Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beginnings: Preamble

This recap is more for me than for you; I may have written all this before, but I need to recall and clarify, so you must excuse me.

When I decided in March 2010 that I was going to have a solo exhibition, I had the working title of "WYSISYG: What You See is What You Get", and the "concept" behind it was, "cloths without concepts".

I had a mental picture of the exhibition: big tubes like Titanic's funnel/smoke stacks hanging from high above, and folks possibly walking into and/or standing inside them, looking up. I based the other contents of the exhibition on this one picture: lots of big, pretty but useless cloths doing what cloths do; wrapping, dividing, hiding, declaring. A little like an European castle's banquet hall with tapestries, flags and banners, but more contemporary and clean. I don't know if others do this, but I wanted to create an exhibition and fill it with cloths.
Mind Map or Solo Brainstorming on the Function of Cloth, Version XXX
And finally a legible version

The problem I had at the last meeting at my house was, this being a group exhibition, I wanted to brainstorm about the overall view/flow/philosophy/vision/picture of the exhibition so I can make things to fill it, but my insistence on the look of the exhibition was interpreted as my not trusting others to make nice work, and things heated up.

After going over the meeting with Pat the next day, she picked up that I have a totally different approach to my making, in this instance, and understood why I needed the group brainstorming in order to start working, instead of make things, and then consider how they can be displayed. She suggested I go all the way back to the first picture and work from there, and it's been smooth sailing since.

I still feel a little trepidation about Monday, but I think it'll go well.

I need to confirm with the group that ours is not a strictly conceptual textile work exhibition. I'm also going to suggest, though maybe at another time, some brainstorming about the difference between a joint exhibition and group members' work being hung together. 


A near-miracle is taking place in my house today; Ben is tidying the office/study, and even throwing things away! This has been a very contentious issue between us as the last time I remember cleaning that room, and in particular the bookshelf, was Jan/Feb of 2000, and I lost years of sleepless nights over it, caused mostly by my conspicuous book purchases.

I was so ready to start working on my October exhibition ideas in a more organized way, but I even offered to help him when he finished reconfiguring his workstations and moved on to the stationary cupboard. It isn't much of a stationary cupboard lately, and we've been discussing for several years how to make it more Ben's-photography-friendly; he's accumulated a bit of equipment, and we've accumulated a small variety of photo papers. And the whole argument has been about making it more his room than ours, since I've hogged two other rooms for several years.

I found some stuff I knew we had but couldn't find; two being plastic cover sheets, card baking, and the binding thingies. Though I never finished Carla Sonheim's Art of Silliness 1, in spite of psyching myself up a few times intending to, I decided I was going to let it go and not worry about finishing. But I so enjoyed the experience so I'm going to get the holes punched and the set bound on Monday. I'd like to do another of her course, but I can't decide between Silly 2 or Faces 101, (either way, on my own,) and I don't want to do it until I get my next six months sorted, as in rough plans and loose rules.
The sheet is the last one I worked in Brisbane inside the Matisse exhibition. I was besotted by a series of linocuts he did for this book and you can see a few more examples here. I was particularly enamored by a very simple portrait of a woman with her face resting on in her arms. Matisse's linocut came with the parts of the face, too, but I loved the woman's right arm in particular and the position/angle of the face but no amount of trying could capture the mood of it. (I've a few more on the back of the sheet without much improvement.) 

I didn't do a mini project in March, but I think an idea for a mini April project is brewing. But now I'm off to get some sexy bobbin/pirn pics.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Six-Month Lockdown Commences Tomorrow... Among Other Things

Win's friend Jean took me to Blenheim to see the National Exhibition yesterday, but I'm not sure which I enjoyed more, the exhibition or our conversation. The exhibition itself was a little cramped and I had to concentrate to really see as many pieces as I could, but there were a lot of nice pieces. I'm also disappointed the gallery (their staff hung the exhibition) did not take advantage of the height; because I expected it, as I walked into the space it looked to me as if all the work settled towards the bottom of the gallery and I needed a little time to adjust my perspective. Though if you didn't know how high the ceiling is in this gallery, you may not have a problem. Here are some views, (photographs allowed here!):
(The red scarf on the plinth is Dianne's!" 

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I've had Foot-in-Mouth Disease for a while and am finding social situations difficult. On Sunday at a neighborhood do, I kept saying the stupidest things without thinking, just to fill in the space; I came home exhausted and wanting to crawl in a hole.  During lunch at Win's yesterday, I suddenly started talking about my weight! (WTF!!) and try as I did to shut up, I was on autodrive. And I ate too much; Win is a lovely cook and I eat too much every time she feeds me.

I don't know what's happening, but for now I'm choosing to think it's not my head. Anyway, I'm looking forward to very little social situations in the foreseeable future. (Read on.)

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Today was the last day of this term of our drawing class. I'm not going the next two terms, (read on), and possibly the last term, (this, depending on my parents' health when the Northern autumn/winter approach.) But I have mini projects in mind to keep me drawing, albeit less regularly.
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Six months from today we will hang our Beginnings exhibition. I've been obsessed about what I'm going to make since I spoke with Pat two weeks ago, but have now progressed to the stage where I need to concentrate, so I'm going into a six-month lockdown.  I love lockdown before exhibitions and always look forward to them; this is a little longer than usual, but I'm thinking big, and I'll need the time towards the end for possibly several weeks of mindless weaving. I'm almost giddy thinking about the next six months.

I'll post about my progress separately after I discuss blog posts with Group R on Monday; I'm sure it'll be fine for me to talk about what I'm making, but I read somewhere it's best never to assume things when working with a group.

EDIT: Pre-exhibition lockdown often means I'm potentially even more "vocal" here. You have been warned. 

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This afternoon I saw a film called "In Search of Haydn"; if you are a fan of classical music of that era, or play an instrument, you might want to see it. In it was one pianist, Marc-André Hamelin, who had a very physical way of expressing what he thought about Papa. I can't imagine how I could describe it, and it was a very short clip in a not-very-long documentary, but his hands and upper body changed shapes as he spoke about parts of Papa's piano concerto; I was absolutely taken by the, ahem, symphony of his words, physical expression, energy and emotion. It also reminded me of how I melted with Pekka Kuusisto's physical performance in the Australian documentary "4". (I had a link to the video on YouTube back then but this will do.)

Last year when I was home there was an incident where Mom and I were talking about textiles late at night, and I, as per usual, got animated, which in tern alarmed Mom and she suddenly and sternly told me to settle down. And that was the end of the conversation; she wasn't going to have be behave "like that". I felt like shouting, "Have you been listening to any of it?"

I never understood why she became so upset, and dismissive, as I was no livelier than I usually am when I talk about work. I felt sorry she didn't share the same passion; probably more sorry for myself than for her. I love musicians who get involved with their instruments and their work, as if their instruments become part of their body; I feel the same when I catch staring down at the cloth I've just woven while sitting at my loom.

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I received yet another exotic (for me) paper yarn from Sandy. Life's starting to get more complicated with the arrival of these, I tell you. Thank you, Sandy!

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April Spools Day this weekend!

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Forgot to give you a wee present. Have a look at this!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Productive, I think

First thing this morning I exercised for about half an hour. Then I worked on the Festival blog for about two and a half hours; happily, this brings us almost up to the weekend before the Festival, so the Committee, (mostly Joan,) doesn't have to worry about the Internet-related stuff as folks concentrate on last minute preparations. Unless there is a change or a big announcement. Or if they totally run out of things to prepare and decide to cook up a post. 
I finished the second piece on the colorful warp and here it's relaxing on the loom. I did the Italian hemstitching again; I'm getting slightly faster but it is still hard to keep the length even. Happily, I don't have enough warp left for another piece, so I will weave some fabric with the remaining warp, This time, I'm going to use only the dull olive green and gold in the weft, I think.
These are three cotton warps I prepared, oh, so long ago. They are narrower, about 12 inches from memory, and possibly shorter than my regular 8 meters. I want to weave more subtle versions of the colorful stuff, either in blocks or in my so-called "Rococo" inspired style.
This Friday is the last session of drawing for the term. I did not enjoy this term; extreme closeups of mostly face parts in schematic and line drawings, sitting down with a board on our laps. I'm not that interested in precision drawing any more, and when sitting down it's hard to move away from the drawing so I never know if the proportions are right until the sitting is finished and I can step away from the drawings.

I tried to liven things up a bit on my own; I used regular pencils during the first sitting, and colors during the second. I had thought Ronette told us to swap places to get a different view if we wanted to, so I stayed in the same chair because I liked this angle, and you really can't practice anything in just one sitting, but I copped a lot of flack from Ronette and my classmates teased me. So, sulk! After the break, I wanted to draw the same angle twice again, but I moved. We have Easter off, (Friday class has a three-week break; other classes have two weeks off,) then next term we're going to repeat the details of mostly facial parts but in tones this time. I might like it slightly more, but nowhere near gesture drawing. Sulk!
Judy makes the coolest cards, but today I received a pack that was a little different; she challenged me with such fibers as Hessian, paper, linen and jute. I don't think I've ever touched Hessian or jute in yarn form before, and these totally changes my thinking of my project. She said they may not play nicely with the other yarns, but I'm kind of thrilled about the challenge, especially in light of all kinds of lovely, weird, challenging and wonderful things she's been showing us relating to the course she's doing. Thank you very much, Judy!

So, not a bad Monday. And, oh, Win's friend is going to take me to Blenheim on Thursday to see the National Exhibition.  Lucky, aren't I?

What I Make

Two exhibitions opened near me last Friday; one was Changing Threads in Nelson, one was the guild's National Exhibition in Blenheim. I've been peripherally involved in one, and a curious outsider for yonks with the other, and here are some personal observations, aka strong opinions. For the sake of argument, I'm going to dichotomize their characteristics, so keep in mind the facts aren't as black and white. 

Changing Threads is a conceptual, contemporary, textile art exhibition, where techniques are sometimes secondary. The National Exhibition is more a large group exhibition of "like-minded people" interested/engaged in woolcrafts, a word included in the official name of the New Zealand organization.

Makers make whatever they like and submit entries for both exhibitions, and there is selection involved in both, but Changing Threads excludes to create the collective body of works representing the vision of the organizers while requiring individual works to reflect the brief, whereas the National Exhibition includes to the best of their ability.

If there is politics involved in Changing Threads, it plays second fiddle to the vision, the brief and the concepts, or the way I've come to see it, CT as an entity, whereas the National Exhibition embodies its faithful, largely-amateur and volunteer membership. Their target market and audience are, accordingly, slightly different though there is an overlap in a small community like Nelson, or the Top of the South Island.

To me, Changing Threads look forward, the National Exhibition reflect back; the former challenges, the latter reminisces. But this is not to say there are no nostalgic items in the former, or forward-looking pieces in the latter. In fact, this year, I was thrilled to find one artist having strikingly similar works in both exhibitions; they are two series of stiff fiber-based tubes representing tree trunks having in its hollow parts and surrounds exquisite handmade books. I know CT absolutely loves it, and I'm dying to know how it is received by the National Exhibition organizers and visitors. (Her piece in the National Exhibition is scheduled for April 2 on the Festival blog.)

These two are the textile-related exhibitions nearest and most familiar to me, and where, in the first instance, I would go to exhibit. And exhibiting handwoven textiles, mine or others', was terribly important to me for a long time. I thought, and in some ways still do, handweaving is dying a slow death in the number who practice, it requires space and long periods of preparation, it's not portable in the way knitting is, and in New Zealand it's seen as something everybody's grandmother did, (everybody has a loom in the shed but nobody knows how to use them, so if you don't buy it it'll be firewood next week!) And to boot, wool is expensive in New Zealand, and there are fewer and fewer mills here and in Australia. You get the picture.

I think, though, the picture is not that dismal; newer and often more wired equipment and the variety of ways to source and learn and platforms for exchanges and friendship on the Internet is going to keep it alive.

After deciding on that bridge in Brisbane I don't have to force every breathing minute of my life contribute to/influence my weaving, I noticed my compulsion to exhibit, having to fight for platforms for non-art/conceptual weavers to show work, had been waning for some time. It could be related to finally letting go of "concepts" after last year's P2P2; my shoulders still loosen and drop when I remember that lunch with Pat, Ronette, Nola and Megan when I said it out loud for the first time.

It could be because, albeit for only an hour a day and two or three days a week, I have been weaving consistently of late, and every day I work on projects, not just thinking but arranging wool balls, looking up books, touching equipment, drawing, coloring, cutting up papers and making 3D models, and visualizing. I feel like a weaver and I've been so interested what I make or could make and there isn't time for other things. This really has been the best it's been in a while.

There's no guarantee I won't go back to thinking lots, but I learned a little bit more about own making; mine is not a straight line but like a heart; it expands and contracts in irregular cycles. Or, I'm like a snail not just with my speed, but only by looking back you can see the wiggly path I took. The only problem is, I tend not to like snails. :->

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Rose has some personal photos of National Exhibition in her Flickr. I'm not sure how I can show you Changing Threads, other than a few that may appear in our local press.

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Edit: I made a mistake. The "conceptual" pieces put in Changing Threads and the National Exhibition by the same artist were not as similar as I had thought. The piece in Changing Threads is as described above, but the one in the National Exhibition has a box, a couple of books and some flax weaving, and the work received a Merit Award.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Way my Life Works...

The hearts blanket was placed in a clothes dryer by an au pair and was reduced to a doll-size mess. Lucky I still had these under the couch; fringing is painful for my arms so I've had these in the usual holding position for nearly a year, but they've been moved to the waiting area that is under the coffee table. One of these will eventually end up in the hands of my, I think, almost 3-year old client.

Meanwhile, her little sister wants a pink/ivory/brown blankie. No rest for the slow weaver, especially when she goes overseas to see an exhibition on a whim.

Money, Books, Clutter and Depression

In a way I'm thankful the Brisbane trip was so expensive, because there were so many books I wanted in the GOMA and QAG museum shops and the State Library bookshop. (Minor inconvenience: these art books weighed a ton, and I went on the cheap fare that allowed me 7kg of carry on bag only, remember?) My apartment was half a block away from what looked like a big used book shop, but I only took photo of the place. I felt virtuous not wasting money when I'm trying hard to cull stuff.

You may find this unimaginable, but I was not always a hoarder. In fact, I grew up with a fabric- and yarn-obsessed mother, so for a long time I didn't need to stock. Now, there is a different story in her case; she grew up in a large household during the war and from memory several of their houses, consecutively not simultaneously, got bombed and burned. She watched her mother trade precious kimono with food, and then her mother died shortly after the war ended, and Mom effectively became the female head of a large household, with a small staff, as I understand. When I was a kid, she bought stuff in bulk if she could, fabric by the bolt, when bulk buying wasn't so widespread in Japan.

Books were the only thing I collected, but at least until I got married I read everything I bought before I bought more. Then came two significant changes in my life: around '92 Japan went into the recession that continues to this day and the first think I noticed was books began to go out of print. Up until then, in Japan, most books I would have been interested in never went out of print, and there was a good change larger stores had them on their shelves on any given day. in '94 we moved to New Zealand, and never mind stock, there just weren't the big bookstores.

When I started to weave, I had to oder everything from far away, like Ashburton, or the USA. After we moved to Nelson, there was one weaving store, in Picton about 90 minutes away, but this closed soon after. And because I live at the bottom of the plant and shipping/posting cost so much, I tended to order a few extra cones/books just in case. As a beginner, I could justify needing a little extra for practice, or reading them as I progressed and understood more. At that point, it wasn't a problem.

And then early this century, I was diagnosed with mild to moderate depression with a large side order of anxiety. (One psychologists, who spent the longest time investigating my various complaints, thinks anxiety is a bigger problem in my case.)

Whatever the causes, I started buying things. Not a lot, per se, but often. I also became a bargain hunter and started to buy things I don't use, just in case. And I couldn't keep an inventory of similar things I already had. And I was aware culling, at this point, was a bad idea because I was unable to make decisions of any kind, including with what to part.

It started with weaving books and yarns, but extended to other books, art supplies, fabric, spices/herbs/sauces, household cleaning products, aromatic oils, body soaps and moisturizers. Plus, I helped Mom clean out her stash big time twice, I salvaged large amount, including sending back NZ yarns she brought home on her numerous trips here.

I was aware I was buying, but I wasn't aware I had a psychological need for it; I was saving them for when I resumed normal, productive life. I was aware, too, my things were taking up a lot of space, but I kept everything, waiting for the day my head came right, so I can declutter "correctly".

About the time we repainted the stash room in mid-2009, I got tired of things taking up space and I could see the buying had gotten out of hand, and I've been trying to declutter ever since. That I can even think and talk about this is a sign my head's been in a good place for the last 12-18 months; whatever panic attack or doubts I feel have been mostly normal ups and downs or short-lived.

Household cleaning products were first to go; not thrown out, but from time to time I'd engage in intensive cleaning even while I was sick. We gradually reduced the types of products I buy and switched everything to supposedly "green" products. The many, lovely, un-cheap body soaps and spices/herbs/sauces we just used, and only two hideously hot sauces remain from those days, though they are nice and we dip into them occasionally. Fabric, some books and some yarns have been donated to charity or given to friends. But there is still so much more, not just stuff, but cardboard boxes holding stuff, which we no longer see because they have been there for a while.

There were two triggers for writing this post, one being about a month ago I noticed there were gaps in the linen closet and I could see how few aromatic oils and moisturizers I had. (Still many, but that's relative.) The other was just last week I had thought my yarn stash looks so much better than before, until I went downstairs and remembered I had transported about a quarter of the stash there while I worked on relevant projects. I burst out laughing because my yarn stash is still very, very big. I can keep weaving a variety of things for eight to ten years without buying another ball, I figured.

Books I want to read before I cull, because I do buy interesting books. Yarns, as long as I am able, I'm weaving with them, because I kept only nice yarns. 

But the point is, I can think about this, and talk about this, without crawling into another dark hole. And that's a good thing, a big change.

I did buy one book on Matisse in Brisbane, but it was so heavy I had to post it home.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Art and Me

While I walked around Brisbane and inside the galleries, I felt compelled to have to learn things that would directly tie in with my work. I thought that was the purpose of my trip, and kept shooting ordinary repeat patterns in architecture, mumbling, "How can I use this?" and the answers were usually, "I can't, not really, it's boring."

Then, while crossing one of the long bridges across Brisbane River,  I asked myself what's wrong with just enjoying, looking and experiencing art, and I had no good answer. That's when I decided that not "studying" art but just enjoying isn't a bad thing, and that I'm not wasting my time or money just savoring the sensation. And that's when I decided I didn't have to take pictures of every interesting building or sculpture or crack in the sidewalk.

A month removed, these two paragraphs read so ordinary and you may ask why I'm bothering to post this, but I have a very bad memory and whenever I go away the urge to record for myself what I'm experiencing usually wins over the urge to just immerse myself where I am and experience it, and I end up with a lot of pictures, especially this side of digital, with which I don't know what to do after I upload them to the computer, and still feel guilty culling.

This was one of the few trips in I've managed to concentrate on seeing, hearing, smelling and a little bit of touching and eating Brisbane, and didn't bother to photograph or record, (i.e. write, or worse yet, list!) as much as I might have.

This was a big shift, and a big load off my shoulders. I don't know if I can always do this, and there were a few things I wished I had photographed, (students in bedsheets stampeding in torrential rain rushing to what must have been one giant toga party my first night would be at the top of the list,) but I think I made the trip a more saturated experience because of this.

I feel I established a bit less adversarial relationship with art, and a bit more amicable one with myself. 

Note to self: try this again.


One month ago today, I left on a five-day trip to Brisbane, Australia to see a Matisse exhibition. It already feels like ages ago.

This afternoon I was looking through photos I took while there, and discovered I didn't take many, and they are all of appalling qualities, partially due to the weather during my stay, which was either tropical torrential rain, (some places "near" Brisbane started flooding before I left,) or humid tropical blaze. It was, though, was an eye-opening trip for me, so I'll post a few photos. (All the galleries except Matisse allowed photography, but I didn't take a lot and the few I did came out, oh, so badly.)
This map is way out of proportion. The Queensland Performance Art Centre (far left) was like a small city on its own.
Inked and sun-burned. The day I went to see Matisse, I think I was inside GOMA between six and seven hours.
Just outside the Matisse exhibition was big area where visitors were encouraged to draw.
Cafe adjacent to the Matisse exhibition; I loved the bird cage lamps.
This is a function area of of the State Library of Queensland; it was a spacious indoor/outdoor area with kitchen facilities, but on both occasions I went there there was nobody around. In the panels on the sides was some of their teacup collections. I saw the teacups from far away and really wanted to get to this space, but once there most of the panels are so high up I couldn't see the cups very well.
Ground floor, Queensland Art Gallery. I sat on a bench for about an hour reflecting on all the art I saw in Queensland, and envied the largeness of scale of everything Australia. I tried to memorize this place so whenever I meditate, or feel in need of an escape, I can return in my head.
 Close-up of the picture frame of a Lautrec painting. 
Wheelchair ramp, Queensland Art Gallery. Even close up, it looked like a tapestry, but this was paint on board, from memory.
The Treasury Casino, formerly the state treasury building, and what a beautiful building it is. Across the street, on this side, was a "modern/public art" piece that looked like a giant kitchen utensil. There are so many public sculptures in central Brisbane.
Batman's HQ, I thought...
New part of Brisbane; thinking of Christchurch, I didn't want to be in this part of town very much.
During the guided tour of the Matisse exhibition, we spent quite a long time in front of the drawings for the Barnes Murals because there were few visitors who were particularly interested in the work. The following morning, I opened my balcony window, and, whoa, serendipity.
Brisbane was lovely. And fantastic. And mind-blowing. But I was glad I live in Nelson, because Brisbane offered too many distractions for me to concentrate on my making. This was shot from my balcony window before I left.

Brisbane was big, bright, but not as brash as I had expected. The scholarship behind not just the Matisse exhibition but many others at both GOMA and QAG were high; they installed/hung artworks beautifully; printed material, lectures, and films associated with the exhibitions, many free, were excellent, and the staff, paid and volunteers, were exceptionally well-informed.

The galleries were beautiful, with plenty of indoor and outdoor sitting areas to rest and reflect on the artworks; bookshops were well-stocked with interesting and/or rare books in addition to their own publications; even the cafe food was great. I was mesmerized by the combined largeness and excellence of the galleries and shows, and felt strong multiple jolts telling me Nelson is a small place and there is so much out there in the big wide world.

Australia, and particularly Queensland at the center of Australian mining industry, has not been touched by the recent recession. Everything was expensive, including the exhibition catalogue (A$50, and no, I didn't get it, because it was so heavy!), accommodation, and food. Because I stayed in an apartment, I cooked most of my meals, having only two lunches at the galleries, but still I ran out of cash I took with me quickly and the trip cost far more than I had estimated. Although entry to most galleries were free; I think I only paid for the Matisse exhibition, which was A$20.

On the other hand, having lived in financial dire straits, both personal and worldwide, for quite a few years, I had forgotten how people walked and talked when they are experiencing good times; forward-looking, uplifting, and thinking big. I needed to be reminded of that. 

Australia is really big. The central part of Brisbane has good public transport, not just on the ground by also on the river, but it's also easy to walk around. Something I can't experience in Nelson was taking 15 and 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other of one building, or to hop over to the next building. That in the torrential, tropical rain, or the humid tropical blaze.  

When I think of visiting Australia to see art, I automatically think of Melbourne and the state of Victoria, but again, there is a big world out there, even within Australia, and it was good to be reminded of it. I'd like to keep an eye on what exhibitions GOMA hosts, and if possible, go back to Brisbane with Ben so he can experience that city. Though expensive, it's so near and we don't need to be away for weeks and months for a new experience.

You do realize, though, I'll be weaving and posting a lot about "merchandises" because, did I mention, Australia was expensive?

Some facts:

Nelson to Wellington is a 25-minute flight; Wellington to Brisbane was around 4 hours; Brisbane Airport to the center of Brisbane by train was about half an hour. The longest wait was A) having bags checked and getting out of Brisbane Airport, (somewhere between 60-90 minutes,) and waiting for the train at Brisbane Airport, (the train ran either every 30 minutes, or I think every hour when I arrived.)  Wellington Airport charges NZ$25 to exit, but Brisbane Departure Tax is included in your flight, and people working in the travel industry don't seem to know what Departure Tax is; at least not the ones I asked.

You can use NZ credit cards on EFTPOS machines in any old shop in Brisbane, with your regular pin number; in fact if you have the new chip style credit card, transactions were much faster on the Australian system.

I expected to see many of the same brands on Australian supermarket shelves, because we import so much of their stuff, but that wasn't the case. I also had a hard time finding the variety of yogurt we have in New Zealand.

Julia and Kev did all that just to entertain me on that Monday, I know. 

In 1988 when I first visited Australia, I was amazed how tall everyone was, even compared to Minnesota, especially the women. I wasn't mistaken; I saw so many extremely tall Aussies, well over 6 feet. There was one surreal moment in one of the smaller rooms exhibiting Matisse's earlier drawings: it was around 4.30, golden time, only people who haven't got the heart to leave hang around, taking longer in front of each drawing. There were three of us in the room, me and two tall men. One was tall, probably around 6"4', and I had this familiar sensation of belt buckle walking past me face. But I kid you not, a few moments later, a pair (??) of buttocks walked past my face; this man was older but with good posture, and he wasn't all out of proportion like some tall folks are, but he was... tall, and even the other tall man stared at him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

WordPress Bloggers

WP recently changed the way we are (not) allowed to log on and leave comments. I don't want to allow WP to access my Facebook information so I can't seem to leave comments on WP blogs. I don't have a Twitter account. Does anyone know how else to comment?

And this includes not being able to say CONGRATS and wishing a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Judy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Morning

And we finally have some rain, yay! I wove for an hour on Wednesday and Thursday, and the arms are a little weird, (no pain, just yellow/orange lights, I guess,) and I'm wondering if I should give it a rest today or keep going. I could bring out all the stiffer wool into the living room and start thinking about big pieces for the exhibition in October.

This clip is making me think about the Internet and work, my work, and making money via the Internet in particular.

I use the Internet primarily for research, for connecting, (including participating and hosting projects,) and for my own amusement/enjoyment. I can't say I've ever observed a direct connection to what I make,(other than learning how to use a carder and how to hemstitch on the loom,) and I've never sold anything to people I met on the Internet.

Once in the mid-90's and again in the early 00's, when I was thinking of getting up a website, I was forewarned about many weavers not to expect to sell much via the Internet, as clients need to be able to feel textiles before they buy.

I've had two inquiries about specific pieces, and two if I have an online shop, but no sale, though photos have helped one repeat customer and Mom decide what they wanted. Though, I guess, looking back, this repeat customer, at the very beginning, studied my website/blog before ordering, so she may count as one; I've just received the fifth order from her. My pieces are relatively expensive and I consider most of them one-offs, (I don't repeat designs too often and never colors,) and NZ dollar tends to be make it more expensive for you. This is why I've never been in a rush to setup Esty, (I cringe at the thought of having to think about prices,) though I realize this is one of my Chicken/Egg dilemmas. I'm not blaming the Internet; I'm not complaining because there is a lot more I could do, but exploring.

We're not like... say, film makers, performance artists, not even illustrators, who seem to be creating new ways of making their art every day. And I don't teach, and I don't write books. What are things weavers can do on the Internet? How can Internet help me generate sales? And what are ways I could integrate the Internet to my work, besides gazing at photos?

* * * * *

Kathryn sent me a very long yard of handspun silk and a lovely handmade paper prayer flag/bunting. She used handmade stamps. It's going into the stash room, most definitely. Thank you, Kathryn.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ho Hum...

The piece after the exhibition is becoming a drag; now that I don't have a deadline, it's moving slowly, and there are colors adjacent to each other that I don't like the combination of. (Is that even a coherent sentence?) And I'm afraid there is still a bit of warp left after this piece, for a big sample piece, or perhaps a couple of napkins/serviettes or some such. And I so want to move on, but the arms, yeah.... not exactly worry-free at the moment...

By the way, there is an interesting discussion on what "narrative" means on Connie Rose's blog. I have given permission for me to cringe at the hint of "concepts" but "narrative", I find interesting; not the too literal stuff, I don't care much of words-on-cloth unless they work really well, but I wonder whose story a piece is supposed to narrate, the maker or the viewer. Any thoughts?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Changing Threads IV

Today I helped hang Changing Threads IV; this was the third time I helped and though the installation isn't finished, (one big piece is stuck in transit,) it's nearly there.  

I am no authority on conceptual or contemporary, (more later,) but I think this year is even better than last, which was, IMHO, light years away from the first two. It's very "conceptual" and even today pieces were being deselected for being only pretty pictures, for example. Ronnie Martin's adherence to the brief is helping the exhibition grow in leaps and bounds; she feels ruthless deselecting, but that gives Changing Threads its integrity, which is becoming more evident each year. That there are a few repeat entrants tells me there is a core group of makers in New Zealand who have vision similar to Ronnie's. I was happy many of the work that made the cut are also technically well-executed, which was, from memory, not always the case in the first two years.

Having waffled, (no, I wrote all of the above in earnest,) I must tell you how glad I am that I recently excused myself from the whole conceptual arena, because I so don't get the criteria for selection/deselection. I understand Ronnie's words when she explains things to me, but it's like being explained the chemistry of composting. When you're talking to me, you have to tell me to put green and brown stuff alternatively, air out occasionally, and keep it moist; this I understand. But you can't do this with conceptual art.

An artist who came to install her own work, a gigantic piece on child abuse, asked me if I had anything in the exhibition and this year I felt comfortable saying, "No, I only make pretty things, nothing to do with concepts," and she replied right away, "There is nothing wrong with pretty!" Child abuse is a big problem in New Zealand, and you can count on works on the subject finding their way to "women's" exhibitions, ergo often in textile exhibitions. (We have men putting things in Changing Threads, to be sure.) I have seen shocking, upsetting, and unattractive work, or work too subtle I didn't know they were about child abuse. This artist's work, however, was subtle and beautiful but still made the point, and if I can get permission from her/Changing Threads/the gallery, I'd like to post some photos here; I had to rethink almost-automatically not liking artworks on the subject.

OK, here's an interesting debate we might have engaged in had we had time; if you take a piece created in an old technique, say a small flawless piece of patchwork, presented it in a contemporary way, say in a frame but lifted so the piece sits halfway between the glass and the matt at the back, thus casting interesting shadows inside the frame, would you include it? Do you see a concept here; is it even contemporary?

Changing Threads 2012 opens  at 5.30 on Friday, March 23 and goes on until April 21.

Announcing April Spools Day

On April 1, let's post pictures of bobbins and pirns, or whatever else we improvised to behaves like them. No restrictions; just photos, or in the company of a dissertation, ode or rambling.

Usual process; we all post on April 1, and if you like, send me a link to your post. OR send me jpg files and I'll post them here, or my Flicker, depending on the number.

Are you in?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Selling my Soul, Vulnerability and Shame, Visceral Adipose Tissue, Oh My

Goodness, it feels like a long time, but it really hasn't been.

It's Sunday night here, and I am trying to remember what I did these last few days.  (Wait until you get to be my age, and you might be doing this also!)
I had pins and needles in my left elbow from Wednesday night to yesterday so I haven't woven, but this is the sampling I did on Wednesday. When I was finishing the National Exhibition piece, I made up my mind the last piece from this warp was going to have one weft, a rather unattractive yellowy olivy green which when used in this warp looks splendidly shiny, nuanced and dignified. For the draft, I was going to one relatively simple draft of about 60 picks long, and modify it just a little and weave, and modify just a little more and weave, so if you looked at the piece from one end, your eyes might slowly travel, noticing the tiny differences, and end up at the other end.

I decided against it for this warp, because I couldn't predict the floats. I was lucky, the Nat Exb piece ended up having only four ends that had really bad floats. I didn't think it was a good move to weave, check both sides, fix floats, etc. So what I did was to make one simple draft 60 picks long, and again advanced it four shafts at a time, and then changed face, and I sampled the eight versions; five of these looked good, so I'm using these.

Then I thought I might as well use a few wefts, and sampled the lovely pale greens and yellows and was ready to go. Then, I had another idea, didn't I? As a merchandise, I thought purples, pinks, reds and perhaps the stronger greens/teals/gold would work better. I don't even know if this is going to be a merchandise; I had thought of gifting it to a mate whose house was badly flooded and whose mother was mugged! If I'm going to give it to him, which would he prefer?

For now, I'm going with the "jewel" colors, against gut feeling. Selling my soul? I don't know, but I still have to pay for Brisbane, too.

* * * * *

Friday after drawing, I didn't come home right away. If I had, I would have wanted to weave, and my elbow was telling me it was a bad idea. So I saw "We Need to Talk about Kevin" (SO  not my kind of a film, though I usually like Tilda Swinton), and "The Iron Lady", (love Meryl Streep, but the film was... OK.) After we came home, we watched "Anonymous" and finally, a film I liked. I think it was in my university days I read something about Sir Francis Bacon possibly having written Shakespeare's plays, but not Edward, Earl of Oxford. (Did you know he went to Cambridge, by the way?) It was a pretty film, and I was impressed how dignified Rhys Ifans looked. (He was the naked roommate in "Notting Hill".)

Saturday morning I read some more about "Anonymous"; this is a movie, based on collection of facts but heavily edited/polished/moved around. But fun and pretty. I just didn't know there was a whole industry around discrediting the Bard.

I also came across one Dr Brene Brown's TED clips about vulnerability and shame, and bought the audio version of her first book. From what she's saying in the TED clips, I think my problems have a lot to do with what she's studying, and while I don't have a problem discussing shame like she says we do, I don't understand the distinctions among concepts like guilt, shame, humiliation, so it'll be good to listen to her book. Several times. I also thought perhaps I use my blog as a self-defense mechanism, as in attacking before getting attached, but that's for later.

Saturday afternoon we drove around Nelson region looking for and speaking with suppliers of cheese-making material and equipment, came home a bit tired, but spent the evening making Halloumi and Whey Ricotta. Bliss! Anything homemade taste better than store-bought, even if I botch up a job, but homemade Halloumi is a totally different spices from a store-bought one, and Whey Ricotta, well, this is one of my favs but it takes so much effort to get Halloumi out of the way so I have enough whey to make the Ricotta. But that 1/2 to 2/3 cup was well-worth the effort. Because the price of NZ cheese in NZ has skyrocketed in the last... four (??) years, we haven't bought any nice cheeses in a while. This is a perfect cure, as we can make them inexpensively, and it involves four pairs of hand for many tasks. Bliss! 

Came Sunday morning and I swear I was going to garden, but I ended up reading more about Shakespeare authorship as well as watching Dr Brown's clips some more. Though I did trim Ben's beard.

I promised Ali I'd post pictures of Brisbane as soon as I finished weaving the Exhibition piece so I'd better start looking at those. Tomorrow, though, I go help hang Changing Threads IV. This Friday, both the National Exhibition and Changing Threads open. No, I don't have divided loyalties; I don't like openings, so I'll probably be in the library or the cinema. 

* * * * *

I could not end this post without telling you what else I read this morning. I knew abdominal fat is very bad, potentially leading to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and I even read, dementia/Alzheimer's.  In yet another old Listener mag, I read that A) it has a name, Visceral Adipose Tissue, or VAT, and B) "(It) is more than just a lump of fat, but is actually biologically active and behaves much like an organ."

Golly, if the thread of dementia was not enough to keep me exercising, the picture of me with an extra organ in my middle, like a bad SciFi minor character, sure is. I'll get on to it starting tomorrow.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Different Kinda Day

Yesterday I spent half the time feeling like I was run over by a freight train, the long American variety, and the other half energized and ready to work on a few projects. Interpersonal difficulties are not new to me, and this won't be the last; I find it very difficult to let things go and move on. I replay the scenario over and over and over in my head, look at the scenario my point of view and everybody else's, and even say under my breath things I would have wanted to say.

I realized, while talking to Pat on Tuesday, that I grew up in places where being easy-going and thick-skinned were separated by a very thin, icy line. Fussing over people and paying attention to details were virtues, especially for women and the young, and I was most definitely trained to anticipate everybody's needs and act on them before a request is voiced. There were parts of my office work life that benefited from fine-tuning this anticipation/guesswork, but I didn't think I did this in my personal life because I'm too lazy. There is another part of me that makes no assumption especially pertaining to work, which took some years of training myself, because I want to leave space for people's opinions/advices in case there are good ones.

Monday's meeting took me back to my childhood, where often I apologized to my parents and teachers because I was told I'd been bad, without, sometimes, knowing what I had done. On the other hand, I'd been feeling really "normal" for the last three months, and I don't want to slip back, so I've decided to don the thick skin, if it is that in this case, and opt to move on. Even I'm tired of thinking about Monday.
This morning I spent about 90 minutes watching one wax eye try to eat an unripe fig. This fig tree is right in front of our office window. This wax eye (yellow arrow) appeared slightly smaller than the others, and had terrible coordination; it kept slipping off the edge of the fruit and sliding off the leaf below, and the branch above the fruit was a tad too far for comfort.

When other wax eyes came near the chosen fig, this little one would stare them down, sometimes puffing his whole body, sometimes spreading his wing, to chase them away. It was comical because all other wax eyes were better coordinated and didn't have problems staying around the fruit, but the little one must have sent really bad vibes because they would eventually stop eating and look up and on at least half a dozen occasions, I witnessed a silent, motionless staring contests that lasted up to a couple of minutes, and invariably, they all flew away. 

And of course I saw myself in the little, mean one; the least experienced and newest comer to textile having lots of opinions and huffing and puffing to try to protect its turf.  Funny, isn't it? The little wax eye, though, didn't even challenge the common sparrows; it just sat at on the same brunch, probably mumbling mean thought and wishing the big guys away. Even later, the sparrows lot out to the blackbirds. 

What I didn't understand was the attraction of this particular fruit; there are tons more larger or riper ones on the tree; in fact, this was probably one of the smallest! 

Don't worry about my head; yesterday I did some more sampling on the bright warp and finally decided what the second piece on that warp is going to be, and started work a little more concretely on two ideas for the exhibition. 

* * * * * 
Thank you so much, Doni; I didn't realize an Italian meter is so much longer than a New Zealand meter. The Merino/cashmere/silk is so soft and lovely I definitely want to use the "leftover" in something for myself.

Monday, March 12, 2012


A shawl, 50cm by 198 cm plus fringes, 100% cotton in two widths.

I like the hand/drape, but as a piece it feels heavy. There were some draft mishaps because I left a lot to chance; there were a few unintended skips I left in the piece as well. After it dried completely, the piece took on a silk-like sheen that is characteristic of the 2/20 yearns I use. Technically, I give this about 35/100, but overall, around 85/100.

I took a few photos but most came out blurred, and the colors are a little strange compared to the real piece.

I've felt ho-hum after finishing the piece and a void as well. I can talk about the concepts behind this piece until the cows comes home and write blurbs until your eyes water, but it doesn't change anything, that a) people I know are still sick or dead, and the invisible cloud is still contaminating my country, and b) I think feel the finished piece has anything to do with the concept of prayers. I had thought a 4-blocks-in-4-shafts idea was a good one way way back when I first made this draft. In this respect, I think it's been a great learning experience that my making has nothing to do with concepts, ideas or challenges; I am much better off aiming to make pretty things that please me.

Next please.

I think I'm going to use much fewer colors in the weft, and try some more of the basic-then-slightly-modified-then-slightly-more-modified-draft approach.

Getting Harder

Group R met at my house today. We're getting down to the nitty gritty of some specific things about the exhibition in October, and things haven't been all smooth sailing. In fact, for the last two months, I've thought the rest of the group would do better if I left the group now, because I seem to be making all kinds of waves. But then I think that way of any group I belong to, and I like the woman involved so I've hung on so far.

The thing is, from my perspective, we need to discuss, as a group, everything, from the size of the posters to how we're going to put our names on the wall besides the work to... everything. And we agree in principle. But in the last two meetings, it appears some of the subjects/items I bring up rub people the wrong way, or these are such mundane things they need not be discussed.

See, contrary to popular believe in the group, I don't have especially strong opinions about most things, but I want to make sure they are discussed. There are some in the group who won't offer opinions unless asked, and it is in these discussions that we find out about each other, and ourselves, and I find it so very... fruitful. I also believe relatively simple things can make a great difference, like whether to use matt or gloss paper to stick on the foam sheets that will carry our names, work titles, material and techniques. But then there are others who feel I don't respect their experiences in exhibitions, or that I don't trust them, and when they corner me, I get flustered and say whatever that comes to my mind, which may not be what I mean. The truth is, I'm more interested in picking their brains and sharing what they've seen or used in the past, so we can choose the best possible option.

I feel like I have to defend every topic/item I want to bring up, and justify my being in the group. And because I had the gallery space in the first place, nobody will ask me to leave. And I must have a terribly way of saying what I mean, because my intentions are incorrectly interrupted more often than not.

Group, eh. Next meeting is the day before my birthday, so I'll stick it out at least until then.

* * * * *

Sampling spoils me. Thank you very much.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Since around the 20th of February, (Christchurch was 22nd), I've been in a somewhat somber mood inside, (while working on that very colorful piece,) feeling it's my duty to come up with some sympathetic and cogent thoughts on, I guess, natural disasters, misfortunes, or patriotism. I had a few false starts intended for this morning, but nothing seemed right.

The truth is, this is one of few occasions I am left speechless, just like those deserted communities by the sea. So for today, I give you silence; I shall take this day to not think too hard, move slowly, sit down often, and contemplate.

Thank you. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Practicing Twiddling my Thumbs

I saw this pic, then last night's pic, and well, they look pretty much the same, but here it is, I'm waiting for it to dry.

I fixed some of the floats, but not all, washed it in the washing machine in hot water/delicate cycle, and kept interrupting to check. I don't know if it was the temperature or the length of the not-quite-full cycle, but the mercerized cotton looked a little too-handled when I pressed.

More about the hand, sheen and structures later, but we won't mention the selvedge, because it's pretty bad, much worse than it appeared last night.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Off the Loom

Well, it's off the loom, and currently resting under the couch.
Because selecting the weft colors was such a big part while I wove, I was surprised to see such bold vertical stripes when I put it on the floor.
There are a lot of bits I like, sometimes the pattern, sometimes the color combination. There are a few weaving mistakes, which I decided to leave in this piece, partly to admonish my being so terribly nervous/intimidated by the faceless Guild selectors and their "technical criteria", but more my subsequent inability to enjoy anything to do with the Guild organization.
I do one have specific problem. One of the drafts I modified after the halfway point either had big float problems, or perhaps the tension was loose in some areas of the cloth that the shuttle went under the warps, and I have big floats across the width in two rows, separated by one OK row. If only one row was problematic, I would have simply pulled it out, but with two rows, I would need to do some mending.

Boo hoo.

I'm relieved I'm finished. But as usual, I'm wearing that same old stony expression and feel exasperated. I can't wait to move on to the next piece. Or at least to wash and press this and see how it'll turn out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What, The Penultimate Weaving Day??

I wove for about an hour, after modifying every lift plan in the first and second combination every so slightly.  In some instances it worked, and made the appearance of the block slightly different though you can't tell here because they are not seen along the original lift plans; in some instances, they look like Big Mistakes. But I'm going ahead; I don't pray a lot, but when I do, I get distracted and loose my train of thoughts, and I often wonder how many favors/forgivenesses one can ask in the duration of one prayer, and how long I can keep his attention to myself before handing him over to the next prayer. And by him, I mean, THAT Him, because I did go to a Catholic Convent School for 10 years.
For example, the draft that looks Very Bad above was altered like this.

Lately, though, I thank the universe, sometimes out loud, instead of praying.

I had planned to weave for just one more day and I've woven 125.5 cm so far, but because I probably don't need to do anything more to the fringes, I could weave Friday afternoon, I suppose. I'd like to get back to it this afternoon/evening, but not sure if I can because we're having supper at a pub with friends we get to see only once or twice a year and then tale a stroll along the isles of the supermarket.

Slow Morning

I'm taking things slowly again this morning, doing some physiotherapy exercises, looking at pictures of woven scarves and textile exhibitions on the Internet. At the end of last night I'd woven 98 cm, but I need to weave over 200 cm, hopefully around 216cm, so I get a respectable 2-meters-plus of cloth after the piece is finished. And that's by the end of the day tomorrow.

On the good news side, I received two more yards, and a beautiful card.
Thank you, Peg Cherre and Holly Haynes. I've started to think about weaving something I can carry around with these friendly one-yards, not a scarf, but some kind of a talisman/lucky charm; I'm moving away from the idea of a standalone object d'art/craft.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I did some physiotherapy exercises first thing this morning, and the old left wrist/elbow/arm is definitely complaining, so I cleaned the kitchen pantry, cooked dinner, wove for 15 minutes, and tried to make the Italian Hemstitching a little tidier by crawling under the loom and pushing the bottom up a little with a comb I had for years but never used. When pushed up, however, the bottom of the lozenges loosen, so it's most definitely worth getting it right the first time and not manipulated later. But this comb is going into my weaving tool drawer.
I think I'll go read a little now. I hope to get another 15 minutes weaving in before the end of the day, but it's a worry as I only have 78 cm done.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Tired Monday

I kept waking up last night and couldn't go back to sleep for no apparent reason. And the old arm started telling me something; no pain, no soreness, just reminding me it's there. So I took it easy this morning, looking at the three samples, noticing some things that should have been blatantly obvious.

1) If the sett is set closer, the colors appear more saturated. Well, doh!

2) If the sett is set closer, my rectangles become skinner and longer. Well, double doh, but I decided I can live with this.

3) If the sett is set closer, the hand is definitely different. This, I knew, and from my recent experience with Mom's scarf, I almost looked forward to the less fluffy, more fabric-y hand. As I said yesterday, Sample 3 is too small to give me a good understanding of the difference, but that and what's on the loom now feel thicker and... more trust-worthy, rather than fluffy and lacy and airy-fairy. 

4) If the sett is set closer, the appearance of my designs change. For now, I can only say they are different, but can't explain how, nor which I prefer.

The idea of knotted fringes did not appeal to me at all, and I considered putting in not-so tiny beads at the head of the fringes; I had something like the rosary or prayer beads in mind. But the fabric is not thick, so the sizes of beads I had in mind would have been be disproportionately bulky. And as much as I liked the intricately laced fringes, I have no appetite for them for this project.

I studied the illustrations in Virginia M West's "Finishing Touches for the Handweaver" and Suzanne Baizerman and Karen Seale's "Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition", and tried out Italian Hemstitching from the former, (page 24) and Neolithic Edge from the latter, (page 9). Neolithic was easier and quicker but the Italian Hemstitching looked somewhat reminiscent of the bead idea, so though my technique is silly-shocking-laughable, I went with it.  The shape reminded me of medallions of Virgin Mary, the only jewelry we were allowed to wear in our convent school, and fitted nicely with the prayer theme.
I didn't get to weaving until around 5.30PM, but the weaving goes quickly, and I managed 67 cm today. So far I'm pleased; not ecstatic, but pleased, with what I've got.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sample 3, and No Rest for the Tardy

Reed Marks/Stripes
On careful inspection (by Ben) my 12-dent reed (from the US?) also had skinner blades/separators, but my 6-dent reed had thicker blades, resulting in these three choices:

A) Resley 2/20 cotton at 42EPI but keep the thicker cotton at 36 on the current 6-dent reed,
B) Resley everything at 36EPI on the 12-dent reed,
C) Resley 2/20 cotton at 40EPI and the thicker cotton at 35.

I wasn't sure if A) would improve the situation much, since the size of the blades will remain the same, and a dent in a 10-dent reed is much easier to see than in a 12-dent reed, (B), so I went with C), fiddling around where 2/20 are adjacent to the thicker cotton. Oh, that pesky pale cream that doesn't full, that was sleyed at 50EPI.

In addition, I put yesterday's Sample 2 in a hot, regular rinse cycle and then in the dryer for about 20 minutes but did not see any improvement. Which was kind of a relief as I hate the thought of putting mercerized cotton in a dryer.

I did not make new drafts/lift plans. I altered my test patterns aiming for 44 or 88 picks each. I did not create more complicated lifting, either, because the way I see it, most days in my life are same-old-same-old but it's the slight variation that makes a big difference, like a Tui came to my banksia tree, or a loaf came out great even though it's the same old recipe in the usual setting on my bread maker. Things like Brisbane trip doesn't happen to me too often, so I wanted to stick to structures like twills and basket weave.

Here are the three lift plans with four variations each, plus two variations of the short 8-pick part.(I can show you only the lift plan because I don't have the random threading documented.) And you can see how easy it would be to modify them as I go.
First draft combination, four permutations, 44 picks
Second draft combination, four permutations, 43 picks
Third draft combination, four permutations, 85 picks
Two faces of the short rectangles, shown here with 16 picks, but woven 8 picks each
Because so much is left to random, unseemly floats, not too long but not pretty, pop up every now and then. Based on today's sample, I rethreaded six ends; this only guarantees there won't be too many blatant floats if I use the same lift plans in the same order.
I'm deciding on the draft as I weave, referencing the structures in the samples. (The tags specify the draft variation.) If I get bored, I can start the draft from the other end, or change face, to create yet more slight variations. For the short rectangles, (not necessarily all 8 picks), I can also use one of the first four varieties. And I can still alter a draft as I progress.

Weft Colors
Dark, Depends, and Light containers; I am choosing as I weave.

The Last Sample
52.5 cm wide and 26.5 cm long on the loom after weaving 291 picks; washed in hot water/regular cycle, steam-pressed, and almost dry, it's now 50.5 cm wide and 25 cm long. And I have reached that "something of maximum return" place.

The sample is too small to know accurately how the hand differs from Sample 1, but it feels heftier, which I don't dislike. Reed marks negligible if you didn't hear/watch me go on and on about it, though they are still there.

I'm not sure if I still like "Prayer" as the name of the piece; it's more like Shakers shaking, Quakers quaking and African Americans singing and dancing to their fabulous Gospels. I'm warming to the idea of changing the title to "Hallelujah" but we'll see how the final piece looks.

Tonight, I contemplate about fringes, and tomorrow I start weaving the real deal.