Saturday, September 24, 2011

Possibility Alert!!

If you took part in P2P2, or P2P for that matter, here is a chance to develop the ideas and take part in a real exhibition.  And let us know if you do.  (The brief stipulates you know the origin of the images you received, not the sender, but I'll leave the interpretation to you.)

And can I mention Sampling put multiple P2P2 pieces in the Royal Melbourne Show and won a prize, though she doesn't know for which piece yet.  I hope she will be posting about it soon. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Twin Separated at Birth?

I wrote this post five and a half years ago.  Tonight I found this photo.  I thought it looked a little like my cotton Rococo series.  My kindred spirit in Canada.  

We're all just lifting some warps and passing wefts; I feel the invisible thread that connects us all.

They're Not as Bad as they Look

Well, some days are bad, but in general these are preventive, to stop me from rushing around doing housework, gardening, and sneak-weaving.  At least they slow me down.  A little.  And the new black one is so much more comfortable and yet restrictive, it was worth the investment. 

I'm frustrated I haven't learned how to live with this, and I'm sick of  being ignorant.  I even reminisced that with depression the physical lethargy matches the mental, but no, this is more tolerable than that.

I went into town Tuesday so I wouldn't do much harm,and as a result I felt great yesterday and pretty much lead a normal life.  Naughty.  I even gardened for an hour, but by last night I was regretting that. Ben told me I cannot garden today, so I've been mapping out my projects for the foreseeable future and trying to memorize the time line; it's not just about weaving and submitting, but planning Festival-related tasks, and my Philosophy professor and the Mrs coming to visit from Minnesota in February.  I haven't seen him since January 1982, I think. 

I've been taking my mind out for walks to help plan what to make to submit.  One of the things I had intended to revisit was Geodyne's P2P2 piece; I was most interested in the weave structure, but once I looked at the linked draft more closely, I realized the cloth is far more complex because of her weft variety/choices.  Geo also directed me to this Weavezine article by Bonnie Inouye, which lead me to a pleasant afternoon in Bonnie-land.  I still require multiple readings of her texts to grasp the scope of possibilities she discusses, but one of the great things about being exposed to Bonnie's thinking is I am reminded every time that, even putting aside colors and textures for a moment, there is so much I can do with threading, tie-up and treadling.  And in the style of curves she discusses in the article, a foot loom (or a table loom if I can be bothered) gives so much more freedom to design as I weave.  I am thinking of a sampling warp on 4-shafts to play with before I commit to a pre-planned treadling on the computer-controlled.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quiet Weekend

It's hard to imagine how many of our lives' activities involve using the hands palms down.  It's an interesting existence spending the day trying to use the hands as little as possible.  Yesterday, when I should/could have been reading, I stayed on the computer all day long, part of the time looking up photos of textiles, fashion, and iconic brands from Downunder.  With NZ's national festival/exhibition in Blenheim and the fourth Changing Threads in Nelson on the horizon, I've been wondering if I could weave fabrics for and sew spoof versions of these most blokey of garments.

Australian Drover's Coat from Folkware Sewing Patterns.  I suspect these were made of olive-colored oilskin, but wool could work, especially if I'm not constructing a proper garment. 

Swanndri brand wool bush shirts with hood; my understanding is, the red and black check is the most iconic. 

Just a thought.  I'll have to practice sewing with wool, especially if I have to match checks, and before that, I'd like to make Ben's Happi.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday that Was

At Lunch, Ronette told us she subscribed to Australia's Craft International magazine years ago when it first started.

Meg:  "Oh, yes, Australian Craft International!  Or Craft Magazine from the British Craft Council. They'd be my first choices..."

Ronette: "To have your work shown in?"

Meg: "Ah, well... I was going to say... if I were to win a year's subscription."

I guess you had to be there.

* * * * *

Not good news at the physiotherapist.  I am definitely overusing the arms and they are inflamed.  I'm now allowed between five to ten minutes of weaving, weeding, anything.  And typing, not good.


* * * * *

I thought I should add we banter a lot, so Ronette's suggestion of trying to get my work on either of these magazines are not serious. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Two-navy (not indigo) Log Cabin warp. The difference in the colors are slight but sometimes I can see it, and anyone could definitely feel it.

Not weaving today - I think I overdid it a little yesterday.  Maybe just one session in the late afternoon.

A Slice

of life, that is. 

I don't court confrontations and controversies, certainly not here, but I know I end up doing so from time to time.  I've hidden the original post, the one before last, and edited the last post.

I apologize for any hurt caused.  But I stand by my bewilderment of finding my photos in places I wasn't aware of, and will continue to consider the risks/benefits of Internet existence in general and posting of weaving and drafts pictures in particular. 

And I stopped apologizing for freaking out from time to time some years ago.  That's also what I do.  And I know some of you get a bit of a laugh from it.  That's fine, too. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

A friend who is in arts has been sick of life in arts; she reckons it shouldn't be so hard. For some months/years, we cooked up ways for her to generate exposure and income, and in the past we had fun because many of what we discussed could apply to me. But her recent sense of entitlement is making me bored. I feel guilty I'm married to man with a day job, who is OK with me doing what I do; I feel she always leaves me with homework even though that's not her intention; I feel terrible when my ideas don't work, even though she doesn't try most of them. And it's not like she hasn't had success.

I know it's a lot to do with my perception and projection. I complain about my "career", too, but I don't really mean it because I don't try hard enough to deserve to complain. Sometimes it helps to complain to just get it out, and sometimes by exploring what I'm complaining about, I find new ways to work, or market my work.

There is one thing I learned from our discussions; we can't afford to wait to be "discovered" because nobody has as big a stake in our careers as ourselves, and when it really gets too hard, it's time to get out. I can't believe I said it out loud the last time I saw her.  I'm glad I'm in it for the inherent joy of making. Even if I don't sound like it here sometimes.    

* * * * *

So, it is possible to weave a scarf in 15-minute increments. It took some time, but I wove the last of the two-teal Log Cabin piece this week. And considering I sometimes stay away from looms for months, it was a great lesson; I should weave every single day, even if for 15 minutes.

At the end of the teal warp I knew I had another Log Cabin warp but I couldn't remember what colors; it turns out this is a handsome two-navy warp, but it's even harder to see the color difference. I'll see if I can shoot it in daylight.

* * * * *

Every so often I want to chuck in everything on the Internet and be the hermit weaver I once wanted to be. I did for quite a while.  But I don't delete everything because: 1) I would miss your friendship/our camaraderie, 2) I live in a small place and I feel I might get swallowed into the ground/wave/ether if I'm not on the Internet, and 3) I don't have the guts.

On Monday I discovered Google Image Ripper; "discovered" because I probably heard of it before but in the most general way; I didn't think it would concern me specifically.  But my heart skipped a beat when actually saw my pics and realized how unprotected my photos were.

Then today I came across Pracownia's closed blog, and I thought I was getting too old for this, that I don't want to spend so much time learning new Internet things, that I'd rather be weaving.  It's probably the same way Mom felt 10 years ago when she decided against having a computer and Internet; she'd chose to use the time to weave one more piece.  Besides, if we're talking about the bottom line, I've never generated a sale from the Internet.

I'll let you know if/when I decide to disappear, but it's not likely to happen any time soon.  But you know how things happen in threes?  Notice it's only Wednesday night here, so there's still time for one more Internet freak-out this week.

Yay! Not.

* * * * *

Screen print of trying to access a closed blog: the email address was my usual one, but you get the picture; there's no links or clue.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A ha!

I'm getting better at being the owners of two bung arms. I can weave in 15 minutes increments, though it is still very trying. I look for tasks I think won't require the use of my thumbs, and on the way I've been doing lots of odd jobs I've neglected, plus gradually tidying my stash room, and having enough presence of mind to think of the office bookshelf as well.  (There has been no logic as to why some books are here, or over there, and the situation requires a solution.)  I even managed an hour of gardening this morning, slowly and inefficiently, but at our place, any work outside helps.

Just before coming inside, I was putting a few firewood into these boxes - I drag them across the floor now instead of carrying wood to the living room.  It's been a warm winter interspersed with freakish winter weather, and the last couple of weeks, totally spring-y except for the last couple of days.  I even heard the word "snow" but that's further south.  Anyhoo, I noticed I was lifting a rather large piece of wood with my left hand exactly in the manner that got me where, so I dropped that, lifted it with my arm, and come inside. 

Somewhere between the garden and the shower, I had a light bulb moment.  I seldom recycle weaving drafts, not even the "Rococo" ones; I never reuse a commission piece draft, and only ever recycled one from an exhibition.  That I remember.  Although my favorite, Tapa, was designed for and submitted to the biggest exhibition I participated in so far, Re:Fine in Wellington, it didn't make it there nor in the smaller Re:Fine in Nelson.

This morning, I thought I'd like to weave it again.  I have two versions of it, and I don't know if I'll just use one or both, or rework the basic idea, but I think it suits Group R's exhibition title, "Beginnings", because New Zealand is where I started weaving.  Something Japanese, something Minnesotan, and something Pacific?  I'm going to be busy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Good to be a Weaver

Goodness gracious me, what a difference a day makes, indeed.  I wrote most of the Mumbling post yesterday, so it's been around 24.5 hours since I decided to forgo the perceived, prescribed methods of designing. "My Ego", though boisterous, isn't steadfast nor patient, so I didn't battle or convince it, and it didn't try to blackmail me with guilt.

I feel like my old self, listening to Telemann, weaving (in two lots of 15 minutes only) Log Cabin, exercising and winding Mom's weft in between, ruminating on my inevitable cloth. What a life.

Earlier in the day I spoke to Ronette about something else, but inevitably our conversation turned to textiles, and I caught myself referencing in my mind my Like/Make list.

I think when you allow yourself to be yourself, things have an easier time falling into place.  And we're coming to a lovely end of a gray and rainy but good weekend.

The Origin of my Fondness for Chornological Order??

Towards the end of my college life, I took a course in Multicultural Communication, and there I learned the different systems of thinking and presentation.  In the Western world, according to one textbook, the most respected approach was conclusion/s first, then details/examples.  In Japan, details/anecdotes/chronology, were followed by conclusion, often approved beforehand by general consensus. Most interesting was the Arab way, which was similar to a vortex of reasons and arguments at the bottom of which was the big conclusion. I know it's oversimplifying, but I found this fascinating. 

As far as my experiences go, the author was right about Japan, and this is why I ran into so much trouble while I worked in there; older men called me "Miss No Smalltalk" because I hated wasting time at work and went straight to the point.  In my old age, though, I'm so mindful of how I operate I don't know when to stop the smalltalk sometimes.

Most helpful was when I worked at the Syrian Embassy in Tokyo as a translator.  (English/French/Japanese - they didn't want me learning Arab.) When the diplomats tried to explain something, the background information was presented in a spiral fashion; this was more noticeable with the older men. When things got repetitive, I'd picture a 60's psychedelic black and white spiral and it actually helped me remember his main points. And in that light, our ambassador was a very good orator.  And, no, my French was never that good, but the wee bit I had came in handy.

I also think it's the processes of weaving that makes me think chronologically, because I didn't automatically fall into this world view pre-weaving. It's not a problem, as systems go, but I need to train to think more concisely.

Cognitive Mumbling Spilling onto a Veritual Page

I've always had terrible memory, and blamed that for writing almost always chronologically, getting bogged down on the order and long-winded, and loosing the plot. This morning I think it's also connected to my inability to prioritize this side of "The Changes". So I'll try a new approach, by topic.

(Not) Reading
Struggling with Field's Collapse Weave book, as I always have with her writing, I flipped through the pages knowing I should persevere and gain useful knowledge, but I get so bored. While looking at the photos I thought, "what is wrong with just making pretty cloths?"

I picked up Germano Celant's Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works at Ben's work's library, and after flipping through the book and looking at the images three or four times, I started reading the first bits.  I know there is much informative information in coffee table books; I almost never read them, but the start is often quotable.

Celant wrote, "The lives and adventures of artists are traced by what they leave behind them: marks and tracks scattered over the terrain of images.  It is on the basis of this set of imprints and fragments left over the course of time, in different spaces, that observers can read an account and a story 'written' by the human being who has used different and varied materials to reflect her vision as well as existence."

I don't necessary agree with "different and varied materials", but I like it. (And then he ruined it by going on for 12 more pages and lost me completely.) As my eyes glazed over the text, then flitted from the middle of the book to the end to the start and back to the middle, I felt a thought forming.

Bourgeois is definitely, among other things, a textile artist.  She had ideas and concepts and only used cloth, and so much more.  I like some of her work, and dislike others; I am interested in some of her thoughts/ideas/stories, but not others.  But I sense she had irrepressible "stuff" she needed to express.

Whereas I love making pretty cloth.  For me, the end product is paramount, and therefore the technique that makes it.  I can tell you, or even cook up, a story about a piece or series if you ask, but it's the "stuff" that counts, for me the maker, in my life of making. And so why should I waste any more time with "art" considerations unless I enjoy them intrinsically; the "art" stuff was always further removed from my weaving than I imagined. 

Which is at once a big relief because I can focus on things I enjoy, but a little disappointing for My Ego because it reduces even further the chances of being invited to "art" exhibitions, or respectable art institutions adding my piece to their collection.  (Since I did The Artist's Way in 2001, I have on my list of aspirations art institutions buying my pieces as part of their collection; a couple in Nelson and one in Minneapolis.  But then I wrote a while back - but can't find that post - I've not made an "art" piece yet, so "My Ego" hasn't lost any opportunities yet. As to feeling threatened about not having been to art school and compelled to try to "catch up", or guilty about not "doing things the right/prescribed way", I'm considering the possibility that's just "My Ego" seducing me to procrastinate the real making.)

I'm not a complicated person.  My heart skips a few beats when I see nice Jacquard-esque curtain and upholstery fabrics. I don't express/demonstrate/question though my cloth. Which ties in with my reflection earlier this week of feeling overburdened by difficulties I have in reading/understanding/learning.

I kept picturing my mom tapping her head with her fist, repeating, "Stupid, stupid, stupid," all too often, and I felt sorry for her for being stupid.  (Mom said it, so it must be true, yes?) Regardless of how her mind works, I have an inability for certain types of learning, (which I sense has a lot to do with impatience,) and it's getting worse as I get older. And totally bought into Dad's dogged conviction if I apply myself I can do anything, so until I can do something, I'm slaking off.  (Dad said it, so it must be true, right?)

Controlled Chaos
When I reorganized my Stash/Design Room two years ago I knew I didn't have enough space in my bookshelf and I had too much junk in the records/notebook area.  I had this task in the too-tedious basket until Monday, when I looked for "work" that's not weaving.  By tackling my so called Diaries, which are not much more than paste/scribble books, which I started keeping in August 2011, I've freed up one and one-third shelves, and I feel emotionally cleansed.  I still have folders and binders to go through but this has been an uplifting exercise, and I know it's imbued in the decision to throwing out "art" from my weaving, at least for the foreseeable future. 
 And I have found few memorable bits, the top prize going to this.
Criteria D, the origin of my art/craft conundrum. I think the organizers meant this as a textile art exhibition as a whole, and what's submitted as garments cannot be just a rectangle, but I'm clouded by prejudice and I still can't make sense of their intentions. (Click for a larger view.) 

A very good friend was the model this week. I've befriended some of our class's models, and acquaintances popped up as models, but never a good friend.  I knew it wouldn't be a problem, but I didn't expect such hilarity: when she stood naked in front of me for the first time, I couldn't stop thinking I never noticed she had such a thin upper lip. Especially from the side. While I was trying to draw, my mind kelp replaying all the times she sat on my couch and we sipped Earl and Lady Gray tea and laughed.

The Arm(s)
I was sick most of the week and I spent a great part in bed sleeping. Other then when I was culling my notebook pages.  It turned out to be a good thing because my physiotherapist said the muscles are nowhere as nearly as tense as last week.  So I must be careful again this week; weaving, weeding, anything in 15 minutes increments.

Physiotherapy and Bourgeois made me more aware I would like to take better care of my health, and especially of my limbs, because I'm 53 and a half, and if I've only decided that I want to make warps and warps of "pretty" cloth, I need about 40 years to get good at it. And to that end, I really need to exercise more.  

* * * * *

Louise Bourgeois
on Wiki
Google images (Warning: quite a few genitalia.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spotted Around Town

Lichen on trees in the park in front of Nelson Hospital.  See towards top right?
I don't know if the yellow bits fall off or turn into the pale limy its.  I don't know what the black dots are, and don't remember what three this was.
A tree with scales.  A different tree in front of the Nelson Courthouse. It's big and wide and lovely from a distance, but it looks very healthy.

Monday, September 5, 2011


The structure of loom-weaving is simple; the warp is either up or down, which causes the weft to be either below or above. So cloth can be expressed in binary, though we would probably prefer it in color.

In weaving, the weavers must follow sequential steps; in this respect it is similar to, as far as I understand, ceramics or bronze casting. But any given step is not complex, far less so than cooking or driving.

Weaving can be time-consuming in as much as the preparations/steps prior to the actually weaving can be perceived as, well, long.

There are two characteristics of weaving that make it, to me, stand out from other art/craft techniques I've observed:

1) The basic premise/unit of weaving is grids. Whilst it is possible to make pictures in weaving, these pictures are made up of squares, or pixels if you like, and not "freehand".

2) The main part of loom-weaving, the weaving, is mechanical and repetitive. This may contradict perceptions/definitions of "making art" in that it is not, again for want of a better term, "freehand".

Which make weaving all the more attractive to this inside-the-box/happy-within-the-boundary maker.

After speaking to Cally last night, and reflecting on the Group R exhibition (working?) title of "Beginnings", I felt like going back to the start.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Yes, since I posted my P2P2 bit at 5.59PM Wednesday, life has been moving on pretty quickly.

I was in quite a bad shape by the time I finished typing my post, and I envisioned having "braces", (which I finally remembered are called "splints",) on both arms by Thursday morning.  Andrea threatened me to nag until I made an appointment with a particular physiotherapist, and I didn't dither.

Ben came home at 6.13PM and handed me a parcel; it was a surprise from Cally containing her second Varanasi-inspired towel, and a card.  It was such a lovely surprise, but I tell you, her towel is so soft it made me ponder showing/looking at/buying/selling textiles on the Internet, again.  It just doesn't work for me unless I can bury my face in it.  As well, the Wild Ruin Navajo Weaving design, simplified, would render easily to scarf weaving, though I would have the diamonds raining down warp-wise and perhaps work it achromatically. Inspirations are everywhere.    

Thursday came and I limped over to the physio, who pinpointed the cause and source of pain, and gave me a few exercises to do at home, with two printed sheets as reminders.  I remember two well, but I have to look at the sheets for the rest.  But she said I could weave 15 minutes at a time, (didn't say how many times a day,) so I am aiming for up to an hour a day soon.
I stopped by at the Suter to tell Andrea I had gone to see the physiotherapist, and I think Andrea was mildly surprised because I usually think about these things a long time and often deciding against them. And by then I wasn't in enough pain to buy another splint for the right arm.  I went to the Red Gallery because the cafe now has (free?) Wifi and I wanted to update P2P2 links; once there, I ran into Jo and Ronnie of Group R, so we spent discussing the Monday meeting instead.

After lunch with Ben, I went somewhere else to do the P2P2 link, and then walked around town looking for gifts for the upcoming trip home.  Men and boys remain difficult, (and the older the boys get, the harder, because I have no idea what electronic things they enjoy!)

I went into the bookshop and saw Anne Field's Collapse Weave on sale; I flipped through and looked at the pictures and left it at that.  It's one of those things I know a lot of folks tried, but until I see a truly lovely example, I'm seldom interested in what's in vogue; ditto big-loop mohair yarns, cotton/rayon chenilles, warp-painting, woven shibori, felting, and recently; eco-dyeing. I take my hats off to those who think of them first or resurrect old techniques, but so many pieces look the same as what's in Handwoven, and I'm too stubborn to learn a technique or material unless I can see, or at least sense, a way for me to use it differently.  Well, that's the theory. 

I was happy to get my hands on a visual diary with black pages, though; I have been intrigued by them for a long time but couldn't think of how I would use them.  Then in the last year or so as I've become more comfortable drawing on black paper, nobody stocked those sketchbooks, or I was always missing htem.  Now they are back, and I look forward to doodling with white, silver, gold, and other gel pens. Oh, and I bought a bag full of weird and funky stationary supplies for nephews and niece; erasable highlighters, ball point pens that look like wooden pencils with an erase at the end, etc, etc., etc. If they don't like them, their mothers will! And 5-year-old niece gets the same stuff as her fav cousins, 10 and 15, which is always a bonus.  

Friday I had drawing, and then hung out with Ben the whole afternoon; he has to have his eyes photographed every two years for his diabetes, and he is administered drops to open his pupils; he can't focus, can't read, and certainly can't drive for several hours, so we spent the afternoon walking everywhere.  It wasn't nice, though, how sunny it was on Friday, when Thursday was dark and cold and for Ben's eyes, it would have been more comfortable.
Saturday I was tired.  We dropped off the unsure scarf, got groceries, went to another bookshop, and came home.  I was exhausted, and after lunch I crawled into bed with my laptop and book.  In the evening, we watched one silly movie; I wanted to go to bed and read but Ben wanted to watch a 1963 Bond movie, so I stuck around Googling images and came across this artist.

Group R's exhibition is now 12 months and 26 days to installation, and I'm trying to think big, and suddenly I thought knowing collapse weave may help.  I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet, but I want to make something big and I've been listing techniques where structure/design-interest can be seen from some distance, as well as close up, especially when the viewer stands right up close to the work and looks up.  So today we went back and got the Field book.
And another thing.  Cally and I are going to Skype tonight.  Not exactly sure how we came about, but it was definitely me who suggested it, so I should pretty up a bit in the next six hours, (as if!,) and perhaps list things I would like to discuss.  I've only Skyped three times before and the first two times I didn't have a laptop with a camera so I could see them but they not me.  This time Cally can see me, and... we'll see how that goes!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

P2P2: The Big Reveal

The Reveal

Esmae    Shirley     Kaz     Amanda     Cally     Terri

Holly     Sandy    Sampling     Michelle     Geodyne     Desirée

Julie     Heidi     Judy     Alienore     Meg

(Very sadly, Cindy had to withdraw from the Challenge halfway.) 

The Journey

Cally      Geodyne      Judy      Holly      Heidi      Sandy

Shirley      Alienore      Cindy      Julie      Chewiedox      Sampling

Amanda      Michelle      Desirée     Kaz      Terri      Esmae     Meg

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