines instead of the cord, but I was told by the hardware store man that fishing lines stretch and may not be ideal.

These trapeze will be hung from the ceiling, and the length of the cords will be determined in situ. The room in which these trapeze will be hung has a 2950mm ceiling, and I can't envision the best height at home.

Paua and Shawl/Candidate Two will be hung flat, similar to tapestry in a Medieval banquet halls; this part of the gallery has a 3630mm ceiling, and I wanted to take advantage of this height. This will be particularly effective in showing Shawl Two, which needs to be shown in its entirety (unfolded and un-draped) to show the color changes warp- and weft-wise. For now, we are have prepared two flat pieces of pine boards and three huge bull clips each to hold/clamp the shawls, and to secure the boards to the wall, but I am not sure if I want to use bull clips or wing nuts, nor whether to paint or stain the pine boards.

Shawls Five and Six

The third warp was in the less saturated mid-blue, (the darkest in the first warp), 100% merino wool, 110/2; the sett was 18 DPI; in 14-end straight draw, Shafts 15 and 16 weaving two ends of plain weave at both selvedges.

In Shawl Five (I've stopped calling them candidates now) I used possum/merino/silk in denim blue as weft. The piece was started and finished with a small section of modified #31216; the main weave part is a modified #30147, both from Kris Bruland's web site. The hot water from the tap was exceptionally hot on the day I washed this piece, so the cloth felted more quickly than usual. I like my possum/merino/silk yarn's fluffy feel, so I continued to full until the warp and the weft blended in.

Shawl Six's weft was the same possum/merino/silk again, but in light brown; the weave structure is what I've come to call a Doodle Weave.

Maryland/Colorado weaver Bonnie Inouye teaches weavers to play in the tie-up and in the treadling/lift plan. In my Doodle Weaves, I plot out a straight-draw 14-end twill, with as much difference in the two sides of the cloth as possible, for example 1-5-2-6 twill, in the tie-up, and then doodle in the treadling, drawing long and short curves. I also use different weft repeat options available in Fiberworks PCW, such as Drop or Mirror Repeat. When I think I have an interesting movement in the cloth, I change the draft from tie-up to liftplan, and check for long floats and tweak the design. In this particular shawl, I wanted long floats, and I think I allowed up to seven. I didn't want the weft to blend in with the warp, but rather sit on top, so I did not full the cloth as much as Shawl Five.

As I mentioned before, I hung five of the shawls in the basement to try to name them, and looking at them, I initially thought the less Randall Darwall elements I have, the happier I am with my cloth, by which I mean minimum hue/value contrast, and lack of movements. On closer examination, however, I think I have always tried to introduce some kind of movement when I modified weave structures. For example, Shawl Five's design moves two ends to the left with every repeat. And my Doodle Weaves is all about movement, so my cloth is not un-dynamic, but I use the weave structure to express movements.

In deciding to weave one more piece in Doodle Weave, I am trying to incorporate something of Randall Darwall, most probably Fibonacci Sequence in the weave structure. But I'm still doodling, and I've six days to go.

Remember Dianne?

I got another photo from Dianne; she says: "This is an image of three wraps on a turquoise warp, one with lots of Fibonnacci stripes (all that changing shuttles and ending off ends is slow work), the second I had some black add in threads which looked awful until I put in the horizontal bleeders and the third was reversing the 16 lag chain to make leaf shapes."

I agree with you entirely about switching shuttles and cutting ends. I have orders for tiny cashmere scarves with random color Randying but I really have to clear my head before I embark on those; once I start a piece, however, I'm away with the fairies and thinking happy thoughts.

And you talk often about the color of the sea and ask me about the Nelson sea; THESE are the colors of the sea on really hot days in Nelson!

Thank you for the photo, Dianne.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Different Generation Of Weavers

Weavers often comment to me; "You must spend a lot of time on the computer." And, yes, I do sit in front of this screen a lot. I used to hear/read a little bit of cynicism in this comment, similar to being told off for watching too much television or playing video games. And not enough time on the loom.

But wait, I've been on email and instant messaging sine 1985, and I had to use the public fora for obtaining information for work. I've been peripherally in the IT industry from time to time, and I'm married to an IT guy. (In fact, the very first time I ever "spoke" to Ben was through instant messaging asking him if he wanted me to apply my portion of a fix from my computer or from one in his department.)

Furthermore, for about the first five years while I was a closet weaver, I found teachers in North America through the various weavers fora, which were already a busy platform in 1995. After weaving three warps on a 4-shaft jack loom, I purchased a 16-shaft computer-controlled loom, because if you live in Nelson, and one comes up for sale, you grab it. And I've been playing with weave structures on the computer every since.

I've always kept my weaving records on a spreadsheet, and this year, intend to build a database so I can search by weaves, shaft numbers, yarn sources, and link to my tiny but growing customer database. And now that I have a digital camera, a blog and a photo blog, I use the Internet to ask questions, compare notes, and hope to spread the joy and excitement of handweaving through the Internet.

So, even though I don't have an MP3 player attached to my person, (I don't even own one!), and even though I'm just a few years younger than many weavers I know, I am of a different generation of weavers, in that I use the computer extensively to help me in what I do.

And I don't have to feel bad about it.

Marlborough Weavers Meeting, 21 January 2007

After being their waif for six years minus two weeks, I finally went to a meeting of Marlborough Weavers yesterday; Sue and I are now their newest members. For this hermit weaver, it's a bit scary being part of a group at long last.

They tell me the meetings won't always be like this idylic, but I wanted to show you the "business" part of the meeting, (and this isn't even the beautiful part of the garden!)

Life is good; now back to my basement.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Warp #4

After posting that I finished weaving my last piece, I went downstairs and hung five pieces to try to name them while tidying up the studio. I like to look at what I make from a distance and from all directions instead of standing in front and looking straight at it. I came up with a great name for #6, and I was becoming increasing pleased with that particular piece.

Now those of you who have been in "art" for any length of time may laugh at the naivety of this novice planning an Exhibit(ion) and blogging about it, and you are perfectly entitled to, really loudly, but here's the truth.

I have ranted about "my" kind of cloth, and I had thought one of the prerequisites was not mixing hues and not having a big gap in the values. Well it's true to a certain degree, but that's much too simplistic because #6 is mid-blue warp with light-brown (camel) weft. With this, it's the weave I like, and it's one of my doodle weaves. I'll explain about that when I show you #5 and #6, but I love the quirkiness, the unpredictable-(to-me)-ness and the contrast within the cloth.

What I'm trying to say is, I no longer know what I like about "my" cloth, AND I really don't like #4, AND I need to show at least one more doodle piece. So with 10 days to go, by 7PM, I was tying yet another warp.

I'm going to weave one more piece. I feel disjointed like a Picasso portrait. I hope I can make it in time.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I Just Took The Last Piece Off The Loom

I just took Candidate #6 off the loom, and I don't know what I'm feeling. I feel relieved, of course, and a bit sad that the weaving part is over, that I won't be improving on the Exhibit(ion)'s contents any more.

Initially I had hoped to weave between seven and nine or ten pieces, and choose maybe six best ones to put in the Exhibit(ion). Somewhere between Candidates #3 and #4, when I was weaving two pieces a week, I started to feel a prelude to pain on my right wrist, left shoulder and neck. So, although I could have continued that pace, or at least could have easily put on another warp, I deliberately slowed down and aimed to finish six pieces. And that's what I've done.

I also decided to add a piece called "Paua", which I wove in late 2005. "Paua" is Abalone in our indigenous Maori language, so it's from the sea. I didn't need this piece to make up the number, but I feel a little sad I worked so hard to incorporate literal images of "Sea, Sand and Sky", that I might have sacrificed incorporating elegance and sohopistication that I aim to include in my cloth. "Paua" makes up for it, in that this is the kind of cloth I weave, and this is the best I've woven so far.

My first and most daunting thought about the preparation for the Exhibit(ion) is that weaving mere six shawls and a bit of sampling did not make any visible dent to my stash. ANY. I had hoped to clean out my stash room, maybe add shelves, bring in a small desk, repaint the room, and start the year of apprenticeship with a really big bang by making my stash room more of an art/design room rather than storage space. Well, that's not going to happen. In fact, the lesson has been that I could probably weave three to four commission-type shawls a month if I worked really hard, in addition to the smaller scarves for the gallery, and if I did that, I'm good for the next 10-15 years stash-wise. (Though after 7 or 8 years, the color and texture combination might become a little... eccentric.)

I still need to fringe, wash, press, dry and tidy the last two shawls. But they are no longer candidates, and I have to start thinking of naming them.

The Too Skinny Fringes

When I finished Candidate #4, the fringes were too skinny and light, so they didn't fall/drape/hang attractively. Sue recommended that I make then half the length, which I did last night, and here is the before/after photo. Because the pattern is a small-elements-all-over type, even though the shorter fringes change mood of the shawl, the fringes don't look out of balance and hang nicely.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Meet Fay

I "met" Fay though Cross Country Weavers, a NZ-wide group of weavers who make small samples and exchange them once a year; at least she remembered my name, probably because I finally sent out my samples six months after the recommended due date, after my tendonitis. So when we were both in Randy's workshop in October, she introduced herself. Fay and Husband have been holidaying at Kaiteriteri Beach north of here, and dropped by yesterday afternoon, and we had great fun talking about weaving and Randy's workshop.

Here's one of the samples she sent me in the 05/06 exchange. You need to click and enlarge to appreciate the full effect of this fine sample.

The sample was inspired by her daughter's visit to Brunei; it's a name draft using "Brunei Darussalam"; 30 EPI, 16/2 cotton in warp and weft with 2-strand gold threads for the pattern.

Fay's already started on the 06/07 samples, but I'm afraid I'm going to be late again - but not six months.

My House Is One Big To Do List / Social Flower

I haven't cleaned my house properly for a while. I have lots of things partially done or have full intention of doing, and they are left where I can see them so I don't forget. Altering Ben's pants is a big one; fringing/washing non-Exhibit(ion) pieces are another. If I walk from one room to the next, I see what I need to do after the Exhibit(ion) starts and before my parents come, so the whole house has become a big 3D To Do list. On the one hand, I can't stand it; on the other, I don't even see them any more.

The bonus is everybody knows I'm home working busily, so everybody is dropping by to say hello. I haven't had this busy a social life since my friend Trish moved to Wellington (that's coming up 3 1/2 years now) or even before that. And I'm loving it. I'm a social flower, rather than a social butterfly. I've been enjoying these visits because I have a legitimate reason not to have to be a tidy or a good hostess; I don't worry about my garden (which tends to be ultra-naturalistic at the best of times) or the house (oh, mind that step, that piece has pins in it still) or having nice bickies and regular, trim, AND soy milk for tea/coffee.

This is just great! If you want to see a relaxed me, now is the time to come over.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Martin Made Me Do It

It started with a short email to The Leader, a weekly, free, local newspaper. Martin last year said it would be nice to get something written up about the Exhibit(ion) and the blog; he had to dictate nearly the entire the email I should send, to persuade me to do it. Late Sunday night, I checked my too-hard box, and decided to work on this, and so I did.

Like the diligent secretary that I used to be, I rang this chap yesterday, and he said he'd come over today. I felt like a kid before her first day at Kindy: I rang Martin and Julia and, umm, asked how to be interviewed. I then rang back the chap and asked for a list of questions, and promptly prepared a 2-page multi-level bullet list of answers. Then I frantically cleaned my desk (I put everything on the floor) and the looms' surrounds downstairs.
Matt Lawrey came right on time. He was a tea man, not a coffee man. I hope I answered the questions accurately; I can go off in all directions when I'm talking, and I don't even remember half of what I said, and looking at the notes I forgot to tell him at least one crucial point. I was trying to be cautious by sticking to my notes, but guarded is not my forte. Note to self: if I take the time to make a list, use it; otherwise, don't bother.

But not so fast, Matt. I got him to tell me what he looks for in an interview with artists. And here are some points he made:

He respects artists for putting their souls on the wall/screen or in the gallery because it's a brave act. And artists celebrate values that are not easily converted to dollars and cents.

Good art speaks about people, the world and the environment. When writing, he looks for a new angle to present the works, via. the artist's background, motivation, and factors outside the physical work. The article needs be interesting to the readers, and he has had great interviews where he wasn't expecting them.

By the way, if you go to my web site, and to the Unravelling section, did you know that you can read "How I Make a Shawl" and "Exhibit 2007" series in a more logical progression? It makes the reading a tad more logical, if you are so-inclined.

12 days to go, Team.

(Here's another post relating to this interview.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm Sitting In The Corner Staring At The Wall

Can you believe I had an invalid email address on the very first (home) page of my web site, immediately following "For catering purposes, if you are interested, please contact me at", for the last several months, and went on to copy it and emailed it to several organizations? A highly respected senior weaver had to ring me up to let me know!!!! I have no word for it. Careless is too... kind.

In unison, people: "A M A T E U R !!!"

Later I found out I asked the newspaper to put the announcement about my Exhibit(ion) in their late Feb/mid March issues; it takes place late Jan/mid Feb. What do I need now? A stiff drink? a shot in the arm? or brain transplant.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Worried about Not Worrying

I touched base with three people today: Martin at Arts Marketing to go over promotion and to see if I was forgetting anything else; Mr Harwood at Arts Council to pay my NZ$60 for the hire of the gallery, and Jay at The Red to touch base and ask her to look over my pieces on the Friday before installation.

My conversation with Jay went something like this:
Jay: "So how is everything progressing?"
Meg: "Great..."
Jay: "And?????"
Meg: "Well, it's come down to worrying about the baking for the Weaver's Hour on the 31st."
Jay: "And you're worried because you've nothing much more to worry about! Stop it!"

Don't get me wrong, I still have 8 pages of A5-size (1/2 of Letter-size) TO DO lists, reminders, and ideas to ponder and decisions to make. But I have the lists, I need to do the tasks in there, and check them off the list.

If I really tried, I could put on another warp, but I'm starting to feel the effects on my right wrist and neck, so I won't go all gun-ho about it. If it happens, it happens.

Right now I'm printing 120 postcard/invitations for starters. My Exhibit(ion) opens two weeks from today; in fact, this time two weeks from now, I'll have finished Day 1.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I Am Not Kidding

I've been invited to a meeting of Marlborough Weavers, an active weaving group in and around Picton and Blenheim about 90 minutes east (and over the mountain) of Nelson. That's the group that hosted the first ever weaving workshop I attended, my coming out, in 2001, and so it as been surrogate guild ever since, but I never went to their regular meetings because of confidence/commitment issues, more than the logistical/transport problem. It's been made easier, among other reasons, because Sue wants to go also, so there's her apron strings to hang on to this time.

This next meeting date moved around a bit, and I couldn't quite commit myself because it's going to be sometime in the week preceding the opening of my Exhibit(ion). And this group is usually very organized, so it came as a surprise, until I found out why.

It's going to be held at one of the members' house, and she had to check with her husband about the sheep movement.

I don't really know the business (?) of raising sheep, but if you run a farm, I realize once again, life doesn't always fit nicely with the printed calendar. It reminded me of what a towny weaver I am, because for now, I buy my yarns dyed. I know how to spin, but haven't spun to weave this century; and promise to start dyeing my yarns this year, but thus far I've been a pure consumer-weaver.

I also chuckles remembering an email I received from weaver Pam a few years ago. Her email started, "We are kidding," and went on to talk about the weather and her goats. What??? Goats! Kidding...

I love living in New Zealand. Kiwis (the human kind) keep me on toes, or in tow. It's easier to get back to the beginning of things in this place.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Heavy Artillery

The gallery looks a like an empty classroom, which is not a problem with many of the exhibit(ion)s, but for mine I wanted to make it just a touch more personal, just a little more inviting so people would want to stay a just while longer. And because I love couches, I went to look at some that I could hire for three weeks. It turns out if I hired a couch, or even a love seat, THAT would have turned into the main exhibit in the space available. So I hired two lounge chairs (single seats). They didn't have the exact piece in the office, but they are the same style and color as the couch below. I don't have the photo of the exact space they are going, but imagine two navy blue single-seater in each corner of the room directly opposite the wall above. I'm pretty confident it's going to work nicely. If you don't get the picture, I'll have to post you one when it's set up, won't I?

Lovely Kath Bee came over yesterday morning, and we had a cup of tea and chocolate from Finland. (Amazing milk chocs, by the way!) Kath offered to bring friends and sing at my opening, and I was ever so grateful, but we discussed the various options for dates, style of the party, booz/foods and other offerings, and in the end, I decided not to have an opening at all. It's been on my mind for a while, but I don't like art openings myself, and my show starts on the last day of a three-day weekend, and a Monday to boot, so Kath though there's wouldn't be too many people in town that night anyway. I'm so relieved. Instead, I've said all along I'll stay open until 6 or 7PM on Fridays, when the town has its usual late night shopping anyway. She still might organize her friends into busking at the entrance of the gallery and direct the traffic my way.

Kath has turned out to be a major contributor in planning and fine-tuning my Exhibit(ion) all along; she's worth more than her weight in Finnish milk chocolate.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

What Is An Accomplished Weaver?

Sue was kind enough to come over in the rain this morning to look over the shawls I've woven so far for the Exhibit(ion). One of the problems I had was the too-fine fringes on Shawl 4; she took one look at it and suggested I make them half as long. That way, the fringes don't look so scrawny. I'll post before and after pictures when I've made the changes, but that piece is going to look so much better.

I've been thinking what makes one an accomplished weaver. Technical competence is a must, as is knowledge of fibers, colors, and weave structures; some knowledge of dyeing, spinning and/or sewing/pattern-making are desirable. It's the weave structure that puzzles me.

When I started weaving, I had so much fun with plain weave, I wove just that for nearly five years, mixing yarn width, colors, and especially playing with spacing and cramming, without ever trying Log Cabin or Color-and-Weave (different placements of colors that can produce an optical illusion with plain weave.) Then I moved on to twill, and I have been happily weaving twills for, oh, going on six and a half years, and I'm just starting to get to know this weave structure. For the time being, I'm perfectly happy to weave just twills for a few more years, before reluctantly moving on to something else.

There's another element to this. Previously, weavers learned structures from mothers, masters, teachers or books, and then they might have drawn what we call weaving drafts by hand, on graph paper. This is like a blueprint for a piece of cloth, where on the Y-axis you enter the threading, and on the X-axis you enter the order and combination of shafts lifted for a particular pick. (There are two ways to show the latter, but we won't get into it now.) Then, you worked your way though either vertically or horizontally and colored in where all the warps (or all the wefts) were lifted in a particular pick so you can see the weave structure.

Sample Draft: Shawl 3

I did some of that with 4-shafts weaves, and then I got a drafting application; now I only need to enter the information on the X- and Y-axis, and computer will automatically fill in the interlacement. In other words, I started using a calculator, or a spread sheet, soon after learning addition and subtractions, but not quite multiplication or division.

I still read up on a particular weave when I have to learn one (this time last year I had to learn about Repp weave and create a draft of my own), but I can still sit down and do half the work and let the program figure out the fiddly bits.

Similarly, even though I am a novice, I have a big 16-shaft loom, which allows me to play with more intricate lifting combinations (i.e. weave patterns) even if I stuck to, say, twill, than a 4- or 8-shaft allows. So I don't have to move on to another weave structure to entertain myself.

So, Sue would ask me what weave structure I used in Shawl 3, for example, and I said there is a link to the draft on my blog, and I wasn't sure if we were still speaking the weaving language, especially now that we can exchange or download drafts.

Conversing with an accomplished weaver as Sue makes me wonder how I want to educate myself, and what kind of an accomplished weaver I would like to be.

Anyway, this is Sue's work from a couple of years ago; feast your eyes, but no touching, please.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Making of an Exhibit - Part 4: List Time

Three weeks to go. I have completed 4 shawls, wove the 5th (it needs fringing and washing); have started the 6th. I also have one I wove a year ago which relates to the sea so it can go into the exhibit as well. In effect I will have seven pieces by the end of this week, and that's really enough for the space of the gallery. If I get ambitious and put on another warp, good; if not, no problem.

I have a draft invitation postcard and poster. In the next week, I will see Martin at Arts Marketing, Mr Harwood at Arts Council, and Kath Bee, the song writer who is kind enough to perform live at my Exhibit every Thursday at lunch time. (I recall something about the length of the cable of her speaker... Hummm...) I will go see the two lounge chairs (instead of a love seat) I might hire to put in the second room. I must contact people and venues which are going to help me with free advertising.

This weekend, with the help of Claudia, I've decided how I will hang the pieces. I'll show it to you a little later when I buy the bits I need to experiment. I must ring one of the two builders recommended to me to solicit help to hang things from an almost-4 meter ceiling, whichever one that can help me in exchange for a bottle of wine and maybe a scarf. I must also make up my mind about what to do with the enormous windows which allow too-strong afternoon sun.

I must start thinking of what to bake for the afternoon tea following the Weavers' Show and Tell hour, and what else I must bring for that event. I must also start thinking about which photographs of sea, sand or sky to print to decorate the stairway going up to the gallery, and possibly on the wall of the gallery; I must also consider printing some of the posts from this blog. I must put a dictionary above the business cards I printed out this afternoon to make sure they are flat.

I decided not to have an opening long time ago, because of costs, and more seriously, because I hate art openings. But I've been toying with the idea of a less pretentious, "Sneak Preview" in lieu of an opening. I must find the willingness, funds, food and booz if I go down that road.

All the pieces are falling into place; I just need to map out where they've fallen.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Candidates Three and Four

There is a degree of freedom in weaving Exhibit(ion) pieces, because I only answer to myself, without worrying about the client's possible expectations. Having said that, I am still trying to get my hear around the merit of the individual pieces vs. the integrity of the Exhibit(ion).

The second warp was in brighter mid-blue 100% merino wool, 110/2; the sett was 18 DPI, and once again, in 14-end straight draw; Shafts 15 and 16 weaving two ends of plain weave at both selvedges.

In the third piece, I used a teal-colored possum/merino/silk blend in the weft. The main part with long curves is woven in a modified version of #44659 from Kris Bruland's Handweaing.net; at each ends there are short portions of modified #31216 to represent the sand and the water's edge. This is the more-my-style effort after the hissy fit concerning the first two pieces.

I contemplated for a very long time whether to embellish this piece with small glass beads, not only in the selvedges and fringes, but in the main body of the shawl to accentuate the curves, but in the end I vetoed the idea, as I would really like the pattern (weave structure) to be seen. I like this piece better than the first two, because if nothing else, it looks and feels a little more familiar to me, and it shows off the weave structure, but I am aware this (or anything in "my style") may not be a particularly noticeable piece in an Exhibit(ion).

I was also reminded that "my" weaving is harder to photograph as there is usually less contrast in hue/value; my camera was whizzing trying to find good spots to focus.

In the fourth piece, I used the same 100% merino as in the warp, but in variegated pale blue, a combination expected to produce the thinnest textile thus far. The weave is a modified version of "Merk's Fabric", (the pink dinosaur) on pages 12-13 of "The Best of Weavers: Twill Thrills" (XRX Books, 2004). I chose this weft color because I wanted to show the sea foam as well as the water, but in retrospect I wished I had chosen a color more similar in value to the warp to show off the weave structure. (Although, because of the contrast, this piece was much easier to photograph than the third piece.)

This shawl has particularly fine (2+2 ends) fringes which were intended to match the weave and the anticipated fineness of the cloth: the shawl fluffed up in the wet finish, and the fringes are too light-weight to hang properly, so I think I will return to my regular size (4+4 or 6+6 ends) fringes, which also takes up far shorter time. The textile has a lovely spongy feel.

Thus far, I have created four pieces with quite diverse looks and textures, and the phrase that keeps haunting me is "all over the place". "My style" is less striking from a distance and I worry how they would look in an Exhibit(ion).

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year's Resolution

Loopy
Randall Darwall made it easy for me this year: be my own apprentice. The way I see it, I need to not plan everything to death, but weave dangerously, and have fun doing it. Be more spontaneous. And try colors and combinations I don't normally choose.

I hope 2007 is a wonderfully creative year for all of us.