Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Next?

With P2P2 over and now both arms tingling and bunged up, I can describe, in three ways, how I'm feeling just now. 

Yesterday morning, as I finally decided what I could show you in the Big Reveal, we had spectacularly thick fog in Nelson. We get this about three times a year, and I like it, but it was symbolic. I was certain the bay and the town and the hills beyond still existed, but I couldn't see them.

Now imagine a previously caged animal pacing in circles after it has been released into a facsimile natural habitat. If you are old enough to remember tiny concrete-and-metal cages in zoos, you get the picture. The whole "design" experience finds me restricted in my own invisible cage, and I now know there is a big world out there, but I haven't found a way to stop pacing in circles.

And a quote I found in Julia Cameron's "Walking in This World", which strangely always gives me much comfort: "It's like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."  E. L. Doctorow.

* * * * *

I'm relieved once again I managed to finish my bit of a project almost just in time, a project I started and hosted; I'm still horrible like that. The thought of looking at everybody's results is exhilarating, but then I always feel a little sad when the temporary merry band of weavers, well, disband.  

* * * * *

In two months, we're off to three weeks of family time in Japan. Yesterday morning, I realized in the shower there is a chance I won't be able to weave before I leave.  I'll get over it.  Soon. I know how to entertain myself. I've a physiotherapist appointment at 10.15 this morning. 

If I leave cryptic comments or send you phone-text like emails, please forgive me.  I've really been naughty.

P2P2: Mine

Bung arm prevented me from weaving a piece this year, so I'd like to show you some hypothetical projects, and reflect on what I got out of P2P2 this year, which was considerable. Here are the pictures I received from Amanda, and I worked primarily with the canoe and Grand Canyon photos.

Hypothetical Projects
I'm still reluctant to go down the ornamental/non-utilitarian track, but this has been a fun mental exercise, perhaps because I know I don't have to weave them if I don't want to.

Rotating Postcard - Mini
Either in tapestry or inlay, probably in wool, woven on its side with start and finish stitched together to create a loop. If inlay, the color background will be in blocks of some sort, and the black outlines in inlay.  Both sides will be postcard size, but the cloth can be rotated/spun so viewers can crop the picture as they please, or flip it to view the B side.
Proportion is paramount; not only the width and height of the the postcard you can see at one point, but also the circumference of the supports at both sides and the width of the black outline requires scrutiny. The design continuity at the seam is also important. If I can think of a way to work inlay in the "bottom" layer while weaving a tube on the loom, that would be a handy technique in controlling the color-background area with ease, but I can't envisage this at this point.

Rotating Postcard - Grande
Same idea, but a larger form on the floor, possibly with three or four posts/faces.  How to hold it standing upright is a technical challenge. Proportion is paramount, and not having any experience with big pieces, but just in my head, I'd like the bottom of the piece to be around 70-90cm off the floor, and the top of the piece to be around, say, 180-200cm from the floor.

From here, sky is the limit; indoor and/or public space partitions/enclosures, backs of chairs, tubular table clothes, elastic waist skirts, etc., etc., etc., in various suitable materials.

Tube/s
Same idea, but taller and hung, and viewers can change perspectives and get different (or "moving) pictures they walk around it.  There can also be multiple tubes hung close together to create a bigger picture.

A Mural in Pieces
Small units of uniform or diverse sizes and shapes to make up a big picture. I envisage tapestry technique, but it can be anything. Here I kept the units in their original rows, but swapped the horizontal positions somewhat.

Mural
I come back to this: I like where I arrived in manipulating the images, even though I can see it can also be abstracted or cropped further, and I can see this as a long mural in tapestry or rug technique in a public space.  Because I've seen Melbourne (Australia) Airport's tapestries, I first thought of an airport in Arizona somewhere, but any municipal/civic building would do; courthouse, libraries, schools.  Would anyone like to get started?
(I can't find the pictures of the Melbourne Airport tapestries; can anyone suggest a good link?  This is the organization that worked on it, and you can visit them; Mom spent a lovely day in 2000.)

Reject
Don't like it hanging from a thread, nor poking out of a stick. To me this is where it becomes about the thing and not about the cloth.

And Then...
This is the image I can imagine me working on to to turn into utilitarian cloth, with much more abstraction/simplification. I can't see what kind of a "design" I want to extract from it, but I imagine using very fine silk or mercerized cotton, in really finicky tied weaves, possibly in combination with inlay or other hand-manipulated technique.  I might even need a loom with gazillion shafts.  Or Pat might turn it into a tapestry for me.
And we can see this idea popping up in my Rococo-inspired series, yes?

What I Learned
I love design studies, and enjoy experiments.  More so now, because I don't feel as disgruntled that collage and other paper play can be time-consuming.  I used to think between hours battling paper, scissors and glue, and experimenting on the loom, my time was better spent on the loom, but now I see these experimentations are different beasts and I should use whichever meets my purpose at the time.

I've always enjoyed design studies but never really saw the connection between what I do here and what I weave.  I now have some clues:

1) This is not rare among cloth weavers; from time to time we discover gaps in our process or are told we move onto materials and structures too early, by teachers who are sometimes not art practitioners or cloth weavers.  Loom weaving entail structure and pattern/repetition. and we can't avoid having these concerns at the backs of our minds, but I'm going to try to delay thinking about specifics.

2) I like to show the cloth I make, and not express opinions/concepts/shapes/pictures using cloth and certainly not "put myself out there."  This precludes some viable ideas early on; again, I'll try to keep an open mind for a bit longer.

In others' work, I love when ideas are developed far enough so the resultant work doesn't resemble the original images/ideas; it's like a secret or an inside joke.  With my own, this distance feels bad if viewers can no longer identify the original picture/idea, so I've always subconsciously stopped before an idea became visually remote.

With this round of P2P2, I feel I've managed to be a bit more adventurous than before, but I also see possibilities of taking what I've done further, in the first instance cropping and/or simplifying the overlapping printed strips, (which I call "cuffs",) further.  I was mindful of stopping midway, but only because I really liked the delicate outlines superimposed on blotchy bold colors, and I was not-so-secretly pleased with myself I pushed myself even this far.

Relating to 2) above, I may be more interested in technical possibilities and in the actual making than making "art", in which case I don't have to worry about the prescribed design processes.  This view is becoming more attractive as a) I can spend the rest of my life catching up with someone else's definition of art (as opposed to craft, I guess,) but it's forever going to be a moving target, and b) when my time comes and I have to leave this world, it's the body of work, the cloth, I want to leave behind and not the notes/processes/thoughts. In fact, leaving someone to ponder how I came to make a certain piece has always been one of my... goal.  While I'll never stop studying, I need to decide what concerns I'm willing to shed, and what goals I hold dear. 

Thank you, Amanda, for your delicious Arizona photos.  Thank you, participants, for joining me in the journey.  And thank you, readers, for sticking with us and cheering us on.

Yeah... Not Sure...

"City Light", the art-swap piece.
There is much to practice and improve as regards using cashmere on the big loom. One relatively easy solution is to use only the cashmere/silk mix in the warp, instead of the foamy 100% yarns. The tension I'm willing to place these soft 100% yarns is tentative at best, which presents great problems in the (un)eveness of beating, which is not my forte at the best of times.

I had two floating selvedge outside this draft, which proved ugly and scalloped in places.
(The selvedge looks worse in the reverse side. I think I need to study how the interlacements at the sides of pieces are arranged, and change the treatment accordingly.)

The texture of the cloth is a denser version of my spongy cashmeres, and if I may say so myself, dreamy. In this regard, this is a great success.

I might have woven another one had my arm allowed me to, and changed the selvedge setup, possibly.

* * * * *

For about a week I've been resigned to not being able to weave anything for P2P2 and was clueless as to what to show in the final reveal instead.  Some mindless collaging did the trick, I think.  I got some vague ideas last night. I hope I have something worthwhile to show you.  

P2P2 Esmae Emerson

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.

Verdict

Tennis elbow, ladies and gents.  Mild up-and-down exercise required; if it doesn't get any better in a fortnight, I should go see a physiotherapist.  Heat (athlete's) creams/gels are good, too.  I'm trying to remember how the hand moves when using stick shuttles.

I'm feeling disgruntled because remember I was disappointed with my output (or lack thereof) of woven pieces during my term away from drawing, and I thought my mood was going downhill a while ago? I thought I had overcome both smoothly by weaving.  And I guess I do measure my productivity by how many pieces/centimeters I actually manage to weave on the loom. I was on a roll, I thought, when I lost the use of my left opposable thumb two Wednesdays ago. 

Gosh, darn.

Plus hey fever season started last week; I've been holding off taking my pills because when I do, I have to stop drinking St John's Wort tea, which is the best mood booster, and strongly recommended by my previous and current GPs. 

Gosh, darn.

Not to mention every day except one has been should-a/could-a/would-a gardening weather these two weeks.

Gosh, gosh; darn, darn.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Group R

The Group met at my house today, and I didn't realize since last meeting, we had an official name; it's "R".  It originated in the story of red threads in Japan, which I totally forgot until I read Elaine Lipson's first blog post, (couldn't find exactly where she told the story,) and members liked my retelling it. "R" also means "are", as we are, and constantly changing as we continue to exist and make.  Something like that.

We discussed some specifics about our October 2012 exhibition, and I've been allowed to organize the after-Opening dinner party!  Woo hoo!

Since Pat brought it up, I showed and talked what I've done with P2P2 so far, which got us stuck into my conundrum of what is weaving vs enhancements/additions, and why I choose to restrict/work-within-the-rules-of loom/cloth weaving.  Ronnie, who teaches design among other things, had lots of pertinent comments and questions for me, but I got lost because I've become set in my ways, more in my thinking than in my practice.  I need to recap, for myself. Because my opinions have taken shape over many years and when we discuss these, I don't always remember why I've come to think one way or another. 

The Making
I'd like to make unadorned cloths to have included in exhibitions; not felted, embroidered, cut up, sewn, quilted, and often not even painted, Ikat-dyed or overdyed.  The naked cloth, as it were.  (But after today's meeting, I have to examine which methods/styles of installation I feel is acceptable as I noticed conflicting/hypocritical ideas I have.)

My Experiences with Exhibition Briefs
The reason why I've come to want to make the naked cloth originated in the very first exhibition brief I requested. It was for a textile art exhibition called something like "Fibre Fantasia", held in Marlborough, New Zealand, from around 2004 or 05, and it stated specifically that submissions could not be just "a woven square or rectangle."  (I do wish I had kept it; it was the year the theme was either "fire" or "flame". Does anyone have it?) I walked around the house my jaw dropped for an entire afternoon. 

Then in the first "Changing Threads" brief, contained something like "using traditional techniques to express concepts in a contemporary manner," which to me meant the same. And I was furious at the first two years of that show as there were many, many pretty pieces, which to me didn't contain a whole heck of a lot of concepts. I could have made something pretty!    

If you follow the briefs strictly, (and I do, because I attended a Convent School, am Japanese, and was raised by strict parents, so I always read the rules to avoid being scolded!) there are very few places "just a woven square or rectangle" can be exhibited except guild exhibitions or one's own. Many exhibitions I've looked into call themselves "textile art" exhibitions, but then they specify in their briefs embroidery, (art) quilt, etc. But now I'm preaching to the choir. 

What I pick up from reading/discussing "art"
Art is more valuable than craft, and what separates the two is "concept" or "intention".  My interpretation of "concept", then, is to do the "design process" taught by whoever teaches them.  I enjoy these, but the "process" never ties in with the sort of cloth I want to make.  Not really.  I like to make pretty cloth.

Wanting to be called an artist is ego, I think.  I value craftsmanship; technical expertise is very important to me, but in the West, "craft", I feel, is viewed so much inferior to art. Whereas I come from a place where craft is more respected than non-utilitarian art. 

Additionally
I've talked about the contempt I feel about my work after it's done in the past.  I've often wondered if it's more artist-ly to feel less detached from one makes; I don't think I ever feel vulnerable about showing what I make, because I'm never "putting myself out there", just showing you what I made. And instead, I see all the flaws in my work, as well as the good bits, and feel slightly disgusted about the pieces and therefore my incompetence.  I'd like to feel a little more ... involved, or even sentimental (?) about what I make.  And I've been told by many that this feeling would emerge from the design process.   

Ronnie's Observations
1. Is there something I want to say/express through my pieces? If so, does that come through my finished design/piece?
2. Perhaps I'm more into the making and not so much in the expression. Why do I think that's not as valid?
3. Looking at the material I accumulated so far for P2P2, there is a gap or a skip, and I need to bridge the gap.

My Response for Now
1. No, I guess I have nothing to say through my pieces.  I just want to make pretty cloth.
2. Never thought of it that way.  My ego now says "expression" is art, being into the making is "craft"; if this is the case, it's my ego getting in the way; I want to be in the top class, not a second- or third-class citizen. And then theres is the small matter of the time/labor required to weave, which makes me feel weaving isn't just mass-producing, say, coffee mugs from the same mold, and all my pieces are one-offs. 
3. This is a point I didn't understand but we ran out of time so I couldn't find out more.  If she's observing where my design process ends and where my weaving starts, yes, there is a big gap, but this wasn't what she was responding to, so I need to find out more.

* * * * *

The matter of the fiber artist who felt excluded was discussed as well, and I find it strange to find myself on the "excluding" side as one of the original three who proposed starting the group.  Because I thought I was always trying to be as inclusive as possible.  Obviously, effectively, not so in this case.  

* * * * *

I'm so glad we finally have a name, which they tell me we had since the last meeting.  Anyway, "The Group" is the name of a very famous group of painters (and possibly sculptors) from before WWII in Christchurch/Canterbury, and I never intended to copy or liken us to them, but it was the only name I could think of until we had something.  Phew. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life Going On

I am a bad, impatient patient; I have been using my hands and the left one hurts unless I have the "brace" on. Naughty.

Thursday I spent over seven hours on Marlborough Weavers and Festival blogs, including editing something like 100 or 200 photos from last November. I was thinking how hard it is to work with groups and what a difficult staff/volunteer I am.

Friday, drawing, spent some time with Ronette, and then with Kath. I've had a lot to ponder about friendship.

Weekend, I as supposed to garden a bit and work on P2P2, but my arm hurts and I feel restless, so I've done a little bit of housework, finished five cashmere scarves, and read a bit. And played much too much simple computer games with my right hand.
Four cashmere Log Cabin merchandises.  Two teals in the warp; indigos, teals and purples in the weft; all eight weft yarns are different from each other.  I have warp left for one more scarf in this color scheme, and for five more in a color scheme I can't even remember; possibly two indigos/navies. 

Analogous Log Cabin makes easy fashion items, but are mindless and boring to weave, and at times impossible to see.  After I weave the six waiting to be woven on the loom now, I'm not going to weave Log Cabin unless I have a good reason to, as in color combination sampling.  The aim was to create "merchandise" with interesting colors, (check), and to get a better understanding of how Shadow, Corkscrew and Echo weaves behave as regards the colors.
Tomorrow morning at 10, The Group members are coming to my house, so we moved the kitchen table into the living room in preparation. 
Meanwhile Log Cabin warp quietly awaits.  (Those boxes contain weft candidates for the next four projects.)
City Light was finished, label put on, tag made up, and put in yellow tissue paper and my old gold bag.  It will be delivered next weekend. I wonder if I can work on Tim's scarf just a little bit this week. 

Tuesday morning, to the doctor to sort out my left arm. And P2P2.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Week of It

Thursday - walnut shell solution dye.  I'm so not a brown person, but I like simple natural dyeing, so I dyed some fabric I prepared last year for the indigo workshop, and even made a small merino warp.  The small skeins I dyed last year, and I dug them out before making the warp.  I remembered I preferred gray yarns dyed in walnuts rather than white/undyed yarns, as the grays take on more expressions.  I also still like big katazome-dyed shapes.
Friday - drawing, then came home straight away; the arm was bothering me so much, I had to have a nap.  I think it was more emotional than physical.

Weekend - Ben and I did some gardening, but I kept the "brace" on, so the work was slow but pleasurable, and no damage done. Also tried to catch up on Harry Potter films; watched 6 and 7.

Monday - town; mammogram, short video of sculptor Terry Stringer at the Suter, used book shop, (got "The Lost King of France" on credit I accumulated,) three hours in the Australian craft material shop Spotlight but only bought stickers, iron -on patches and ribbons for my 5-year-old niece, fish and chips for dinner.

Tuesday - utterly frustrated I cannot weave; planned to do a little housework, a little gardening, and then concoct a P2P2 plan that doesn't involve left hands, but I ended up doing housework all day; gazed at and revised To Do lists several times, regretted taking off my "brace".  Though I started reading "The Lost King" in the evening. Still learning how much of the muscles on my left hand I use, because I'm right handed!  Washing dishes and typing are two of the worst things, besides weaving. 

Wednesday - after a yucky night waking up several times due to arm pain, feel utterly frustrated I cannot weave, feel stupid about the amount of housework yesterday, and decided to be realistic.  I took the four Log Cabin scarves off the loom to rest; ditto with the art swap scarf; cut off the first 8cm of Tim's scarf already woven, and washed to examine shrinkage; I could mend and hem these in a few days.
I could fringe these.
Or I could be good and rest my art.  I was so good about keeping my arm in what I'm calling my "brace"; it's a stretchy bandage thingie with a metal support bar; I think the hand is supposed to wrap around the metal bar, but I've been wearing the metal on the outside; this way my fingers can't move as freely, and the metal bar doesn't slip out of the sleeve and the bottom rub against the inside of my arm.  The hankie protects my arm from the Velcro friction.  
And/Or do something about P2P2 because I only have a week to make something.  Or I can read.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday

I didn't do much with my left arm/wrist after 2PM yesterday, except the two posts last night and eating dinner. And drinking a cup of chai before bedtime. It woke up fine this morning, but after 30 min of checking emails and Facebook and paying a bill online, it's not good.  So no weaving today.  Again.  I had my mind set on weaving half of Tim's scarf yesterday, and finishing it today, and I'm at a loss as to what I'm going to do now.  And I might have to change my plans for how far I'll take P2P2.  Or can I make a small warp to dye in walnut shell solution? 

It's amazing how many muscles we use in doing the most mundane chores.  I can feel it when I have my brace on.  I feel frustrated with my enforced slow day, but I have to take it easy if I want to weave well into my 90's.

You all take loving care of yourselves and your bodies, please, because minds/spirits alone can't do much weaving, I'm telling you. 

* * * * *

Happy anniversary to Dot and me; we have been communicating more or less daily for two years now, and it has been the best therapy.  And quietly, on the side, she published a magazine for a year as well.  Happy Birthday, YarnMaker Magazine. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tim's

I'm excited about how the first 8cm of Tim's scarf looks, and I wanted to write about it tonight.
This is the original draft. With this scarf, it was important to me that the circles don't look squashed, and I tried five or six wefts of different sizes, but the skinny dark warp looked the best by far.  So I tried the spaced-out picks seen at the top of the previous post, but I didn't like the way it fulled, (too lacy for a bloke,) and I didn't have the patience for it. 
So I elongated the draft, and though I still have to be careful with the beating, (and watch out for the swing beater swinging back and touching the weft,) I'm happier with the new version.
The first 8cm. (Sorry about the terrible pic!) It's still a bit squashed, but I'm fine with this.

This series has not been as much "weaving" as it has been placing each and every pick of weft gently and just nudging it close to the previous pick; no rhythm, a lot of stopping breathing, and a few un- and re-weaving, or whatever the correct term. But they will turn out to be nice pieces from what the samples tell me.

Interim

I had hoped to updated you on my cashmere experiments. I wove City Lights, got started on Tim's, but thought I had lost the use of my left opposing thumb, so am taking a break. It started when I was stacking wood a month (?) ago; sore muscles didn't get better but wrist and elbow started to feel weak over the weeks. Finally, I could not lift anything with my left art and I recognized the symptoms of tendentious from 5 years ago. It's not all that bad, but the braces restricts the movement of the left hand, so I thought I'd give weaving and typing (and cooking) a rest. Just so you know I haven't been lazy, here are some picks...

A bit cross, too, because Tim's scarf is looking really good. 
3rd sample piece, trying to get about 16 PPI.
Forgot the knee beam. And, I forgot I could just lift it, loosen the tension, and push it under the apron cloth, so I undid/redid the lacing.  Sometimes my mind just doesn't do any work!!
Sourdough dough keeping me company in whichever room I heat up.
Much prefer the B side, if you can see it... 
 Too eager to get going on Tim's scarf.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, Monday....

Much of our South Island and parts of the North Island are experiencing severe winter weather, including snow down to sea level, road and airport closures, and power cuts.  Here in Nelson, the hills got snow to lower than usual level but from the look of it no snow in Motueka township like three weeks ago, Southerlies (that's the cold one,) is blowing occasionally, but the temperature is nothing out of the ordinary for this time of the year, and the sun is blindingly bright.  As has been the moon.  Once again, business as usual in Nelson, with a tinge of fair-weather guilt.   

I resleyed the cashmere warp on the big loom several times yesterday, (more about it later,) have modified drafts gazillion times, came to realize how drafts/structures behave differently with the cashmere as opposed to merino or cotton, but can't come to a nice solution on Mom's draft.  I'm going downstairs soon to sample some more, but I now have to decide whether I want these three cashmere pieces to be cloud-light and soft and cushy, or soft and lovely but meaty.
Why, though, do sleying mistakes always pop up in the center, and never towards the sides? This was was in the dead center yesterday.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mom's Draft

I like this better that the first one but I don't know about the weft color.  The warp is much darker gray, (black with speckles, really,) and though brick orange is one of Mom's favorites, I think I need to sample more.

In my head, there are shuttles, skeins, (or bobbins), heddles/reeds, stylized knots, and big hearts in this drafts.

Finds

I have to post about two fascinating books I encountered. 

On Monday, for some unknown reason, I checked the bottom shelves of the art section of the Polytech library, a world I usually actively avoid because those books are dusty.  I spotted "Art and Artifact: The Museum as Medium", by James Putnum, Thames & Hudson, 2001.  It is one of those books I usually flick pages quickly, glance at pictures, and never read the texts within, but this one intrigued me, and I read 10% of the book in one sitting.  Thus far, it discussed the traditional method of museum curating and displays, and not necessarily art museums, (which intrigues me in the Japanese language, we have separate words for art museums as opposed to history, science and other non-visual art museums,) in particular the existence of the glass cases, and how some artists have made a mockery of them.  It also discussed how many/most artists are often collectors, and they need a system of storing and displaying their collection, and I sense there is a love/hate relationship between museums and artists.  At a glance it doesn't seem to go too far into the emergence and re-inclusion of installation art towards the end, but still I'm expecting one interesting journey reading this one.

The other book, also from near the floor, is "Whole Cloth" by Mildred Constantine and Laurel Reuter, The Monacelli Press, 1997, though it doesn't appear on The Monacelli Press website.   Like many others before, this is a big book of artwork in textiles, but with one notable difference: I can't see the authors' editorial preferences in selecting the works, so the book looks has a feel of representing all kinds of textile works, though many are very large works. Lovely viewing; I haven't started reading this one, but it could be worthwhile.

Let me know if you, too, encounter them. 

Hands around the World

Meg Nakagawa, weaver, drawing student, bread baker
12:30PM; Nelson, New Zealand; 41° 17' 0" S / 173° 17' 0" E

Margery Meyers Haber, De Witt, New York; 43° 2' 19" N / 76° 4' 23" W

Doni Chiesa, Genoa, Liguria; 44° 25' 0" N / 8° 57' 0" E

Dot Lumb, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, Derbyshire; 53° 16' N / 01° 54' W

My Bad, Again, and Other Incidents

Saturday.  And in spite of horrendous weather forecast, it's a "really should be outside" weather.  But I'm inside.

On Monday, I went to the bank to hash out the "rogue" withdrawal and it turned out to be my error; I used the "business" checkbook rather than "personal" and I used the first check from the new checkbook they sent me as they felt I was approaching the end of my current one.  But they should have noted the check number, the bank noted.

I think I'm getting used to most things being my fault; statistically that's been the case in the last few years; if not my fault, then my not understanding the whole story.  I think I was half sensed this was going to be the case as early as last Friday evening.  Is this what getting old feels like, like I never have the whole picture, or did I never have the whole picture but believed I did? Anyway, I feel frustrated and angry every time I'm "made" to feel as if I'm imposing my ineptitude and foolishness on the world.

Earlier in the week I was feeling overwhelmed, like everything is an imposition on me and my time for the last couple of weeks and I'm so angry so often.  Last Friday morning I was overwhelmed I was going back to drawing, loosing one-half day per week, and I kept wondering if I was doing the right thing.

As well, I've been physically unjustifiably tired.  A week ago, I didn't want to get out of bed most mornings, I wanted to go back to bed all day.  My body feels like it's suffering from an electrical fault because it feels tingly and a few nights I wake up startled, my body tingly like a Christmas tree all lit up.  Even if I exercise, (mild and quick) or walk, (not quickly but for hours around town.)

Earlier this week I knew that if I didn't watch out, I was going down a slippery slope, so I made myself do things all week.  I made lists of things I should do, not the overly long perpetual To Do lists, but only things I should take care of soon.  Like wash dishes.  And I carried it around.  I had too many things for one day, but I got to choose from it, and though I managed only two or three things per day, and I had a hard time getting started every morning, I did manage to do something every afternoon.  And on the loom, I ended up more productive than my "normal" days.

From Tuesday to Thursday, I managed to weave two Log Cabin scarves on the Jack, besides the two false starts that included various greens, proving once again I'm really not a green weaver.  I dressed the big loom with a cashmere warp for the first time.  That loom requires so much loom waste I was too stingy to use my cashmere yarns on it until now, but I have a few projects in many shafts that I want to weave in cashmere; these are gifts and art swaps so I don't have to consider prices.  As well the big loom as a whopping big shed, requiring the yarns to stretch quite a bit, and because my 100% cashmeres are foamy-stretchy and break easily, I did a sample weave very gingerly, advancing the warp every half an inch or so, and trying to keep the tension as loosely as I can tolerate.  I could train myself and get used to it, or, I could use the cashmere/silk mix in the warp as it is a little less prone to break. 

This sample was woven at 15EPI; I figure City Light can go ahead at 16, (but in woven samples I'm suddenly not too keen on the fussiness of this draft,) and Tim's maybe as close as 18. I hadn't fine-tuned Mom's draft to sample yet, but that also takes place on this warp and I wanted to see the the pale green and blue-yellow weft colors at the very far right of the sample. 

For City Lights I had my heart set on Silk/Cashmere, (the middle part where the weft didn't shrink much), but in real life, I like the far right pale gray sample the best.  I'm disappointed the black, (far left) nor the white, (between black and silk-mix) didn't produce a more attractive effect.    For Tim's, I like the two paler wefts, and the palest is a slightly thicker yarn so it helps to make the circles more circle, not oblong, as the draft intended.  Ben likes the far right brick orange best, and that was the one I had in mind at first; I'll sample this one at 18EPI later.

Yesterday was session 2 of 10 for this term's drawing, and for the very first time we had the model J. Now J has been modeling in Ronette's class for decades but she works in the mornings so never made an appearance in my class in the last three years.  She not only does she know how to pause and hold the pauses, but she and Ronette need not talk to understand each other and the class took on a mood of being co-taught, or even one of a class of chicks being watched lovingly by two mother hens.  Even Ronette looked more relaxed after class than usual.  And J promises she will make occasional appearances Friday mornings.  Bliss! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Strangeness

There is a bug going around; I saw notices all over the Polytech to wash hands and stay home if sick.  I've had a weak one two weeks ago, and I had it again this week, but I'm kind of glad I soldiered on.

* * * * *

I did go see "McLuhan's Wake" Thursday night. I didn't like how the film was edited/organized; too much going on at once, sound clips overlapping, persons speaking not identified, it was less a "mediation" on his ideas, but an over-caffeinated episode of Sesame Street for grownups; I may have caught 5% of his ideas.  I feel the problem comes from two areas: that I wasn't around when McLuhan was a media celeb, (I had no idea who the man who dropped by in Annie Hall was but always empathized with Woody Allen's sentiment,) and the filmmakers tried to put in practice McLuhan's most famous aphorism, the medium is the message.  A more straight-forward doco would have been easier in understanding what McLuhan said, but still I'm glad I went.  The doco was made in 2002, the same year Prof Mitsui's book I'm reading was published. At this point, I don't intend to read McLuhan, but go back to the start of Prof Mitsui's book; I'm also tempted to look for an audio book of "Finnegan's Wake".

Some links:
McLuhan.com
Interview with the writer David Sobelman, (in which he explains the format of the doco,) on an Universita di Bologna-based (?) site dedicated to McLuhan.  (English version on the right tool bar.)
University of Toronto counterpart.
Referenced "Wired" magazine article.
McLuhan on YouTube

* * * * *

Although invisible to the naked eye, I have been making dents into my stash, this week in to the cashmere drawers.  Still, I have started to have misgivings about whether I will be able to use up all my yarns before I, you know, go.  And whether there will come a time when what I have on hand will determine the directions I take, which is the first thing we were told not to do in the correspondence design course with Alison, back in 2002.

I've also been thinking I might have to think about the size of one's ambition vs accomplishment.  This thought popped up after Tuesday's exhibition hanging.  At first, I need to revisit what exactly my ambitions are re. weaving.   

* * * * * 

Friday I returned to Ronette's figure drawing class.  I keep saying I did three years of it before I took a term off, but later in the afternoon I heard myself tell someone I just "started my fourth year" which sounded alarming, as if I was supposed to know what I was doing.  The class itself was fine, though I often forget what gesture drawing is unless I keep practicing, that we are supposed to draw quickly and not necessarily contours.  While discussing composition, suddenly I became super aware of who among us thinks about composition and other visual-artistic concerns all the time, vs who makes a weekly appearance at a pleasant drawing class.  Suddenly the world looked clearer and more vivid, and though my opinion was so different from others regarding eye-catching compositions, (I really went for the Ukiyoe-style yesterday,) I was confident in my opinion and if asked I knew I could explain why.  A novel experience.

* * * * *

Ben and I went to see reopened Red Gallery.  They have some of Lloyd's paintings now and I saw a few pictures of the café earlier in the week so I was curious.  Truth to tell, I was ready to hate it because of my loyalty to Jay.  Well, the place looked updated, contemporary, probably targeting a more general, and possibly younger, market, more "a café/gift shop with art", but very fresh.  And I like the new owners.  And if you know Nelson, Derek with the red socks, ex Lambretta, ex Zumo, now swerves coffee there.

* * * * *

So all in all, I had a good day.  Even my dentist appointment was short and they gave me the July issue of National Geographic because I couldn't finish the Cleopatra article.  I got loads of errands done, including canceling a "business" debit card I only used twice in the first six months.

Then I came home to discover a big withdraw from my account, which the call center people identified as a check/cheque withdrawal from a neighboring branch.  Except the last time I wrote a check was in April, for a different amount, cashed three days after I wrote it.  And I haven't written one for the amount withdrawn in the last few years, there is "no record" of its number available online, and I was recommended to ring that branch on Monday.  Huh?  The teller who helped me was typing for an uncomfortably long time and the card cancellation took extraordinary long for the nature of the transaction.  But then it could be entirely me forgetting something.  I'm going to battle it out at the bank on Monday, in person.

Can't with them all.

* * * * *

In the wee, wee hours, I had to resort to TV, and caught the first (half??) of "In Search of Mozart".  I believe I saw it in a theater when it came out, but I couldn't remember, and not much of what I saw rang any bell.  One pays less attention to details, I think, when watching something like this between late night and early morning.  I was overwhelmed by his dad's money worries on this occasion.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Art/Craft

It's enjoyable to read opinions on the subject with my new/relaxed attitude towards where exactly the boarder lies.  And in that vein, this article on a South African personal finance website of all places has been one of the most satisfying, as she throws in a lot of words and perspectives with which I could reflect on what/how I think.  I'll do that later. 

Just coincidentally, I've been reading another of Prof Matsui's book, this time on media and art, (written in 2002 and it's more about electronic and other new tools in making art rather than the social aspects of the Internet or the mass media,) and his first several chapters refers to Marshall McLuhan's writing, and tomorrow the local film society is showing McLuhan's Wake

Lucky me!

Mid-Week

Yesterday, I went to help Lloyd hang the Regional Arts Award.

Imagine an old-fashioned Art Society exhibition, but in a small town, wall to wall paintings, but in a warehouse-like former refinery, and you get the picture.  Still, there were some fascinating pieces, and/or fascinating factors in seemingly mundane ones.  And it's always a privilege to be allowed to handle these pieces. I'm getting the hang (!) of the task, too, and instead of assisting Lloyd, we, (including Janis, who happens to be in my drawing class, and Duncan who has a studio at the back of Refinery,) all went our separate ways hanging pieces solo.  And speaking of drawing, my one-term-off is about to end; class resumes this Friday. and I'm looking forward to it.

In the middle of the action-packed day, (well, for me it was, but this year Lloyd was so organized the whole day went terribly smoothly,) Esmae came to have lunch with me.  No, she didn't fly all the way from Melbourne for lunch, but she was visiting family near Nelson.  We talked about P2P2, how different digital images are to printed ones, stainless steel in fiber and how to best utilize its characteristics, and, (I sure hope she'll forgive me for slipping the beans,) she and another weaver just got new 8-shaft looms! So her weaving will change dramatically in future.  We touched on shaft-envy, and then I remembered about Inge's video.

So here it is, incorporation card weaving on the loom, or as I see it, how to pretend you have heaps more shafts than you actually do!  Here's a photo of Inge's textile Gail kindly posted on my Facebook.  The possibilities are endless.

All in all, things are looking up!