Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cloths I Like and Cloths I Make

There are types/styles of cloths I love/admire, and then cloths I like to make, and they don't necessarily overlap. Because I often speak in hyperbole, I'm often mistaken to like only the types I make.

I love, but for now can't working with, or may never want to work with:

* All my life I've been smitten by old-fashioned Jacquard; think drapes and upholsteries in European castles and palaces.  If I can get my hands on a loom, I would in a snap. 
* Textured cloth; I love smart use of boucles, sometimes the different shrinkage pieces and woven pleats.
* Hand-manipulated techniques on the loom.
* Well-executed plain weave, but I'm super fussy about them. And I can't define what makes it "well-executed", because some have been accidental, or just nicely-aged.
 * Embroidered work; I'm a real sucker for embroidery and beading, particularly old-fashioned motifs, especially florals or work in one color.
* Cut-lace work and tatting.
* Braids and tassels as embellishments to cloth, but not on their own. 
* Interestingly dyed cloth: Ikat, warp-paints, shibori; intentional or accidental.  Ikat is deeply in the "Thank goodness someone does it" group.
* Tapestry weaving.  Seriously, "Thank goodness someone does it" territory.    
* Quilts; I'm a real sucker for quilts. But not Afghan blankets. (Afghans are cookies in New Zealand.)
* Crocheted- and bobbin-laces to some extent. 
* Some felt work, but I'm fussy about them. 
* Occasional mixed media work, depend often on color schemes and subjects, but I don't see them as textiles.

I love to make:

* Smooth cloth/flat cloth/some shiny cloth as in using silk, mohair.
* Cloth of textural interest but still relatively flat, e.g. merino-with-scale warp and merino/mohair weft, which could be interpreted as cloth with great contrast in the sheen.  Sheen can also be created with color combination, e.g. my gold yellow mercerized cotton with teals, pale blues and pale greens. 
* Cloth with weave-structure interest.
* Deceptively simple/deceptively complicated cloth.  This includes the cluster of structures that appear three-dimensional because of the use of colors, e.g. A-B-A-B.
* Cloth in analogous colors.
* Gray, navy blue, purple, red or orange cloth or cloth with gold yellow in it.
* Color changes through supplementary warps and wefts; warps changing shafts mid-cloth.
* Also like learning about or looking at pattern making, book binding and basket weaving, but have never done much beyond learning/looking. 

And something that moved from the first category to the second:

* Cloth with many colors, including, complementary colors.

Goodness, I often wonder why I like certain things but wouldn't want to make them, but never listed them up like this before. (Yes, permit me to insert the phrase of the week.)  Gosh, darn.

Do you have this... discrepancy? Do you have a list of textiles you like somewhere I can read?

EDIT: I've had this mental list for as long as I have been weaving, but I decided to finally "write" it down in response to Ronnie's "Why?" questions to my rapid-fire "Yes, no, yes, no, no, no." calls on what I will allow myself to do, in this instance how textiles were hung.  By making the list, I found out I like to make pretty cloth and show the cloth, and not create something else, (e.g. sculptures,) using cloth to express/show something else.  So, the cloth is not (a) vehicle/tool/material/incidental for/to me, but the end product.


  1. How very interesting to see your two lists. I know that I have mental lists of things which interest me vs things which don't and the "things which interest me" list is often misinterpreted -- mainly by my mother! -- as things which I want to do or want to own, when I simply want to observe and admire. It would be quite a challenge to make my lists concrete, but you're setting me a good example.

  2. I had this mental list for almost as long as I have been weaving, but never tried to put into words or on "paper" and it was harder than I thought. And at least for me, there is more than the time constraint as to why I don't want to try making everything; some cloth just renders to pleasurable planning for me, whereas others, not so much.

  3. I also have mental lists of things I like and admire but would not want to even attempt to make myself ... and things I do want to attempt or learn how to do someday in the course of making my own artwork. That second list is mostly made up of techniques I want to learn in order to make something look like I want it to look, like the vision I have in my head. I am very aware that my time in this life is limited and I can't "do everything" so I edit myself whenever I find myself seeing something that really inspires me and there is a voice in my head that says, "Maureen, wouldn't that be cool to do?" Not. There simply isn't enough time to do everything. Besides there are so many awesome amazing artists already doing this or that. My biggest problem is focusing.
    I love your lists, btw.

  4. Even within the realm of weaving, there are so many techniques and aesthetics and it's amazing what people, individually and collectively, make. Then there are techniques so difficult and time-consuming, (Ikat, my goodness!) I just can't be bothered. But the big thing is, there are works that rely on the makers' aesthetics that I can't fathom attempting/emulating, which makes weaving, and all art/craft/life, so varied and interesting, and I'd rather enjoy others' creations than, well, try to emulate. And as you say, there is so llittle time, and I'd rather delve into the depth of a few things than try out everything, because in my office work life, that's all I was allowed to do and I found it soul-destroying.


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