Thursday, August 23, 2012

40 Days and No Longer Counting

More or less. The Group Strands met on Monday, and we had 40 more days to work on our respective pieces.

I've been weeding in between weaving. I think I've mentioned numerous times that we live on a steep slope. The area of the garden I've been working on, weeding, planting, pruning and feeding, is not as steep as some other areas, but it's still about, ohhhhh, 30 degrees. It's outside my kitchen windows, and is the only part of our garden we can see from the inside without making an effort to look at our garden. Anyway, We bought 15 bags of compost material for the local school fund-raiser, and as I liberated plants I intended to have from ones that grew on their own accord, I gave a bit of this nice compost. It's lovely dark, dark charcoal brown, and the view from the kitchen tell me every day how much I got done. In fact, I got almost all the weeding done for that area on Saturday, even pulled out a shrub that had died, and I was pretty pleased with myself.

Sunday night we had very heavy rain and all I could imagine were the liberated plants soaking up the goodness of the rain and the compost and magically growing, oh...., 30cm overnight.? What happened instead was some of the nice new compost got pushed down by the ran, flowed across the path, through the gap created by the absence of said dead shrub, down the retaining wall, and spread across the patio and down the storm water drain. And outside my kitchen windows were these miniature canyons of compost and soil cut in rather stark, acute angles, tributaries converging where the dead shrub was, and, well, you get the picture.

My life feels a little bit like that, too. I finally finished Pillar 3, but with great difficulty. Every day I have to consider how much my seemingly-suddenly-ancient body can take: 100 picks twice a days is fine, 150 is manageable, but 200 in one sitting, and heaven forbid two sittings of those, seem to render me useless the following day. Whereas Pillar 1 took four days to weave, (albeit even then I knew it was break-neck speed,) Pillar 3 took around 10 just for the bottom portion.

As if this slowness is not problem enough, this incremental weaving is bad for beating consistency in my case, and because I'm now always thinking about my back, I've gone soft. And Pillar 3 was woven entirely with the two-ply weft, which took in a lot more air as I wove. To make matters worse, the draft for Pillar 1 with the thicker single weft was around 1770 picks; Pillar 2 with the thinner single weft 1790 to accommodate, and these two pillars came out within 2cm of each other in length off the loom. Pillar 3 draft is about 1810 picks; I knew this but I like the look of it so I went ahead expecting it to come out slightly longer than the other two.

Well, that "slightly longer" turned into around 25cm!

And for a couple of days I couldn't look at it. I felt the pictures that lived in my head crumple and die. Was it indulging in the loveliness of the draft that caused this? The rushed last minute sampling with the double and lazy calculation? The incremental and inconsistent weaving? Or the cumulative out-of-shape-ness that worked against me? Wow is me, bring out the violins, start backing girly cupcakes for a grand pity party. You get the picture.

But you know, I found myself in that home stretch where I don't get too emotional. My immediate concern was what to do with Pillar 4, which will be the last one looking at what's left on the warp beam; I'll keep it around 1800 so it'll be somewhere between the two length, and hope and pray that in the wet-finishing these two will shrink at a greater rate than the first two, which is what did happen, sort of, in the last sampling. And I'll change the shape I'll hang these so they are not lined up in a nice line/curve right next to each other, but staggered so the longer ones are at the front and the smaller ones at the back, hoping for some kind of a perspective thing taking place.

But then, it dawned on me this morning that the original idea was not to hang them straight anyway, but to make some look crumbled and ruined. Su-weet!

I've accumulated half a dozen post drafts in the last wee while, as I've done some work on the Friends(hip) project, blurbs, and what not, as well as thoughts on post-exhibition ideas and the usual personal growth/groan stuff, but all these are taking a/the backseat to the actual work. I miss speaking to/with you, but not the sound of my own voice as I seem to get over problems more quickly if I don't try to verbalize it but just let it live in my head for a day or two.

Anyway, talk some more soon?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my bad back. As suggested by Ben and confirmed by Jean the Physio, it wasn't caused by weaving for too long nor unergonomically, but my witting tilted on the floor and using the computer on the coffee table. Kinda like what I'm doing right now. So theoretically, I'm fine as long as I don't do... this.

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