Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nope, Nothing about Weaving in This Post. Again!

WARNING: This is yet another Drama Queen/Tanty/Hissy Fit post, guaranteed not to enrich your life or weaving experience. How long can I go on in this state???

I think the universe is conspiring against me. I said that already, did I? OK, then I'm deliberately moving slowly like a five-year-old who's just been asked to pick up his room. I said that, too?

OK, today was the worst day of my life in a wee while. I'll try to be short and sharp because I supposedly quit this whining things a few days ago, but when multiple people and events unwittingly hold you back or get in your way, it doesn't lesson my paranoia, does it! I hate falling in to this defeatist place, but I'm hanging by the skin of my teeth.

Tuesday, after I finished making the reggae warp, I was exhausted I sat on the living room floor. For about seven hours. Then went to bed at 9.30.

Wednesday, Ben had a thing at the hospital, (nothing bad, just a reminder), then we had coffee and scouted Fibre Spectrum one last time. We install in 1.5 days and I haven't even bought dowels. Yip, simple straight-forward dowels with holes it's gonna be. Heck, I haven't even touched the scarves since they came off the loom. The fourth, short, error-ridden one, I decided, has to go in because it's too delicious in terms of my transition, and I've no time to fiddle with the reggae warp before Saturday.

Wednesday afternoon, I had my head down and bum... on the chair working away on the application, When I finally heard back I can have an extension, but perhaps I had already heard from someone else? Well, NO! She had computer problems. Told ya, I believe her, but I knew the permission will come just as I've gathered momentum in finishing it. It'll still save me a few dollars because I can use the regular post, but I've got to do these things when I'm on a roll. I did take a wonderful hour off and worked on the towel exchange, mustn't forget that; it was happy and uplifting! By 1AM, I was pretty happy I had a good draft for the application, too, so I went to bed.

Thursday. I was on a roll and finished the application by 9AM. Had a break, then started on the portfolio. I've never compiled nor even seen an artist's portfolio before, but I had to wing it. I was still planning to get to the copy shop in the afternoon, have these bound and sent off to the North Island.

Out of nowhere Guess Who decided to dismantle my defunct web server, in the middle of our tiny office, spreading bits and parts, including his body parts, all over. He even put something or rather on top of the nice, clean sheets I got out. He even pushed my stuff aside to make room for his, and every time I got up to go to the printer or get more paper, his stuff, including his body parts, was in my way. Well, sorry if I stepped on your toes, but you bloody well knew how much stress I've been under and how today was the last make-or-break day!! So don't give me that attitude when I move your stuff to use the printer!! And I know you're going to read this post so I hope you feel really bad about your behavior today. You're vowed to be my Number One Ally, (I only vowed to fight cleanly,) and though I know you didn't mean to, it didn't help my stress level one bit. You may think I was giving you the silent treatment, but it took all my energy not to burst into tears and try to finish this damn thing so I can mail it, even though I know I'm not gonna get it. Damn, damn, damn!!

I'm OK! Sorry. I'm back.

So it's now 5:30PM and I have compiled a portfolio, if you can call it that. It has descriptions of six of my recent works, photos, and samples I made. I'm loathed to part with my samples, (don't care about finished pieces, but samples are my babies,) and there are 12 of them, so I put my name and contact details at least twice on each of them.

Lessons learned:

1) I kept regurgitating what the nice man at the Employment office told me when we first came to Nelson; 70-80% of job vacancies are filled by the time the advert goes on the paper. I knew it's not productive to dwell on this, and yet I can't help wondering if they've already picked a recipient but need to go through the process for ethical reasons. I could make myself if I stay on this loop, so be happy at least you're finished with it.

2) I don't have decent "portfolio" pics of my work because 99% of the time I'm finishing stuff just in time or behind schedule, and my stuff gets rushed to an exhibition or packed into boxes ASAP. I need descent pics of my work, ergo, I need to finish work a tad earlier.

3) I used the word "knowledge" a lot, and started to replace it with "skills". I think it's indicative that I love to be exposed to new ideas (input), but have a hard time "learning" nd then actually applying them (output). Kind of like when you learn a new word, you have to use it to really know it?? If you don't use the word, it's only half good to you, and there are so many things I know I read up on or used to know, but don't know any more because I don't use them. Something like that.

4) I had hoped to have a couple of practicing artists and a couple of art administrators have a glance at my package before I sent them. Fate intervened this time, but think it still might be good to get constructive criticism because... I mean... the portfolio can only get better for starters.

5) I'm in it so deep now I can't even dig myself out. I'll go to the copy shop and the post office first thing, then Figure Drawing - I could skip it and gain a couple of hours, but I think I need it for my mental health. Then I have only tomorrow afternoon to finish the four scarves, write up a blurb, and think of which piece goes where and if I'm gonig to use two long dowels or if we're going to cut them to length. We'll probably rush to the hardware store first thing Saturday morning and arrive at Fibre Spectrum at 10AM.

Sorry about the drama. Couldn't have done without you, though you could have done without my fit. Now I'm off to clean one knee rug so that can reach Blenheim, by post, by Saturday 5PM. And Ben's not sticking his foot out any more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Festive Towel Exchange is Now On

In this day and age when we can buy inexpensive dish/tea towels in discount stores, import shops and even in the supermarkets by the bundles, why bother paying so much more for the yarns and then spending days and weeks designing, warping, weaving, and hemming such a mundane item? Because, like any other cloths, handwoven dish/tea towels is unique and special, and they happen to be far more absorbent and longer-lasting, than store-bought ones.

Festive Towel Exchange is a combination of virtual exhibition and an exchange. All participants feast our eyes on the little treasures, then wait eagerly for a small parcel to arrive at their mail/post box. Links and photographs of towels will be added as they arrive, up to early December. Please revisit us to see more of our treasures.

Please follow the links to view the towels.

"Chocolate makes everything better" and "Autumn leaves"
by Geodyne, Cambridgeshire, UK

"Minty Fresh" towel and "Waffle Washes"
by Susan B, New Hampshire, USA

"Björk (Birch)" by KD, Örebro, Sweden

"Chantilly Cream" and "Devonshire Cream"
by Sonya, Christchurch, New Zealand


"Green Christmas Kitchen Towel"
by Crystal, Pennsylvania, USA


And the Not-So-Big Gallery

"A Toast to Blue Skies" and "Rejoice in Red"
by Rose Pelvin, Marlborough, New Zealand

"Festive Butterfly" by Dianne Dudfield, Tauranga, New Zealand

"Pacifica Christmas", "Flora Pacifica" and "Round the World Christmas"
by Meg Nakagawa, Nelson, New Zealand


The Big Gallery Flickr sets for this challenge has been deleted; some of the links were modified. 

Towel Exchange Update

Right, Prospective Partici-Pants. (Always wanted to say that since I discovered a show I kind of liked was produced by a company called World Wide Pants; can't remember which show, though.)

No worries if you haven't gotten around to the towels, but I'm really hoping some of you can join me. Pretty please.

Rose Pelvin sent me some preliminary photos, (not for publication, she asks, but I'm just dying to show them to you!!), which got me reviewing how I did SSVE on Flickr, and I remembered something important.

With SSVE, those of you with your own blogs had the choice of posting the pics on your own blogs and sending me your url, or sending me the pics to be posted on my Flickr. So sorry I'd forgotten about that, so I amended the guidelines to include that option. Really, you name your towels, send me your url, the name/s of the towel/s, and your contact; that's all. Oh, please include the number of towel/s (which should match the number of name/s you give me) just in case I can't tell from the photos.

Ben sounds like an automatic reminder now; he's beeping me every seven or so minutes to get cracking on the application, so.... later!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gulp!

When I started thinking about this color combination, it was more theoretical than an immediate plan. I fully intended to incorporate these colors in my warp, eventually, but certainly in a intricate, subtle way. It was a dare to myself.

Then I got a bit excited with the Heian Era look of the booboo scarf yesterday, and after finding out this is the 1000th birthday of The Tale of Gengi, our first known novel, I knew I was meant to weave these regular, shocking stripes, in diamonds. I even did something I never do to make sure.
So promptly first thing this morning, I started making a warp. Each stripe will be appxorimately half an inch wide. Shouldln't have pulled out all the thrums from the previous warp last night. Ouch!
But, but, but... doesn't it look a little too Bob Marley? Ouch! (Gosh, is it me, or is this pic super blurry? And my lovely purple looks so blue...)

Too bad/Lucky there's no time to worry, I'll just warp on. I clipped my fingernails this morning, and that's made it harder to count the warp ends.

And no more Sudoku-until-1AM just because Ben's on holiday this week. Even though it's a good way to unwind, I can't keep my eyes open.

OK, back to the warping board.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Labour Day Labor

I have three and a half days to 1) weave two more scarves, 2) finish and collate my scholarship application, 3) wash, press and send off a knee rug to Blenheim for a wee guild exhibition, due Saturday, and 4) plan how we'll hang the scarves on Saturday at Fibre Spectrum and get necessary gear at the hardware store.

The fourth scarf was a no-goer. It's finished, alright, but much shorter than the others, and a few mistakes needs mending, because the metal rod I used to attach the warps to the back beam was so far forward it was pressing against Shaft 16, and not all warps lifted sufficiently. In the end I took the pirn out of the shuttle and wove with just that.

Most crucially, something must have happened to the tension while it went around the cloth beam or when I was taking it off. Maybe I was in that semi-conscious "I've got to get this done" mode and didn't see something going wrong. I was composing the exhibition blurb/artist statement in my head, trying to tie Paul Newman to ancient Japanese colors. Anyway...

It's a strange-looking piece. I would have liked to have shown it because it doesn't look like anything else I've done or have recently seen, and called it "Japan, 1008", as The Tale of Genji was supposedly written on that year, and accordingly there have been events and special publications in Japan all year. It looks so ancient to me. I suppose I should get cracking on another warp zingy warp.

A Little Spousal Support

In Japan, I'd have to apologize profusely for promoting family members and using a quasi-public forum for personal use, and then post this post. This pic by Ben reminded me of indigo shibori cloth; very Japanese-looking to me.

Does Good Weaving Have To Hurt? Part 2: Background

When Peg suggested I was underwhelmed because my new warp didn't look like Randy's, it forced me to try to put into words what I was trying to do and/or what outcome I hoped for. In the first instance, I was indeed underwhelmed because the warp didn't look like Randy's, but not because I wanted to weave bad imitations of Randall Darwall scarves, but because I've been thinking of giving it a go for over two years, and I have been disappointed I hadn't. You bet, I think about it all the time, it's just, "not this warp, eh?" every bloody time.

Further, Randy's scarves, (and many of yours; oh yeah, I click to enlarge your pics, even if I don't read your words!) stand to repeated scrutiny and the viewer can discover new things in a familiar cloth over time. I don't see that in mine; I think mine are more straight forward, and in this context, that's bad, WISIWYG scarves.

That is not to say I shall quit developing what I've vaguely come to think of as my kind of elegant, (bland in the first instance, but they are useful in the context of "outfits".) I like understated scarves, pieces that don't have to be the main event. Eventually, if I stay in this game long enough and try hard enough, I may see my two seemingly disparate directions converge and then it could be my thing. (NOTE:BY NO MEANS AM I SAYING RANDY'S ARE INELEGANT OR UNDERSTATED! But now we're talking about ME!)

Anyway, I was thinking how I've come to be such a color-coward and a lover of monotones and analogous schemes. Mom's preferences aside, I have "history" with colors.

All my life, I thought I had spunk when it came to colors. My art teachers told me I was good with them. (Little did I know they meant I sucked with shapes, proportion and composition.)

I took a correspondence course via the guild in 2000 on basic color theories, which was a hard slog. Jargon confused me, I learned I have a hard time seeing values across hues. Saturation totally threw me, and a couple of times I was told I misunderstood the instructions and asked to redo modules. Once I was told portrait orientation was wrong for the module, when I was trying to emphasize height using values. I should have contacted my course-mates, we were supplied with an email list, I didn't because I didn't know any of them.

If I stuck to using mainly blues in my assignments, I would have at least felt more comfortable and perhaps I might have understood the concepts faster, but because I was determined to try colors I normally wouldn't, (anything between orange-red to green-without-blue on the wheel,) I made life harder for myself.

I came out of the course feeling defeated and stupid. Since then when I heard weavers say they love to work with colors, I instantly dislike and envy them, and scrutinize their work to try to find something wrong. Well, not actually, but you know how I feel when I hear it. It got so bad I couldn't even stand to hear the Kiwi pronunciation of the word "color" which sounds like /kələ/ or /kʌlə/, instead of /ˈkʌlər/. (When the end of the word is shortened by not pronouncing the /r/, even the first syllable is shortened, including the consonant /k/. Trust me, this is what I did at university.) The Kiwi pronunciation lacks emphasis and makes the word short and sharp, it doesn't give sufficient weight to the big concept, and worse, it signifies the speakers' easy and happy relationship with colors and makes a mockery of my sufferings.

In 2002, I took my first design course with Alison, and it was bad enough we had to draw a lot, but in the very last module, we planned a specific piece, and had to determine the color scheme first by determining the values and then assigning hues. Well, I went out of my mind! I kind of cheated and worked forward and backward (deciding on the hues) and connected the two, like digging a tunnel from both ends.

I quit colors altogether and bought yarns I liked and did the best to mix and match. I said I needed to learn to dye, but didn't intended to get into that game any time soon. I wondered if I would ever be like playing with colors again.

I signed up for Randy Darwall's workshop in 2006 only because the name sounded vaguely familiar, having been, I was almost sure, mentioned by Brigit Howitt, a most amazing, inspiring weaver/artist in New Zealand, ever, (but who hasn't got a website,) after her 2002 Convergence trip. Little did I know his thing was colors, and the rest is history.

Last year when I minded Sue's gallery, I made an effort to enjoy colors. It was hard at first, because I didn't want to think about it, but for five hours every week, I was surrounded by her colors, and boy, she is versatile, so I let myself sit back and observe. Then I started a notebook of magazine clippings just pasting color schemes I liked. I had intended to mix paint and dyes to try to create my own schemes inspired by hers, but didn't get that far. So, all input and no output, but I started to emerge from my phobia.

When I signed up for Ronette's figure drawing course, I had thought it was all about lines and shapes and proportions, but we do use colors from time to time. Even so, I dread it, and used safe color washes or just wet my charcoal or pastel areas. Or use analogous colors. Cheat! Ronette also organized color workshops for Refinery Art Space, and because I support whatever Ronette or the Refinery does, I signed up for them, little knowing (even though it was in black and white on the web site and the blurbs!!) they were painting workshops.

Heck, there is a pattern emerging here. I don't read blurbs carefully and sign up for workshops, but somehow come out alive, even when I'm required to work with colors or, heaven forbid, paint!

I'm find learning about color theories and being able to see/analyze colors totally different from producing pleasing color schemes based on theories, which again is totally different from mixing and matching what I've got and ending up with nice color schemes. I'm not saying one is better or more beneficial than the other; I'm just need all the help to I can get.

Today is Labour Day holiday in New Zealand, and windy but sunny and clear in Nelson. I must finish Scarf 4 and the application draft. I'll go labor now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Auto-Drive

Scarf 3 was finished late last night.

I added more supplementary warp, purple next to orange and marine blue (named Iris) next to gold, anything I could think of that I wouldn't normally do. I had fishing weights tied to every one of the 22 supplementary warps, which got tangled up. With every eight or so picks, I had to get off the bench, go to the back of the loom and tug on the particular warp that wasn't taut; if I were to weave a scarf with approximately 1800 picks, it would have been good exercise, but not efficient. So I sacrificed 12cm of warp which I couldn't afford, unwound the warp, tied supplementaries to the rod, rewound, then resleyed at 36EPI. And it's weaving in a more orderly fashion. I'm using a dark green weft. (Purple looks like navy, and some of the oranges appear pink below, but without intending to, I managed to include all of the four colors here into this warp, though in a much diluted way.)

I was struck how the purple/orange/green part looks like ancient Japanese colors. In stripes, colors combinations like these are used on traditional theater stages, on unhealthy but delicious rice crackers called Kabuki Senbei (another colorway here), for seating and background of Hina dolls, which are based on the Imperial wedding costume, which in turn is based on kimono worn around the time of The Tales of Gengi. I've been tempted to call this last one something like "Japan', but I remembered I already submitted a blub that had something to do with Paul Newman. Some creative writing required later...

I hope I have enough warp left to weave a scarf, even though it may end up a tad shorter than the rest. I'm so tired I'm on auto drive. I was hoping to get either Scarf 4 or finish the draft of the application finished today, but I ended up with about 1/6 of the scarf, and 15 too-airy chocolate cupcakes.

Good night.

EDIT: I thought it was the pic's fault, or the condition under which I took the pic, that made the outside orange supplementary warps appear hot pink, but even in real life, because they are surrounded by blue-green warps, they really look pink!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Wars and Silks

Just some tidying-up thoughts.

IMHO, in consideration to the great majority of the people in Asia, I think the American bases in Japan is perhaps still the best solution to a bad problem. If we militarized again, it would make Asia collectively terribly sick it would be catastrophic to the region. And a huge part of the problem is the Japanese government's refusal to state our invasions and massacres in our history textbooks. (Though truthfully, I don't believe kids don't know about these incidents just because they are not in their hisotry books.) By the same token, I wished the GIs would behave more civilly, and for the Japanese government to take stronger stands against crimes committed by the boys, and girls, I suppose.

Our Scottish friend Sheila once told us she begrudged the fact that though England got bombed just as severely as Germany and Japan, World Bank didn't help them pay to rebuild, though we perpetrators got plenty of assistance. Point taken! Oh, yeah!

However, she also blamed the cheap Japanese textiles for decimating the British textile industry. What goes around comes around, and now the Chinese textiles are killing Japanese silk. I'm a little sketchy on details, but I once read a newsletter from a Japanese silk mill that in the year 1990 or '92, there were 90 silk mills in Japan; the year the newsletter was written, '98 or'99, there were three left, with two seriously considering, or in the process of, closing down. In the same decade, inexpensive but adequate-to-superb quality silks and cashmeres from China saturated the Japanese market, and you know, the consumers were not displeased. Now anyone can wear these textiles.

Sheila's husband Tony was a member of the Kiwi contingent, part of the greater Post War Occupation Forces in Japan. He was "adopted" by one family and he speaks fondly of his years there. I never meant to say all GIs are bad, but I do wonder why in the world Tony and his group was stationed out in the boondocks, away from any city, port, or strategic point!!

Lastly, I can't fathom anyone becoming a soldier without being conscripted. Wars last for a generation or two after it's officially closed, and it appears to me, a large part of the Western world's forces offend more than defend. OK, OK, I know there's Peace Keepers and a great many Kiwis do just that. But I feel terribly uneasy about separating soldiers and their not-always collective actions, or worshiping medals and celebrate victories. I just don't get it and it is just me. I'm for commiserating with former enemies.

America the Still-Beautiful

WARNING: Still nothing about weaving in this post.

And still, the great majority of Japanese population loved things American, and still do. They were so shiny and colorful and happy. I don't remember much anti-American sentiments growing up, just anti-Viet Nam Police Action. I was born 13 years after the War (and that would be WWII, or the Pacific War as we know it,) officially ended, but the nation as a whole, its citizens, were very poor, and still sighing the great sigh of relief the bombings have stopped and we can get on with recreating our lives. We didn't exactly blame the Emperor or Tojo, (stoke of genius that McCarthy didn't execute the Emperor,) though we felt victimized by men who wanted to see if their male appendages were bigger than the Americans', and acts of war in general. We just wanted to move on.

I remember trying to peak inside the American bases when we were nearby, just to have a glimpse of front lawns and picket fences and family cars. If I was walking with Mom, we had to rush past them, looking down so as never to make eye contact with the guards with guns, or heaven forbid, with THEIR German Shepherds, but if I happened to be on a train or a taxi, she may not have noticed, I thought. The families of soldiers lived lives just like in the movies, and no matter what the weather outside the bases, it always appeared sunny and balmy inside.

When I became 13, nobody had to tell me I shouldn't even think of bases, because that's how teenage girls got pregnant. I missed being pre-teen and when I was on this one train line that ran along the edge of a small base for half a minute, I shut my eyes trying to remember the neat white houses from previous trips, trying not to peek. The temptation was so strong, it was like mini-Lent every trip. About that year, they stopped showing re-runs of Leave It to Beaver, so I was well and truly out of luck.

You can see how, when I finally convinced my parents to let me go to the US, I felt like a real winner. My entire year in 9th grade, I doodle white picket fences in all of my notebooks. And though I had to battle with the amount of homework for the first month, the rest of my high school life was dreamy. I was short and fat, but had a great head of hair, (I was once complimented by young, male wedding photographer - now if that doesn't boost the ego of a teenager!) I swung between 3.2 and 3.8 GPA, and was the periphery of the clique, (I felt that joining them would make me part of "establishment"). Nixon resigned the three days after I arrived, and Viet Nam was coming to an end. And as a Japanese, I was becoming an "insider" on things American, at only 16.

And though the country changed so drastically since I left in early '82 sometimes I've not recognized it, it's still such an amazing country.

There's no tidy conclusions to these two posts. Just me reminiscing, and remembering the times I had more spunk. And joining the prayer in the video; it's a global prayer.

America the Beautiful

WARNING: There is nothing about weaving in this post. Whatsoever. It's about my life, mostly in the 60's.

Connie Rose
sent me a link to this video, and I was reflecting on how long it's been since I listened to Dr Martin Luther King Jr with such an uplifting surge of emotion, and realized for far too long I've relegated the Civil Rights Movement to some kind of a freak 60's event.

The video, and this morning's act of defiance made me reflect on my childhood. I was 10 in 1968. My extended family on my mother's side was heavily involved in university education, so every day the dinner conversation centered on The Student Movement, with up to date report on what was going on at "our", whilst secretly I longed to join the ranks and demonstrate against Establishment. (Oh, yeah, I knew that work in English!) I idolized their uniform of plastic helmet with local affiliation painted, thin towels protecting them for tear gases (!!!) and the obligatory length of 4x4 pieces of wood. If memory serves me, this is when jeans became very popular in Japan.

The big issues were the Viet Nam War and the students' opposition to renewing the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, scheduled to be renewed in 1970, based on the 1951's San Francisco Peace Treaty. The Treaty prevented Japan for arming itself, but guaranteed US protection, in exchange for the US bases to continue to occupy Japan. We paid the US a certain percentage of the GDP to protect us, because we weren't allowed to arm ourselves, which wasn't exactly unpopular. Except when soldiers behaving badly became a serious social issue, and we couldn't prosecute them because the bases were US jurisdiction, and so American solders were deemed outside our law, even if the troubles took place outside the bases.

(This has changed some since the 80's where a few successful assault, rape and burglary cases were brought to trial, but then guilty soldiers get shipped home so I'm not sure if it's working. It's especially difficult with rape, where, in Japan, female victims are still often deemed even more guilty than male perpetrators, where the overwhelming majority of judges are male, and where they've been studying the jury system for the last hundred or more years, still with no conclusion.)

The students didn't want Japan to vicariously be part of the American action in Viet Nam.

The Treaty recognized the volatile relationship of the two countries as regards things "nuclear", so it said no nuclear weapons or nuclear-powered vessels will ever come to any of the bases in Japan, but again, we had no right to inspect or object, and our citizens taking photos of well-known nuclear-powered ships got arrested by Japanese authorities.

Anyway, "our" university became one of the campuses where the All-Japan Federation of Students' Self-Governing Associations was most active, (though there's not a lot of mention of it on the Internet, because it was small, private, and academically insignificant. My aunts would be relieved!) After the student takeover of Tokyo University's Yasuda Auditorium in June '68-Jan '69, Dad was astonished to hear a staggering majority majority of students arrested were from "our" university.

Police would regularly call Grandpa, (founder, president and chancellor) to warn there might be unwelcome guests to his house, and I recall student groups did appear, but Grandpa always had three or four pet German Shepherds, (predating student troubles by a few decades,) so there was never serious trouble. I know once they threw a Molotov cocktail into his garden, but it was "faulty" and just sat on the lawn until Dad went to pick it up. Twice, however, Grandma rang because the threads were dire, and Dad was one of the professors who argued with students and demand placards and banners be taken down. They were supposedly targeting our house half a block away as well. (We only had an old, frail Pomeranian that was scared of cats.)

I remember stuffing my teddy bear and my bible, (didn't want to because it was heavy, but HE'd know if I didn't, so it went in) in my backpack, and we turned all the lights off and held our breath for a few hours. It must have reminded of my parents of the bombings during the war. Nothing happened that night, though we kept our escape packs untouched for a few months. That might have been the time I decided I didn't want to be a demonstrator, though I still agreed with a lot of what the students were saying.

Fast forward and in 1970, we moved to a new house, which kind of put us smack in the middle of three different American bases I knew of. In Japan, all roadworks take place in the middle of the night at low traffic and our new house was off one of the main roads that connected two of the bases. From May 1970 to August 1974, when I left home for Minneapolis, every time they did road works, I couldn't sleep for weeks on end because I believed it was the sound of jeeps and tanks moving from one base to another, and I worried Soviets would bomb my stretch of the road to weaken the American forces in Viet Nam. It wasn't until years later, when I actually saw roadworks in the middle of the night, that I realized they weren't jeeps and tanks. I never thought to talk to my parents, because it might reminding them of the bombings and upset them.

My insomnia goes way back.

In Defiance

Break time. Scarf 3 is 40% done but I'm physically exhausted so it's moving slowly and with great difficulty. The "zing" is there, but because I added warps in isolation, not in bunches, they look lonely. I knew this, but I forgot about it in the excitement of the moment I was planning the supplementary warps.

I'm weaving this draft. Which looked OK on paper.

Or so I thought. But in my sample, there are streaks of wefts that look like technical errors and if you look at the draft with that in mind, they're all over the place. I don't know much about lace weaves, but if these areas were larger, these might be considered the "crammed area inside a lace weave" to make them legit. I tried tampering with the draft, but I didn't like any of them. so I'm weaving against reason, in defiance, as a symbol against my recent troubles.

I think they look like the fat streaks in tussah silk cloths. (Streaks most visible in the mystery weft portion.)
I have 440cm left on this warp, and I hope to weave two pieces between 180-190cm long, each, and on this loom I usually end up with 60-80cm of loom waste. I'm staying with the skinny 60/2 cotton weft, which I didn't sample in this draft. Part of me knows this is insane, even if sampling allows me to get only one more piece from this warp. Part of me wanted o stop being so timid and give it a go, and that part won this morning.

T Minus 7 Days

Almost to the hour, and I have only two pieces, and the application to work on still.

Someone had scribbled this on the board I picked yesterday, but I erased it during class; I don't feel so lame this morning, only still under development.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Zing Continues

This morning, I went downstairs, and yes, I did think, "Well, is that all!" but I still felt pretty good. I went to my figure drawing class and told Ronette about it and she was pleased. Gosh, the zing was two years in the making, to the month!

When I have a psychological breakthrough like the one yesterday, I like to look back and find out how it came about. In the short run, it was most definitely last week's figure drawing class; I got a bit bored at how all my drawings looked similar to each other; nice, polite graphite or pencil on white, brown or gray paper. So last week, I picked up three different pink pastels and drew on black paper; the result was at once striking and revolting, but it was new for me, and I was pleased to have tried it.

I think that gave me the courage to add a little zing to my warp, though I didn't connect the two until this morning.

Today I continued drawing in new ways; I used white conte on newsprint, (they looked like my weaving), charcoal on black paper with lime green pastel highlights, and yellows/oranges on black.

Towards the end of last term, my drawings were starting to look nicer, but we're now working in quick gesture drawings, drawing impressions, so my shapes and proportion all out of kilter again. Our regular model Fran is slender and long, but my drawings look like moi, dumpy. Can't win them all...

Ben, who has known me since 1985 as someone who always chose sensible, understated choices, has been pleased with what I've been doing. There's something wrong, with Fran's right thigh/bottom, the highlights shapes are wrong; that's what happens when I stop looking at the model and just work on the paper. I like how her left shoulder looks as bony as her shoulders are and how her lovely chin sits; not sure what happened to her right shoulder. But I'm still sticking to a rather small range of colors near each other on the wheel. Must. Try. Harder.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zing 101

I finished Scarf 2 this afternoon. The weft is the same Delft Blue but 60/2 in size, so the warp colors shows through. In fact, in this combination, Delft Blue did not dull the cloth but united the warp colors. (Not sure why Blogger insists on rotating this pic, but you get the... picture.)

On the loom it looks painfully fragile, and I kept thinking of this girl Naomi from school. She was so delicate I was afraid if I spoke too loudly she'd break in half, but she ate like a horse and never missed a day of school. Like Naomi, the washed sample in this very configuration is solid, though with a slightly wiry feel.

I am familiar with analogous, achromatic or monochromatic. These are the kind of textiles I grew up with. When I was little, my mom, her big sister and I would go to several fabric shops once or twice a year. My aunt could sew, and Mom used to have one suit and a coat, or two suits made every year. The two sister would discuss styles, colors, and shoes, and handle every bolt in every store they knew of, and walk out and try yet another store. They didn't have a lot of money, but they had expensive taste, so they had to make absolutely sure they were buying the right fabric. When I'd get so bored I thought I'd pass out, we'd have lunch at a cheap noodle shop or the restaurant in the department store, then finally we'd go back and get the chosen fabric, in absolutely the right amount, so there was never more than 10cm of fabric left when the garment was finished. And then there was button shopping. Anyway, both girls like soft, elegant understated cloth. (Mom's 78 today, and she was putting on a warp for a small double weave mat this morning. She says hi to you all.)

While weaving Scarf 2, I was of course happy that Naomi was turning out quite nicely. Nice to be reminded I still have it in me to do this kind of color schemes, because I felt I had deliberately stayed away from them for too long. But what about the zing?

It's no secret I adore Randy Darwall and Brian Murphy, but the Randall Darwall enterprise is doing very well without my having to make cheap imitations here at the bottom of the world, and besides, I'm too pig-headed to copy anyone, even if I knew how to copy RD, so that's not what this is about. It's about my having been to a workshop called "Making Good Scarves Better" two years ago, and having been challenged/coaxed to experiment with colors; it's about moving towards making cloth that's difficult to replicate on machines; it's about one-offs. And the truth is, I've successfully avoided experimenting with colors up to now. But I knew it's been on my life's To Do list, and the time had come.

First I told myself it was OK if it turned out ugly, and I heard the voice of June MacKenzie of Marlborough Weavers quietly reminding me, "Somebody will like it." Then I had to make my mind up to do it today. Then I had to have a lie down, and then a hot bath.

I was determined to start small; it didn't matter that I anticipated saying, "Is that all?" when I finally saw it. I considered asymmetrical because it seemed so dangerously attractive, but for now, it was prudent to take baby steps.

So what am I on about? I put supplementary warps; 10 orange and 16 gold ends. And boy, my heart was pounding and my hands shaking, but I knew it was not going to be anywhere near "loud". And after I saw the warp with 26 additional ends, I did think, "Well, is that all!" But here you have it. My first Zing; a taste of things to come.

I have enough warp for two pieces, so after this one, I'm thinking of adding a few more supplementary warps, and possibly resleying at 36EPI. In Randy's workshop, some weavers were adding and deleting supplementary warps left, right and center within our small samples, so that has crossed my mind.

Scholarship Application Progress Report and Verdict - Epilogue

I believe the guild system was perfected in another time for another generation. I know I'm cynical, but I think the cynicism comes not from my being from another place, but because I grew up in another time. Even I can see it worked for the generation it was intended for, but I also know some people of that previous generation see the need to change. Still, you can't change suddenly and cut off the people who worked to build up these organizations. Only a few organization, for profit or not, seemed to have found a nice place between an air-headed managerism and kumbaya circles in this day and age. (Dr Eva said depression makes me cynical, so I'm supposed to keep it check, so I promise this will be the last for a little while.)

So, the scholarship application. Someone suggested I ask for an extension in light of the delay in getting the info, so I emailed the powers that be, but I haven't heard back, so my money is on no extension, and I will hear from them just in the nick of time for me to send it Fastpost at extra cost. Dread. I did get a softcopy of the 2002 instructions after begging, and our National President answered all my questions promptly over the weekend, so fair enough. This is why I've been working on the application, even though I know I should be weaving for The Next Wall. I will be finished with the word part today or tomorrow; I still need a "portfolio" of photos and samples of recent works; selecting them shouldn't take overly long; I haven't decided how to package it all, though. My Word file application looks drab; it's so me I can cry. I might invest in a few sheets of fancy paper but that's about all I can get my mind around...

Nynke Piebeanga is our current National President. (And I found my friend Dianne, too.) She's the one who has been answering my questions over the weekend, and before that she really tried to figure out the "too many technical errors" for me. In the end, she told me the technical assistant couldn't recall my piece, the notetaker had a family member fall seriously ill, there were over x number of submissions to proceess in y number of hours, (read: busy), I'm in good company for having works rejected, and Nynke herself had had works rejected in one place, then awarded top award elsewhere. Oh, and the technical assistant is an excellent weaver. None of these wash with me, and it didn't with many at the recent guild meeting, though those who agreed wouldn't have told me, I'd imagine. But I'm not too stupid that I can't emphathize with or appreciate all but the last, and I thanked her, profusely I hope, for trying.

Because you read this far of a rant/rave post, I'll give you something to "take home". Here are some of the reasons works were rejected, which may or may not help you in planning your future projects.
  • Uneven beat
  • Not exhibition-quality
  • Fringes on baby blankets (unsafe)
  • Synthetics for baby blankets (try telling that to a busy modern mum!)
  • Fringes not crossed
There were a couple more, but I can't remember now.

The last one may be useful to you, though. Say you're making fringes with four ends per strand and two strands to a fringe. You count the first four ends for the first strand, and then the next four for the second, right? Wrong. Take ends 1, 2, 3, 5 for the first strand and 4, 6, 7, 9 for the second and make the first fringe. Then ends 8, 10, 11, 13 and 12, 14, 15, 17 for the second fringe, and so on. I had hoped to show you in a pic, but I don't make fringes any more...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Nelson Decorative & Fine Arts Society

I recently became a paid-up founding member of the said group, and got my 2009 info today. I gather this is a big deal group in the UK and Australia, but I had never heard of it until Jay Farnsworth became involved. It is a group that organizes lecturers, and we had a taste of it in the form of "Russian art around the time of the last Tsar" talk. Even though the The Suter is putting in great efforts to hold more lectures and floor talks, when you live in a town without a university, it's nice to have access to other quasi-high-brow entertainment, I say.

The 2009 menu reads:

February - Mrs Maggie Campbell Pederson, "An Introduction to Organic Gems - from Amber to Ivory"

March - Mrs Patricia Wright, "The Mystery & Splendour of Golden Ages in the Arts - Fleeting Crucibles of Genius"

May - Mrs Sandra Pollard, "The Terribly Low Creature, a Female Painter - A Look at How & What Women Painted"

June - Christopher Vine, "Soane the Obscure - The Time, Life & Legacy of an Extraordinary Architect"

July - Dr Anne Anderson, "Scandinavian Designs c. 1880-1960 - How did We Get Ikea?"

September - Mr Charles Hajdamach, "A Victorian Splendour - The Golden Age of British Glass"

October - Miss Terry Pearson, "Gloriana - Queen Elizabeth I, Woman & Icon"

November - Professor John Prag, "Reconstructing Ancient Faces - Macedon, Mycenae, Molars & More"

New Zealand is a pretty casual place, so I can't suppress my giggles at all the "Mrses". The lectures start at 6:30PM and afterwards wine and sandwiches are served; I'd have preferred no food and cheaper subs, but I was told that's not a done thing. I've never heard of any of these folks except possibly Christopher Vine, if it's the Australian greeting card bloke. Still, if the taster lecture is anything to go by, these are going to be cracker evenings where I sit in the dark anonymously and enjoy some stirring of the gray cells, or electrodes connecting whatever they connect.

Furthermore, I'm told, if I travel to the UK, Oz , Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington, I'm supposed to be able to attend their events at a reduced fee. Isn't that lovely!

Tonight, though, I can't help imagining all these lecturers writing their CV to be considered by the Society. I got no weaving done today...

Good night, you lovely people.

Napier, Anyone?

Anna-Marie White just came back from a ripper of a symposium in Napier, on the North Island of New Zealand, called Volume. It was about "craft" and there was quite a bit of discussions on craft vs art, apparently, by makers, curators/museum folks, and writers. I had really, really wanted to go, and the cost for the symposium was super reasonable, at $50 for 2 days of rigorous discussions and great presentations, but travel cost was a bit hefty and the timing was wrong for me. Anyway, maybe next year.

The same Hawkes Bay Museum is hosting next year's thing that I go to for fun. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy, but if any of you would like some textile fun in Napier, maybe present a paper to a kind audience, this might be your opportunity!

* * * * *

8th Annual Symposium of the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand aka New Zealand Costume and Textile Section of the Auckland Museum Institute

May 30 & 31 2009
Napier

Empire

When in 1979 Farah Diba, Empress of Iran, fled the fall of Tehran she did so in a dress designed by Valentino. It was neither the first, nor the last, time that luxurious textiles and high fashion were intimately linked with the image of an Empire. Historically, extravagant clothing and textiles, ceremony and pageantry have been central to the way in which the allure of Empires has been constructed. In contrast everyday clothing and ordinary textiles have often been part of the set of tools by which revolution and sedition have been able to dismantle the rule of Empires.

Despite a strong association with the past, the idea of empire still occupies our daily diet of ideas. Here, at the beginning of the Twenty-First century, and at the beginning of the 8th Costume & Textile symposium, then - the concept of Empire has been chosen to provide a starting point for the discussion for a broad range of aspects of textile and costume from the products of past cultural Empires to the outpourings of current fashion Empires - the tale of the Emperor’s new clothes might even expect a mention.

We invite submission of abstracts of no more than 300 words, plus a brief biography to Tanya Stewart, Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery, P O Box 248 Napier or tstewart@hbmag.co.nz

Deadline: December 12, 2008

A Weaver's Carriculum Vitae/Resume???

OK, let me restart this post.

If you didn't go to art school, or didn't follow a straight-forward art path, and just picked up weaving and ran with it, how on earth do you create a CV?

Previously I had a "weaver history" heading listing some of the workshops I attended, plus any work, volunteer work, and conferences relating to textiles I've been to, but now that section is starting to look too long, and most of it is pretty trivial. So I've separated them into "weaver history" (I know it sounds dumb but what else can I say? Biography? "This Life") and "Selected Workshops" and it looks a tad better.

I had headings for "Exhibitions and Award(s)", and "Commission Works" and these are starting to get a bit long, which isn't a bad things but make for a clumsy looking CV. I separate the affiliations, which I sometimes include, but it almost looks like I have to start cross referencing lines in different sections. Just ridiculous.

Then, of course I have the "Employment" and "Education" sections, which have nothing to do with weaving so they are stuck at the end with bare minimum info. But, for e.g., where do I stick this new job at the Red Gallery? Is this weaving or just a job? Do you have another heading for "Outlets"???

You think you're confused... You should see the look on my face all afternoon!

The base of my "art" CV (as opposed to office work CV) was a composite of what several practicing artists and Martin Rodgers suggested few years ago, and it was great back then because I had practically nothing to write about, but now I have so many headings and little things I've been involved in and I can't remember them now, and all the bits are fragmented and trivial and even I wouldn't want to read it, much less write it. Ugh...

Google and you shall find? Yes and no. A good starting point was Edward Hussein Winkleman, the blogging gallery owner, so his focus is a CV intended for a contemporary and prestigious gallery, and his post I found via Deanna.

But this is a high-end art practitioner CV. For example, I had to laugh at "Bibliography". As in, things people write about your work, as in reviews. We are supposed to keep tabs on what's written about our work. Gee, I don't remember them all - I must have clippings of some of them. Besides, our little local newspaper's items keep disappearing from their website, and just between you and me, I don't read the paper version of our local paper. I recently found my name in a short review written about a year ago. Anyway, I don't think this is would be appropriate in my particular case.

After going through about a dozen resume samples for artists, I'm totally bored. I think it's vital an artist's CV is elegant and stylish, and more than half of these samples fail in that regard. Most importantly, "Selected" seems to be the key according to Edward; edit to suit the reader; well, that's the same with any old CV, isn't it.

Because I'm 50 and I can't remember things even though I've been weaving for such a short time, I just started to collect and enter everything I've done relating to weaving in the last couple of years and hope to edit to create, hopefully, a 2-pager in a couple of days.

Anyway, it's been an unproductive day, I tell you... There's 1/2 of a painfully fragile-looking scarf waiting to be woven downstairs, but I thought I had to do this at some point. Ugh...

And then after that, I have to write up details of what I hope to achieve with this scholarship, how I hope to achieve it, how I plan to "measure" my achievements, schedule, budget, and why my selected tutors/coaches are appropriate people. Ugh...

Then I have to make up a portfolio with photos of past work and samples. Ugh...

See why I wanted at least a month for it? Why didn't I ask about it before September 23? Well, I didn't see the scholarship mentioned in the guild publications, so I wasn't sure if this was going ahead this year, seeing as the Festival format has been in turmoil and subject of some passionate discussions. I only found out in the last printed newsletter that it's still on, and I wrote to the person named there almost immediately. Ugh, ugh...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Does Good Weaving Have To Hurt? Part 1: Where I Am Now

Comments here and here and subsequent discussions prompted me to write this:
In the three color/painting courses, and my figure drawing course, I've been learning about the artist's ability to (try to) draw the viewers' attention to certain parts/aspects of a work. I had thought previously that that was strictly a compositional thing, but I learned that you can also do this with color composition.

For example, if I had an orange-red or a slightly burned red, I could potentially include that in the raincoat blues and greens to make this a tad zingier; just a bit "special occasion" than an everyday scarf. And I suspect that kind of manipulation/consideration on the artists' part could be the difference between weaving a pretty piece and a really satisfying deep-breath-afterwards kind of a scarf. I'm also picking this up by reading and studying Connie Rose's work, and how individual each one is.
Which in turn lead me to these thoughts:

1) I'm unhappy with this warp because I know I should have experimented with a bit of zing, and I feel guilty not having done so.

2) I've been looking at the raincoat colors for a year now and I have more than enough ideas in my head and on my notebooks.

3) I feel a "Let me explain" mood coming, summarizing thoughts around this issue, but this week is make-or-break week with the wall and the scholarship application.

4) On the other hand, this series of posts could help me in making clearer what I need to write on the application.

So.... 5) I'm going to sleep on it, and try to post if I can while work on the application as well - if not, I'll pick up this thread in November.

Honestly, I'm a tad creeped out by Mabel just now. And I'm hurting because the pick problem in Scarf 1 was grater than I had thought yesterday. Yikes.

Is This Doable?

Hot loud orange, gold, dull brown green, and imperial purple... Would you stop talking to me if I tried this as a warp?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Mystery of Colors

Take, for example, one of my all-time favorite colors, Wedgwood Blue, (though this yarns is called Delft by my distributor). It's such a personable, restful, regal color, and yet in the context of this warp, it looks positively dirty and gray. (I admit, it's a mighty photogenic color and none of my pics show the blandness.)

And then the marine/teal thing, called Iris; it's so loud it's borderline obnoxious, and yet it produces amazing metallic look, both in this warp and in combination with my favorite gold. Sadly Iris has been discontinued.

And then there's the way colors change appearances. My pics don't do justice to reflect the startling differences in Scarf 1 from the right and the left; later when the sun was streaming in from the window behind me, the view from the right was almost white.

That's what I'm proposing to learn.

DO NOT CHANGE YOUR CD MID-SCARF

That was the lesson of the day. Finished Scarf 1, but boy, I hadn't realized my picks would change so much, from Don McLean's Best to ... yeah... The Osmonds...

Too many technical errors!!

Still Not Aching

As in, this series has not been achingly beautiful. Never mind, I learned a few things.

I think it's safe to say this warp is muted; none of the colors jumps out, saturation is medium-to-dull, value contrast is kept at a minimum. So, gorgeous, Peg? Elegant, Dianne? Thank you, and I mean it, but not achingly so, not to me. I don't think this warp is not going to ache this week.

In daylight, strong wefts didn't overpower the warp, but did what I had hoped, in subduing the warp. Wefts with greater value contrast, on either direction, looked better than wefts with same/similar hues or values, which looked dirty and dull. So Scarf 1, I started with a bright blue weft, in a simple draft that I thought I wouldn't use but sampled anyway. It's a less nuanced, "childish" scarf, but summery.

A great find was the screaming loud orange; here the weft was subdued by the warp and looks almost an elegant brick orange in the light. Less dramatic but similar changed occurred with slightly-darker-than-prototype purple; it looked a respectable ancient purple in this warp, and the cloth reminded me of the silks they use to wrap and store imperial treasures back home.

In the dark, however, wefts in similar hues and values looked the most elegant, so my first choice from last night will most probably be Scarf 2, and it will have to be hung in the dark part of the wall.

Then there is the yellow mystery yarn, which has a great sheen and produces a nice contrast with this warp, but since I have tons of yellow/gold small scarves as fillers, I probably won't weave this one this time.

OK, back to the basement.

(EDIT) For those of you who think I'm still on some hysteria trip, "achingly beautiful" was a phrase Randy Darwall used in his workshop in New Zealand in 2006 to describe one of Dianne Dudfiled's scarves or class samples. I also think he used "screamingly beautiful" in describing other cloths, but if not, well, then it's mine.

I'm So Underwhelmed

Lotto jackpot tonight was NZ$30 Million, and we arrived at the supermarket at 7:07, seven minutes late to buy a ticket, which might have saved us $22.50 because Ben and I don't win things. Instead, I invested in a bottle of "50+ multivitamins"; that's folks aged 50+ from the illustration on the bottle, not 50+ varieties of vits and minerals.

So the warp. The colors are sufficiently pretty; gradation and proportion regular, values controlled but sufficiently varied. Overall, blah. A couple of months ago I would have been thrilled with this warp, but this week I am not. I've thought of supplementary warps, but with what I have on hand, I haven't come up with anything inspiring yet.

I listened to Monteverdi while preparing the warp, and winding. I suspect madrigals and the Elizabethan flute & lute merriment are roughly of the same vintage; I like the transparency of the female voice in both, but I haven't listened to the latter in any depth. Still, I know madrigals occasionally contain unexpected (to the modern ear) notes, and when these are sung, I'm stopped in my track. I don't think I've had this experience with the Shakespearian interludes. I could be wrong; I don't know much about music. But I'm convinced this unexpected and yet still quite within-context surprise marks the difference between a pretty/blah warp and a warp one step closer to something amazing. I'd like to think Randy approves of this change in my taste/perspective.

Anyway, while threading, I switched to orca and whale cries, which became a little too desperate after half a day, so while sleying and sampling, I switched Enya, who has been the best match for this warp so far.

To combat the bland look, I tried strong wefts to overpower the warp colors, so the changes in the warp were mere suggestions rather than color changes. Nah, they looked dirty. Then I tried some of the colors in the warp, and two similar colors that didn't make into the final warp because they were either too saturated or different in value. Boring. The problem was, I kept thinking I've seen scarves like these before. In fact, I know I have.

Then it dawned on me that it's not only the warp that's bland, but point twill is also the problem; no matter how you dress it, point twill advancing in one way or another must have been done to death several thousand times over, and that's why regardless of what I try, they look so familiar, as if I'm imitating lots of someone else. It would take something truly spectacular to make this combination appear original, and now is not the time.

Just as a matter of habit, I sampled a couple of 60/2 wefts; I do this on almost all 20/2 cotton warps just to compare. It wove relatively quickly, and at 33EPI, it shows enough of the weave structure without suppressing the warp colors, but subduing slightly or uniting, depending on the weft color, and the washed cloth is very stable. I can live with this. I think I'll start with the top Wedgewood blue, (there are two in this piece, though it's hard to see the lower 1/3 is a pale white teal), and then study the sample piece under daylight and plan Scarves 2 and 3.

The edges look purple in the pic above, but it's closer to Wedgewood blue; the center is more browny yellow green. The warp pic at the top is pretty true on my monitor.

Gosh, even the pics look lackluster on days like these. I've been walking around the house imitating Alan Rickman's depressed robot. I don't even have the gumption to go over this post to tidy the tense; I'll just pretend that's a mechanism to convey my all-over-the-place-ness of the day. Night.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trapeze???

So, this is to weight down the warp while one winds, got it. I still have to wind it on the back beam. Is there an argument against having these things dangling at the back as I weave, I wonder?

And either way, how do the warp stay spread out?

I must admit to be a bit disappointed. Regarding winding, my stack-of-magazines-on-top-of-my-warp-on-top-of-old-carpet works OK, so I guess I don't see an urgent need to send B to the hardware store.

Never mind me, I'm having a underwhelming day.

Genius!!

Julia showed us the latest (3/08) VAV Magasinet at the Richmond Weavers meeting, and Pat got me the English edition of the issue from Canada. (I didn't know there were English editions - I use to get Swedish version with English inserts.)

Anyway, my eyes were glued to this little ad at the back. Does anyone weave like this, without the dreaded back beam? This just takes away a whole lot of heartache for me, to weight down the entire warp chain, instead of having to wind it. I've done this with supplementary warps, (I only have one warp beam), but I love the simplicity of it. AND the modification can be made at a relatively low cost; it's simple enough my man can do it in a few hours, with a bit of coaxing of course. He says our ceiling isn't high enough, but I don't mind having to undo the chains a bit more frequently.

Can anyone enlighten me as to the pros/cons of this method? In particular, I want to know how the warp stays spread out around the bottom beam-thing, along where I marked with the red arrow.

In addition to the links provided by Valerie in the comment section, finally, finally I understand what Kaz was on about way back in Jan 2007 here and here.

Sometimes the Universe Conspires Against Me

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean the universe isn't conspiring against me, you know. I set aside two days to get over the dental surgery, and two weeks on, I'm functional only half a day at a time. Nancy said it takes longer to recover as one gets older; does it ever!

So I have a wall I need to install in exactly two weeks (to the hour!) and I'll finish dressing the loom today; I can get three off of this warp, but boy, I'd like to weave five if I can. But I'm so underwhelmed by this particular warp I'm like a five-year-old who moves deliberately slowly when asked to pick up his room.

My babies from Westport should come home in time, so I'll have to use these as fillers. Thank you for the photo, Joan, (who is in the middle behind the blue skein looking to the left)!! I don't like recycling pieces from one exhibition to another; a couple of the Westport babies were at the Suter in August, so this is extreme rapid recycling, and I feel terribly ashamed about it, but at the rate I work, I may need to get used to it. As fillers, these don't fit the short promo blurb, (another hack job,) due yesterday, but I've got no time to worry!
"Bye Bye Blue Eyes"
This is a collection of cotton summer scarves, with a sea of Paul Newman's legendary blues, and a glance back at my life since a brief encounter with the star.
And then there's this other big thing. The New Zealand guild has a scholarship one can apply for on even number year, due 31 October. It covers tuition and travel to study something, and you can pretty much build your own program. I've been playing around with the idea since 2002, but never applied because I hadn't a sufficient body of work to enable me to focus and describe what I wanted to study. But reading Lynne's posts and reflecting on my danger-avoidance, back in June I decided to apply this year.

The details of the application process is sometimes like a state secret and I've only once been able to ascertain what needs to be included in the application package. However, I've had friendly pointers from past recipients so I thought I knew enough to give it a go.

This year, I started contacting powers-that-be about the application procedure on 23 September, and five persons later, still no official guff. Lorraine was able to tell me the official person was away so I might try another; Joan was able to give me past details but warmed me the requirements have changed recently and it's best to wait to hear the official version. Another official said she'd put something in the post, but nada as of today.

This kind of delays irritates the Japanese/American in me to no end, and further convinces me I'm in the wrong playground. It takes me weeks to create a convincing package for an application like this, (and by "like this" I mean, I've never, ever applied for art funding or scholarship before,) and I'm starting to feel, even if I got the guff in the mail today, I don't have enough time to put together a package and make sure it arrives at wherever in time. And it's been making me physically sick.

If it's my reputation as someone who can't finish things on time, fair enough, I concede, just say so. Or they're just playing with me because I'm hot-headed and like things done properly and timely, so they're having a good laugh, so be it. I may be "forgotten" because I'm not known to the powers-that-be, I don't work for any guild organization, (I only helped update the web site for five years), and don't win things at National or Area shows. So, not my turn, you know.

Chances are, they think two weeks is plenty of time, and because they're just passing the responsibility to the next person, they collectively don't know, and don't care enough to follow up, that I haven't got it yet. And nobody is going to own up to it. Sometimes posts form Nelson to the North Island take 10 days this side of 9/11, not that they care, meaning I would have liked to have posted the guff on Monday/Tuesday, but no way, no how, that's gonna to happen.

I can't 'stand this. I have to play with friends who nurture me and educate me. Enough silliness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dave Daniels!

In the wobbly footsteps of Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson, and moi, Dave Daniels (if I wrote it down correctly) turns 50 today. And that's all day Monday!

Happy Birthday, Dave. May your day be filled with colors, textures, warm hearts and yummy cake!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bruised

And I mean literally... My head is back to normal, as normal as that gets, but the swelling is still there and the bruising underneath is pretty bad. I start my job at the Red tomorrow. I rang Jay and told her, and offered to come another day, or she can send me home after she sees me, or I can work in the back room, but she said I'll be fine. I've finished most of the meds but still have Penicillin, which is playing havoc with my sinuses so I've a marathon-running nose, I cough, and I clear my throat like a construction worker about ever 30 seconds. Not a pretty sight.

Don't nobody come visit the Red on Monday.

(And we cleaned the house today. Halfway seriously for five hours. So the warp is not done. *&^%$!!!)

For Whom Do I Weave?

It's an annoying marketing question, isn't it.

I keep staring at a smallish print out of this draft from Friday and oscillate between the threading in the far left, and the third one from the right. All are 9-end points so I can finish making a warp, wind it on the loom and then decide, and that's exactly what I'll do.

I like the third from the right, trope as writ; it's unlike anything I've woven in recent years, at least that I can remember. I also like the bottom two on the far left threading, but the impression of these are too similar to many works I've seen in recent years. (Which tells you more about what kinds of things I've been looking at, but never mind.)

The warp I'm making has 5 colors and move from AAA-ABA-BAB-BBB and so on to Color E, then back again to A, so it's a gentle gradated look in gray-ish "raincoat" blues and greens, light to midway in value. No, nothing Randy or Fibby about it, and perhaps not as vivid as this pic. That's why I decided on the third-from-right threading; the color graduation is mild so I wanted to give it some umph in the structure. Even though the two threadings at the far left are probably more "appropriate", "suitable", textbook, for graduated coloring.

Which led me to something I think about occasionally. Who do we weave for? Do we weave to impress other weavers, including our menotors, or for that one collector who will be enthusiastici about adding my peice to her/his collection of handwoven scarves, or to a desparate gift-seeker? I wished my answer was a straight-forward: "Of course, to please me!", but the feeling is more layered. And theoretically this makes commission work easier, but it doesn't work that way, either!

Anyway, I have about half a day of measuring the warp to go, so plenty of time to contemplate yet.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Peter Collingwood

Peter Collingwood passed away on October 9.

I don't weave rugs, so I don't even own his seminal book, but my mom's longest and most endearing love was rug-weaving, until she could not beat hard enough any longer. Sadly missed.

Five Cones and a Dead Bee

That bee has been there a couple of days, but I've been ignoring him.

When I first learned to weave, or warp, rather, I read, and Mom told me, the warp yarn should be pulled up off the cone. Mom even sent me fancy hooks to put on the wall, but I thought I'd better plan where I drill the holes. Meanwhile, I tried all kinds of warping methods, and locations, and this always worked well.

Underneath the warping board is a wall-mounted heater which is the perfect height. In the winter it's nice and warm. Behind (in front of?) the board is the loo, and on warmer days I leave the door open. Depending on how big my motions are, I'm halfway in the loo! Our loo has a sky-tube ventilation whatsit, so on sunny days I need no additional light. (At night, however, I need the hallway light, the stairway light and the loo light.)

Terribly unsexy, but it's worked a treat, and so fat the hooks have stayed in the original wrapping.

Summer and Winter

Unlike my hallucinations on point twills, Leigh is doing an intelligent series of posts on Summer and Winter, starting here. I've always loved the little heart on Donna Sullivan's book, but haven't tried tried it yet. It's a two-shuttle weave, you know.

On Inspirations

I read somewhere this week that inspirations come from/through working; it was attributed to a well-known artist, but I can't remember to whom, or where I read it.

When I stick to one (or two or three) idea and keep working and developing it, I come up with what some may call inspirations which are like a leap in a step or thinking process. These, to me, are fruits of hard slog, so on the appreciation scale, they are between 60 and 75 out of 100.

Sometimes the physical motion of work, like warping, weaving or even ironing, brings on certain inspirations, and though I appreciate these, I have to interrupt whatever I'm doing to write these down. 25-85/100.

By far my favorite are the ones coming out of nowhere; the "a ha!" experiences. These are like gifts, free of cognitive charges. Sometimes these connect dots I hadn't noticed should/could be connected, sometimes they come from so far out the left field it's outside the ballpark, and I wonder about the origins for days, years.

I've had to learn to leave room for these spectacular gifts, and that was a hard slog. But sometimes I have the room now.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Block-Head

These twills are identical.
So either, I'm about to make a breakthrough on this point-twill-block thing, or wasting a lot of time in my drug-induced, hey fever-ridden (read: blocked nose) Friday afternoon strangeness. Most probably the latter.

OK, really off the computer now; I have to have a lie down, then start measuring the cotton warp for the wall. Have a good weekend, everybody, and sorry if you have one more day at work.

Point Twill Continued

























This is the post I started yesterday, meant to go before the previous one. And if you thought my previous post was inconclusive, this one is even worse!

On the right is a 7-end point twill, on the left is a 8-end one. "7-1" means it's a 7-end point twill with an 8-end point treadling. And so on and so on.

I've been staring at these for a week, trying to find a pattern in the number of design units (squares only, plus signs only, or squares and plus signs) and their sizes (uniform, or in two sizes)relative to odd/even numbers in their threading or treadling.

I think it's safe to say tromp as writ, the units come in two different sizes. With any N-end point twill, treading in (N-1) pick points produce only one design unit and they are in uniform sizes, but (N+1) pick points two different design units. Plus signs aren't really plus signs, but emerging squares, and it's all getting a little metaphysical for me. I know this is exactly what you wanted to learn on a blustery Friday afternoon.

Oops, missed the 1PM penicillin. Gotta go.

Here are possible cloths out of 4- to 10-end point twill in 2/2 in 4- to 10- pick point treadling, (is there such an expression?) if you can be bothered.

To Block or Not to Block

Hi, everyone. I've been sporadically playing around with point twills, but some of the medication puts me to sleep and I can't stay on one thought long enough to... ahhh... complete the thought. I'm so over this tooth thing, I can't wait to life a normal life, and get ready for my next wall. Besides, draft posts are clogging my space, and in fact, there's a draft post better placed before this one, but that's the way the cookie crumbles in life sometimes, isn't it?

Anyhow, this is what I've been wondering this morning: what's the difference between dividing 16 shafts into four sections of four shafts each vs. using the entire 16 as one set. I got the sense I was looking at block weave from the other side of the standard learning process.

The loom is, for argument's sake, 16 shafts, 16 treadles. The tie up is a combination of 4-shaft 1/3, 2/2, and 3/1 twills.
I'm threading a 9-end point twill, 9 being completely arbitrary. On the left I threaded in what to me is the normal manner, using shafts 1 through 9; on the right I'm using only four shafts, Shafts 1 though 4, to create a 9-end twill.
Perhaps one of the experienced weavers can tell me what constitutes a block weave, because I'm thinking it's either in the tie up, or in the threading, or both. Anyway, tromp as writ, you get either the top right cloth, or the bottom left one.
Now I'm advancing the twills by 4 shafts, (because the tie-up is in 4-shaft units) and trope as writ, we get these. In top right, it's obvious I have used point twills in different proportion of warp and weft, therefore the different colors. At bottom left, because the threading already breaks the the 4-shaft "rule" of the tie-up, the change in color is a little less distinct.
Finally, I'll advance the twills by 1 and weave as drawn in, they look like this. Here, both threading breaks the 4-shaft tie-up rule, so the changes in colors are gradual in both instances.
You really didn't expect me to analyze the difference between 9-end point twills today, I hope; perhaps you could do it for me. I hope you enjoyed the wee slide show, though, and I've got a start of a gamp draft!