Sunday, July 31, 2011

Calling All Hands

This is another one of those linky stuff I thought up just now. I hope you are keen.

Anytime on Saturday, August 13, take a picture of your hand/s; spinning, knitting, weaving, baking, reading, holding your child's/grandchild's/long-time-love's hand/s, whatever. It doesn't have to be craft-related. Post one pic somewhere and send me a link or send one JPG to me. Also, give me a title or description of yourself; whatever best describe how you saw yourself as at the moment the photo was taken, i.e. "Mama, Yarn collector, Weaver, Neighborhood Weaving Teacher". (I just made that up; I'm not sure what how she sees herself nowadays.)

We make things with our hands: old hands, young hands, skinny hands, plump hands, smooth buffed hands, and scarred used hands. Let's celebrate that. (Or, is it "them"?)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Musing, or Stream of Not-So-Consciousness

We stayed up much too late last night watching reruns of TV shows we don't necessarily like.  You know how it goes; Ben reading photography fora while kind of listening to the TV, me playing repetitive games while thinking I should at least be knitting or unravelling my sweater if not going to bed or reading.  While I massage my arm because it's getting RSI from the game.

While still in bed this Saturday morning way past what can sanely be called "sleeping in late", with my head hanging down from my side of the bed, (crucial,) I reflected on how relaxed I feel about Art/Craft discussions lately, and I know it is (partly?) due to these things.

A) I am convinced loom-woven textiles can be art.  More precisely, some woven cloth can easily sit on the art (or whatever term you prefer at the respected) end of the continuum.  For me, such pieces require uniqueness, (as opposed to mass-production,) technical expertise on the part of the maker and well-crafted-ness of the work, (a must; concepts badly executed are not art but intentions,) and an extra umph, but I haven't grasped what this last one is.  And for me, it heps if the final work is also pretty   I am convinced truly worth work don't need to be explained to skeptics to be included/permitted to take place at the "art" end; I think there is a kind of absolute in this area that transcend culture/history/region/fashion, but I'm not 100% on this yet.   

B) By my own criteria, I have not only not woven anything anywhere near what I deem "art", nor can envision something I could weave, with proper additional knowledge, technique, and gumption, yet.  Knowing this has freed me from disgruntlement/entitlement from my past real/perceived/forecasted exclusion.

C) On the other hand, criticism/popularity, saleability, and inclusion in exhibitions are relative and sometimes political.  It depends on persons involved, their group dynamic, number of submissions/competition, platforms, (galleries, region/country/history, ethnicity of parties concerned, publication/program,  and much more,) and fashion.  As regards exhibitions, I've come to believe briefs and statements by organizers/selectors/juries/judges are at best their intentions, escape clause, a construct, which may or may not have any bearing on the final shape of the exhibition.  I say this not bitterly, but in summing up my personal experiences and numerous discussions with writers, musos and artists for half a dozen years.  It appears, further, book and music awards appear to pander to popular taste, whereas in visual arts, surprise- or shock-value plays a more noticeable role. 

If I were to practice what I preach, I should strive to make good work, have unerring faith in what I make and submit, and when excluded, shrug the experience off knowing it's "their" bad taste/judgment/loss.  They couldn't even see the work's worth based on A). Life would be so carefree; I'll stop analyzing every single word and every space between then in every brief seeking, a way to meet the brief to the letter. As a maker, there would be more integrity to my work if I could stick to my beliefs.

* * * * *

A string of unrelated human interactions in the last, oh, month have brought out my misanthropy to the fore; well, it's more the acute reminder I don't feel comfortable in my interaction with people and I waste a lot of time to performance anxiety.  More on that another time, but I now recognize a recurring theme in my psyche and a possible concept I can work on for a long, long time.  It is appearance vs intention, or outside vs inside, or my/others' perception of the outer me and my actions vs my intentions/perceptions of myself.  It's loaded; it has to do with being Japanese, having grown up in two very different places; having parents and teachers with expectations, some of which don't go nicely with the grown-up me's values; Minnesota vs New Zealand, etc, etc, etc.

I often ponder about blogging/Internet where we are the hosts of our own little universes and the main (and sometimes only) protagonists.  You can't refute that we gradually surround ourselves with yes-friends, because people who don't like us or our work will not comment or not read or unlike or unfollow and eventually go away.  I'm not saying gatherings of like-minded people are not good; no, not at all.  But there is the potential to see a skewed view of one's place in the world, I think, especially if one never knew one's place in the world like I never knew; the value and the right-ness of one's opinions; how to deal with disagreements; and for weak-minded persons like myself, it filters into the real world.  Because all of you are as real to me as Ben right here. 

While I love your comments here and on Facebook, sometimes I have this out-of-body experience of watching me get paranoid, overreact, or feel down. This is also one potential symptom of my mild-to-moderate depression, and I'm mindful I've been seeing a lot of this this week.  I've also noticed my clincher symptom yesterday; my eyes aren't open all the way, and I keep doing this thing where I raise eyebrows, (same as the South Pacific greeting,) to try to widen by vision.  Not good.   

Earlier in the year I thought I pretty much wasted my life from early 2003 to almost the end of 2010 to depression, though not continuously because I also had my most productive stretch during this time. I was seeing the light in living with mild-to-moderate depression as I learned more about it and me when I have it.   I've too many pre-made warp chains so I'm determined to not go down that path. 

Then I think of getting old.  I know one day I'll look back and reminisce about my 53-year old self, remembering, (or imagining,) the energy, ambition, and plans, but right now, while I'm here, I don't have enough energy, I can't seem to utilize my gray sells like I used to, and what I fear most is my ambitions for my weaving have shrunk so much I can't remember what they were.  Sometimes I read my blog to remind me what I had hoped to do and what I did, and then recalibrate my ambitions.  And let's not get started on forgetting words!

So, where was I?  I think what I was thinking this morning was that I need to tighten my belt and try not to waste so much time.  Having fun is one thing, but thinking I should be doing something while doing something else I'm not particularly enjoying is silly. 

I think that's where I was going with this. 


A few weeks ago of a Tuesday afternoon, Colleen Plank showed me some woven samples, weaving records, and one or two students' scrapbooks from their days of the weaving school.  Nelson Polytechnic's weaving school was apparently famous throughout New Zealand in the 80's but by the time I arrived it'd been long closed. I don't even know its official name, but it is referred to as The Weaving School.  I've never been able to find out much about it on the Internet, but since I know quite a few alumni and/or ex-tutors, I may need to write down some of what they tell me, since nobody seems to have done it yet.  The only thing I know is a German weaver named Anna Correa-Hunt headed it. Her warping mill and everything left at the Polytech, (NMIT, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology since 2000,) have now been donated to the Nelson Provincial Museum.  And Colleen knows who owns Anna's loom which happily it's still in Nelson.

For a long time I lamented the closure of the school because I though I would have loved to attend it. But looking at the samples students were required not only to weave but to file properly, I can guess at the rigidity of the course and while it might have suited my thinking, I might have gotten very bored with weaving itself.  And I would not have made the cut looking at the technical exactitude required to pass.

Colleen, an alumnus herself, said her classmates who attempted art/conceptual expression using weaving as a technique, (and there were a few vanguards even back then,) and she recalled some of the best "artists" in her year could not graduate.

Most samples, (and there were many, many twills,) were woven in wool or cotton.  Some wool yarns were amazingly skinny singles, the kind I have not seen sold since I started weaving in 1995.  There were also skinny hand-spun wool yarns. In general, they were coarse, and today may suit overcoats or picnic blankets, possibly upholstery and curtains, but not scarves or shawls. There were far more colors than I had imagined, as I imagined only natural sheep.  There was a huge dye component in the curriculum.  

I found two tiny swatches of loom-woven, extremely-fine cotton cloth which incorporated card weaving.  Colleen tried to explain how it was done but I couldn't even begin to see the picture, and our own Rose Pelvin, who knows everything, declined to demonstrate it for me!  Anyway, have a look!  I almost asked if I could keep them!
Above is my favorite because it has design interest in the "background" cloth as well.  But the next three pictures were taken from one swatch; it had three warp-wise stripes using different card designs and colors, and as a weaver, I could not help myself exclaiming a few polite but exclamatory words. 

Tradition vs innovation has been on my mind. I don't spend much time with Marketing exercises these days, but I find they help when I want to place myself on my imaginary spectrum of art/craft weaving continuum, or take my perception of others' expectation to see "Japan" in my work in stride.  Most of all, I am most pleased I was not taught in a traditional weaving environment; else I would have either lost interest in the pursuit of beauty/pretty, or failed technically.  

In the course of looking up the Weaving School, I found this link, "The Evolution of New Zealand Textile Artists - A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Resources". I've not looked at it yet in any depth, but to some it could be a stroll down memory lane.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Heard on Radio New Zealand's "Nights" program: a brief opener on the arts/craft discussion. It's inoffensive, whichever side of the fence you sit/stand/sleep on. Scroll down to Arts/Visual Arts, at 20:40.  Here and here are a couple of the exhibitions they referred to. (And yes, in a country where the two main islands are called "North" and "South", our public broadcaster has programs such as "Nine to Noon", "Afternoons" and "Nights".  I love the simplicity.)

* * * * * 

I have a friend in Japan who blogs about the hardship her family is having with her mother's mind deteriorating.  She writes a lot about what she reads on the matter, and yesterday she discussed doing physical things people used to do, that even if dementia (for want of a better term) is advanced, having them do physical activities they are used to improve their conditions or prevent further deterioration, albeit briefly. I knew about this, but I was surprised to read a calligraphy teacher, an occupation I hardly thought physical, being handed a brush, ink well, and paper, became lucid and instantly started acting professionally.

Kath calls it "muscle memory".  I notice I do a lot of things around my looms without thinking because my body knows, and more so on my two foot looms which I use more often than my table looms.  I definitely need to weave more so my muscles remember the motion; Kath promised if she finds me vacant and lost, she will sit me at my loom and hand me a shuttle.

When Kath came over for a cuppa yesterday, I had been working downstairs and so the basement was warmer and we sat in the basement together for the first time. I discovered my tiny "Big Loom Threading" chair had a pocket and a cup holder.  The pocket is under the seat, so not that accessible, but I can so use the cup holder.  I think I bought this chair about... 2008?

* * * * *

I've also been unravelling. No, really. Some years ago I read on Bonnie's blog that she and her Mom took apart cashmere sweaters, and I can't remember if she wove or knitted with them.  Anyway, I never had the heart to throw away two cashmere sweaters which were beyond the end of their lives; the gray one I really really liked, and the navy has such sentimental values.  I started trying to pick at the gray one a week ago without much success; had I more knowledge of the construction of commercial machine-knit garments, it might have been easier, but I stayed with it.
I see mending is big in quilt/stitching/sewing right now.  I don't see a connection between my recycling and that current conceptual trends, but I love the color and the texture of these sweaters, so it/they will be nice when I finally get around to making something for myself.  

Beauty is in the Eyes of The...

I was surprised to find myself liking Holly's far left towel in the first picture best of the three, even though I could see the other two were more "accurate" color representation of the original photo.  And it didn't matter to me, ecause I knew the picture was only a starting point, and in fact I admired how the towel of my choice is unlike the other two; it looked to me as if Holly was freer in her thinking.

So why can't I apply the same principles in my project, I don't know.  The images I have of what my finished product should look like is still so darn close to the original pics. 

Esmae is in town, and we're meeting for coffee sometime soon-ish.  I was thinking of what I'd like to show her in person, and then I realized I have done some moving away from the original pics.

I went from these pics, to this, and this, some of these, and then these on the one hand, and this on the other. Many are just mechanical, I feel I haven't gone far enough, (because most have been attempts to reproduce the original lines rather than make something of my own,) and I can't for the life of me see any connection between these and what might be woven on my loom, but it is time I give myself half a pat on the back.

There, there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More of the Same but Less than Yesterday

I finished the first scarf, and at that moment, decided to weave a whole warp of teal and navy scarves, all with slight variation in color, sheen and yarn size.  I got started on the second one, but from this warp, I'll again get four or five scarves, and after weaving about 5cm of the second, I'm not so sure, because it sounds like a boring idea.
The color in the photos are still pretty bad, (I took 30+ today), but this is better than yesterday's.  And don't you just hate it when you have 3cm to go and run out of wefts? 

I'll let you in on a secret; besides being the color of the sea around here, teal is the absolute favorite color of The Suter Gallery shop manager Andrea.  I long wove scarves to suit the image of the Red Gallery and Jay's taste, and back in March I thought I could pander to Andrea's taste for a change, little knowing that by the time I got to this warp, Red would be no longer Jay's.  Me, I like dark teal in small portions, alongside golds and purples, (the "jewel" colors?) but it's not in and of itself a fav of mine.

I saw a perfect description of how I was feeling before I started weaving this Log Cabin series. Cecily is a hoot at best of times, but sometimes she is so spot on I wonder if she spies on me from time to time.
©Celia Allison; posted with permission.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Weaver is In

I got tired of being a weaver who thinks, writes and talks about weaving more often than she weaves, so I got on to it this morning: I started on the two Log Cabin warps I made back in March!  Below is a strange picture, though, because this piece is made up of two dark teals and two navies, but the bigger problem was, no matter which light I turned on/off, or from what angle I looked, I couldn't see the squares and the rectangles, until much later in the afternoon when the sunlight came in from low angle.  And then, I could sort of see the shapes; the vertical lines are easier, but the horizontal, I could just be imagining...

I love navy blues, from almost purples on one end to indigo on the other.  In Japan, and many other places I've visited like Hawaii and Tonga, the sea is navy blue of different values, almost black blue before a storm.  Around New Zealand, the sea is greener, more like dark blue teal in the winter, blue on very cold days; but in the summer it turns a very milky white teal.  I'm told it has to do with the number/amount of algae.   

I feel silly describing the teal-colored sea when the picture I've got is a sad-looking gray piece in progress.  The teal in the linked photo also looks desaturated.  I'm going to have to do something about this. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

P2P2 Interspersed with Life

*** This is one of my typical chronological, mishmash post. Just look at the pictures if you're interested only in P2P2 ***

Last Monday I did a lot of housework while thinking what else I could do with my P2P2 stuff, short of weaving a tiny standy uppy thingie in the Canoe pic colors, but showing the Grand Canyon pic contours.

Last Tuesday, while doing more housework, I walked around the area of the living room where all the P2P2 stuff sits, sometimes picking up and looking at the tubes. I tried to feel joy, but my mind had different ideas; I liked the layered look on the surface of the tubes. (I may come to regret saying that, though.) I tried to fight what I already know, that the inevitable next step is to weave a tiny standy uppy thingie in the Canoe pic colors, but showing the Grand Canyon pic contours. I don't mind the actual work, but I'm resisting taking the next step because I feel divided loyalty because I think it's not the kind of weaving I want to do. I don't want to find out that the step after the tiny thingie is a bigger one, i.e. a decorative, non-utilitarian weaving.

Anyhoo, just in case I needed to know a bit about the techniques, I rang Mom to discuss inlay, and Pat to discuss tapestry.  I first wanted to have a closer look at the shapes, so I turned the photo into a negative, thinking all the outlines will come out white, and all the shapes in black.  This is what I expected the B side to look like if I did weave a tiny thingie in tapestry technique or a simplified version of it in a tied weave.
WRONG! A color photo tuned into a negative is... nothing like that. So then turning the original line drawing into a negative is what I needed to do?
Wrong again, but this helps me a little.

Then, figuring I can't be bothered working with all the contours regardless of the technique, I tried to identify significant/outstanding lines and shapes from the drawing. Last week, half a dozen sessions of trying to isolate small areas of interest with two L-shapes came to naught. I mean, it is Grand Canyon after all; you can’t expect me to find a 2cm square on which to base a design based on GC!
Behind the window where all the pieces of paper were taped, someone was trying to send me a message.  Is it "+" or "x"???

I woke up sick on Wednesday, but I was expecting my plumber in the afternoon, so I cleaned the kitchen, had a shower, set the alarm and went back to bed. Then Nigel the Plumber came so I got up and tried to make the best of it, so I spun.

Thursday I woke up still sick, so I made several kinds of hot drinks and breakfast, and took those, the tiny TV and everything to do with P2P2 in the bedroom, but I didn’t do much. Friday was the same.

The weekend was spent discovering the outside leak had not been fixed completely, and after much digging by Ben, (sometimes by hand because the pipes were in such a strange arrangement,) and much, much discussion with the neighbors, a viable conclusion was reached. Because I’m the “coordinator”, I couldn’t stop regurgitating and rehearsing the conversations to come, and even speculating on future objections.  I hate it when I do that.  Most of Sunday I worked on the Festival blog, playing DVDs to stop the chatter.

Inside our gave, next to our meter, but the fixed part (silver) is actually not ours, but the neighbors' water main; a typically Nelson quirk. 

Insomnia, again, so I’ve been making simple drafts at night. On the same warp, I hope to weave Tim’s, Mrs Bone Carver’s, (an overdue art swap) and Mom’s – I’m talking her into forgetting the hearts and going for a weaver theme, but this one still needs something, probably simplification. 

And, whoa, it’s Monday again. We woke up to possibly the lowest (in altitude) snow we’ve ever seen in Nelson, started the fire, Brent the Plumber knocked at 8:10AM, he finished at around 11AM; City Council guy happened to come and inspect the former leak at around 2, (happy with the results,) at long last, I got Mrs Plumber so I could explain how the bill is to be divided.  Technically for the last hour I’ve been free of the leak problem, but the chatter in the head keeps going. I hate it when I feel sorry for myself like this, when in real life far worse things are happening.  (Without going into details, if you pray, please include two P2P2 members* who are facing illnesses in the family.)  I'm trying not to let my perception of our neighbors depress me. I got stew on the fire and first attempt at sourdough starter sitting on Kilk loom. 

Some years ago, a former motorcycle-gang-member-turned-successful-youth-worker said on the radio, "Get off the cross; we need the wood." I keep telling myself that.

*Make that three.  Goodness, I hope it has nothing to do with P2P2.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Weavers' Draft

If I told you this is a draft I started working on late last night, (or early this morning,) for my mother, my first weaving teacher, will you see some images that may mean something? I think it means more to the both of us than a modified hearts scarf, but I don't think this is the final version just yet.

Insomnia Draft: "City Lights"

What is a weaver to do, in the very wee hours, when she can't sleep?  Why, make up drafts that needed making up?  This one I'd like to call "City Lights", woven with black or dark gray warp and perhaps a pale yellow left.  It's winter here, and we're having a few cold (for Nelson) weeks.  Further south it's snowing, further north it's raining.  Here, is a mix of sun, cloud and some showers.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I told Andrea on Friday that while I'm enjoying my experiments, I'm really stuck and have no idea where to go next.  The divine well of inspiration has dried up for the time being.  I have started to panic a little because if I am going to weave something, I would like to decide what I'm going to weave, and most importantly for me, start experimenting with weave structures on the computer and on the loom.

My head has been beautifully and impossibly devoid of direction and preferences.  To which Holly responded on Facebook: 'Meg, don't panic...remember rule #8: "How far you take the project depends on you. You could weave and have a finished piece, or go as far as determining the yarn, the set and the draft, or come up with a bunch of drawings and alternative project ideas.'  I would laugh, but I have been contemplating this these last couple of days, and it feels utterly lame as the host of the challenge, but I might have to consider the possibility.

But it's not because I've been lazy...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When My Way is Not the Only Right Way

No, I don't have this problem in weaving, thank goodness, thinking my way is the only right way, especially as regards creative process. I like to hear what/how others do.

Pat, for a long time, was a tapestry weaver and a successful one at that.  Discussing how we design, I observed she designs her Ikat pieces like she does tapestries.  No wonder she's so frustrated with her beautiful samples! It's hard to manipulate dye as precisely as you might the colors in tapestries. Armed with this observation, I'm wonder what she'll do next.

Observing my P2P2 process, Pat felt she decides her "final" product too quickly.  She thinks of a designs, and voila, she's dyeing, putting on the dyed warp, and soon she has another sample.  This is similar to how Mom works, and they are both prodigious weavers.  That I decide on the final product too early is what I'm told repeatedly in design workshops, so I've been training myself to slow down, and I'm silently pleased I've managed to do it after a few years. 

That doesn't mean I think Pat should emulate me; her processes, as regards tapestry, has worked very well; Andrea said, if I remember correctly, Pat has great instincts for composition. So while I enjoy my powwow with Pat, and we are bound to influence each other, I hope I don't unduly influence her.  I'm too stubborn to be influenced into doing something I don't want to.

Andrea came over on Friday and among other things I showed her my P2P2 so far, and she told me about how she designed one of her work I know well.  Andrea's work is inspired by her anger, at war, at domestic abuse, and the like.  Her work is an expression of her responses/reactions.

What's been interesting to me about my recent process is it hasn't been based on ideas or contents but that it's been about techniques, how I may express an idea. Not that it matters at this juncture, but I don't think this is how design textbooks teaches designs; I think we are supposed to start with an idea to express, and then try out different techniques and examine which best suits the expression.  And so on and so on.

Not knowing where I'm going with all this thinking and experiments is a little scary, and a whole lot exciting.  And there is always a chance I won't be able to design anything, or heaven forbid, end up designing and weaving something ugly!  

What I told Pat is, at least if we take our time, exploring a whole lot of possibilities, if Plan A doesn't work, we have a short distance to back track to think up Plan B.  I hope it's true. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Going Back on my Words

My conversation with Pat continues, and I decided to do something I thought of the other day.

I went through the filtered photos in Flickr, picked the ones I liked, and further selected ones that may be weavable as cloth.  Here were the four I liked, and I can see these woven in multi-colored warps.  Kind of. 
Then I went back to the black and white Grand Canyon drawing, and made three slightly different versions. 
Then I printed the three drawings on one sheet, and one of the color schemes on top of the drawings. The colors are approximate; the lovely indigos you see above changes into ink blue when it goes through the scanner, and there's a whiteness, but you get the general idea.  (Again, if you look at these from below, the colors look marginally better.)
This last one, I put in the paper the wrong way the second time, so the sky in the drawing appears in the orange side, but I doesn't matter ant more.  

The problem is, I'm not sure what I was expecting; the coloring yesterday gave me better ideas, almost.  But these sheets are prettier.  The only good thing is I won't have to die wondering what they'll look like. And I need to learn to fine-tune the scanner.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Yeah, one whole day of it, including half an hour of standing in front of a pot of boiling water.
First attempt: I tried to use the Canoe photo colors the best I could with the water color pencils I had.  This one still maintains a lot of the shapes I see in the photo.  It almost looks like a floating island in the sky, and either side can be the top. 
Then I tried to use the proportion of colors as close to the Canoe photo as I could remember.  In retrospect, the original photo has more browns, but I didn't remember that at the time. Because of the values, different parts of the canyon is seen clearly.  
I had enough of the orange and indigo combination, so I tried something else altogether; I imagined I was using my 2/20 cottons and used colors I might want to use in a scarf.  I can still see the Grand Canyon contours I've come to know well.   
This is the last and only "anything goes" version.  I also used regular color pencils in addition to water color pencils. It's a mess and the areas I like the most are the analogous areas. 
Today was more a waste of time than rewqrding. I'm allowed to say that, yes?  I think doing many versions, (I aim for half a dozen to a dozen of most experiments,) is not always the right way to go. I was bored and tired after the second sheet, and by the fourth version, I couldn't even see the delicate differences in the purples. 

I never enjoyed coloring as a kid, plus it took about an hour for each of these.  And then I remembered that originally I was going to print the contours on drawing or water color papers, but I forgot and printed them on regular cartridge paper, so there was a limit to what I could do.  

I used water color pencils because I have a hard time mixing paint to get colors I'm after, but then I remembered I also have a hard time wetting water color pencil marks. In the past I've tried brushes, paper towel, sea sponge, and fingers, but regardless the pigments seem to collect in one area leaving the rest pale and watery. Today, I tried steaming from the wrong side, then the right, but after 25 minutes at the stove, I saw an ever so slight hint of change on the surface. Then I stumbled upon my broken plant mister, so that's what I used, over and over and over again. That was a good stress relief.

I'm not sure if I learned anything from the day's experiments.  Other than water color pencils still being a difficult medium to use if I want saturated color areas.  And that Grand Canyon upside down looks a little like a mountainous island.

Up to Now

I'm not bothered by my recent Not-Sure-Where-I'm-Going-with-This-ness, which surprises me. It could be a total waste of time, or it can take me to unknown and unexpected (exciting) places. And I know it can't be a bad thing in the long run.  But we are approaching the halfway point of P2P2, and I need to narrow down my choices to that end.

Yesterday I had tea with Pat; the cafe had to close at 4, so we only had an hour, but we discussed so many things I'm still regurgitating our discussions.  Pat is a member of The Group, so she has October 2012 in sight, but I'm never sure the experiments are for P2P2 only, The Group's exhibition, both, or neither.  I first needed to summarize what I've done.

First there was the spinning and knitting of hats.  I thought I was engaged in a grand color-mixing experiments, but during knitting I wondered if I could knit/weave a rectangular piece, wet-finish it stiffly enough so when turned into a cylinder, it would stand up on its own.  But as it turned out my two wooly pieces couldn't stand on their own, and they turned out to be not cylinders, but flat or oblong (when seen from the top), which I like.  The experiment also also gave me a chance to look at cloth from radically different angles. 

And then there was the P2P2-specific work, with massive amounts of photo manipulation and a few drawings, which led me to thinking I should try Japanese paper collage, not cutting but tearing paper, and coloring in the drawings.

Last night, still basking in the Spoke-with-Pat warmth, I decided I would like to see what happens if I combined the two (separate ?) experiments. Looking back, I think I connected the vertical cloth, even a cylinder, with Grand Canyon, and though I am still attached to different aspects of other photos, I think Grand Canyon's contours and shapes, and the memory of our trips, have been on my mind the most, and I can still use the Canoe photo colors.  I think sooner or later, I will have to try a small-scale wooly-standy-uppy thing in this vein.

And still, I'm glad this is just P2P2, because in the "long" run, I'm not interested in 3D or sculptural pieces; I still aim to be a cloth weaver, not an objet d'art maker. On this matter, Pat told me to keep my mind open.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

By Request

Here are better images of the two doodles I did, what I call quick blind contours. They were done in gold, silver and bronze gel pens, but the gold, my fab, started to create blobs rather than smooth lines halfway through the Grand Canyon.

After scanning these, I tried to make the lines stand out more but this is the best I could do without changing the character of the drawings too much. Any amount of tampering and the silver lines disappears. Perhaps if you click and enlarge, you get a slightly better view. On my monitor, you see the lines better if you crouch down and look up at the enlarged pictures.

I did enjoy Grand Canyon, as the contours were easier to identify, I saw the ship rocks, and there are a few other little things I noticed that I must have filed away in the subconscious part of my brain.  Though I got increasingly frustrated with the gold pen and felt I had to move on.  I would have liked to stay with this longer; I might get stuck in again.

I found the "contours" of the clouds impossible. I think I foresaw this and flipped the original photo upside down, (which sometimes helps me shed my preconception of an image,) from the start. Towards the end I concentrated on a small area at a time, so the contours don't overlap, and the sizes/proportions vary a great deal. The softness of the contours is why I thought tearing and collaging of soft paper would better depict what I see.  I still don't like this and not sure what to make of it.

The halfway point of P2P2 is approaching and I've been thinking I really ought to focus on one image.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

All in a Day's Work (And it wasn't Much)

It's a little pathetic the length to which I'll go to avoid "messy" materials such as glue, paint, charcoal or pastels, but there you have it; I didn't want to deal with the cleaning up this weekend.  I thought of lots of different ways to work with my many direction-less ideas, I only did the clean and easy stuff.
The shape of the mountains/trees in the Canoe/Picnic photo above can be repeated to create textile-y designs, suggestive of shibori techniques.  Using the sky half of the shadow yields crisp/clear shapes, whereas repeating the reflections in the water creates a slightly fuzzier, warmer images. (And if I were to shibori-dye something, I predict my cloth will look more like the second image, unless I am able to sew or clamp or whatever the resist very tightly.)
But it is the hues, values and the proportion that I adore most about this photo, and I played around first with a couple of color scheme-related programs I found online, (check under Tools).
The first one I found was called "ColorSchemer Studio", and the 15-day trial pack was easy to download, but I don't really understand the program and I saved this file but could not bring it back up even though the files existed, so I had to reload this photo several times.

I haven't read the instructions/descriptions, but I could pick out up to 10 spots, (see the circles?) and the program would show me the colors in the boxes at top left, but A) I don't think the colors in the boxes are an exact match, B) the boxes cannot be moved so you can't have anything important in that area, and C) there was nothing to indicate anything about proportions. 

The second soft I found was Photocopa. It pick out its own areas, but as you can see in the top right area that the photo contains not only a variety of values for orange and browns but of indigo as well, and this program was a little more useful for me.  Though without reading much about them, I'm not sure if/how I will make the most of these applications.

Having had ho-hum results from these, I started to use the filter function in my photo editor to create different expressions of an elongated version of the photo. 
There's more here, and I hope to do several more of these in the next couple of days.  The purpose of these treatments was to understand what kind of mood I'm after, so I can determine what shape the final piece will take, what material to use, and what was important in selecting the weave structure. 

I also had a slightly sneaker intention, too.  I liked the 3-colored quick blind contour drawing I did of the Grand Canyon photo, and I wondered if I could reduce it into black outlines and superimpose it on these images above.   The outline part was surprisingly easy.
But I'm not sure what I would have accomplished if I stretched this and lay it on top of the canoe colors.  I think a better way is to use different media and color in copies of this page.

EDIT: I forgot to show you the funniest stuff of the day.
The Monsoon Clouds pic, converted into B/W then "filtered" with a "cut out" option, i.e. electronic collaging.  What a cheat!
Here I exaggerated the contrast so I can see more details of the shapes of the clouds before turning the photo into a B/W, then using the same "cut out" gadget.  And I do like these.