Thursday, May 31, 2012

Something Wonderful!

A couple of good weavers I know have recently received their first commissions. I'm so happy for them, and I know they will do well.

Congrats, and enjoy the making. (And well-done to the clients with good taste!) I hope you blog about the projects, too!

More Misc Thoughts

Sometimes it takes me a long time to allow myself to change my mind, but once I do, I'm apparently very fast to move on. The current purple and green scarf is super quick to weave; I've done 130 cm in two sittings, and will finish it tomorrow. (I could finish today, but then I might want to cut off my arms tonight, so I'm going easy.) Three days to weave a piece has been one of the quickest in recent years, and I'm pleased about that. The rapid changes/movement in the pattern helps, too, as do one-shuttle weaving! But the design feels so mechanical, and I'm not in love with the piece. In fact, I'm back to feeling rather detached and wishing this would find a good home, fast. I have started to want something more "human" in my cloth, whatever I mean by it.

* * * * *

I've been coveting three books, but haven't bought them because a) they are expensive, b) I don't know if I will enjoy reading them and/or use the knowledge gained in my work, and c) I just paid for a Symposium because it's right here in Nelson. As regards the three books, the cheapest I found was from The Book Depository (who ships free worldwide) at NZ$104, OR, Amazon in England for NZ$84 plus NZ$29 for shipping. Ouch! I haven't checked the possibility of buying them from different places - too much math!

Anyhoo, I have read some reviews of one of them, but I'd love to hear whatever you thought of any of these if you have them, or if you've seen them in libraries or guilds. Please, please, please tell me anything, however trivial or quirky. (And remember to bring out the violins for those of us  who live in small towns without big bookshops or libraries!)

Folding Techniques for Designers - this one I saw in Wellington but the prices at two different bookshops were approximately double The Book Depository price and I was unwilling to pay that much. I wasn't sure if I would ever read it, but I sure enjoyed the diagrams.

Magical Materials to Weave - I'm interested if she discusses fibers other than wool; I assume she does and I'm wondering if they are things I can buy here, or via the Internet

Weaving Textile that Shape Themselves - Ditto, I guess.

* * * * *

We recently switch all our phone services from the default Telecom to our ISP, which doubled our bandwidth, which finally allowed me to see Randy, Brian and others. Up to dressing the loom is half the work, weavers. I've watched it three time so far and I'm in dreamland every time, but it's time to listen to what they say and learn. Other artists are, of course, just as wonderful, but R&B are special, folks!

Misc Thoughts

Group R, which is set to change its name, met this Monday. I'm glad I stuck around because after three horrible (for me) meetings, I had a productive, meaningful one. Not sure what others thought, but I hope they were glad. Pat and Jo are moving in unexpected directions, Ronnie keeps coming up with new ones, and Maria, oh, Maria was sewing a mock up as we spoke, after being unsure of one she did a few days ago. I love watching people work. I haven't changed my plans per se, but I had a breakthrough, a cleansing and letting-go experience, because of our conversation and the company. So much so that though not directly related, on Tuesday morning I played with diluted gesso, store-bought stencils and cereal boxes.
The gesso et al. is due to signing up to Carla Sonheim's Junk Mail Artist Book online course. (The one course she offers I never thought I'd ever sign up for even if it was free!) On the day NZ$ was behaving badly. (It's come back up some more since.) But never mind, I find Carla's videos and instructions soothing and encouraging.

When I was still in Japan, Group R discussed Keri Smith's books/methods of pushing oneself to go beyond one's preconceived boundaries. I love the concept but I still cringe at some of the more "violent" suggestions. I'm conservative like that; I can't deface a perfectly good map, (especially if it's an old one,) or destroy a good book to create something else. But Carla's nudges I can take, even if sometimes I have to view/read, think, contemplate, take a walk, have a nap, and decide to trust Carla not to lead me astray. It helps that many of her suggestions are the same as/similar to what we did in Ronette's drawing course.
I got the 2013 Sketchbook Project sketchbook in the mail. It's new and improved: the pages are slightly fatter/squarer, there is no perforation line on the left side, and the cover is an ordinary brown cardboard. I can't remember how the 2011 one was bound, but I don't think it was with just two staples; they assume many participants want to reconstruct/reconstruct and this will be super easy. Overall, it feels more naked and in need of a lot more TLC. I haven't done anything with it, and I hope magic markers won't bleed, but everything looks good.
Last night I got a whole lotta linen from Mette, and I now have a plan for my "Friendship" piece; I haven't worked our anything specific/practical, but I like my idea. Hummm.... What am I saying? I love my idea.

I took off the navy blue cashmere warp from the last post; I'm not putting it on the warping board one end at a time. I think I did more damage to it rewinding, so I'm going to put it back in a chain, and we're having time out from each other. On the big loom is the purple warp, and I started weaving yesterday. It seems to me this style of wavy/swirly networked twill has been done to death, but I've never done an asymmetrical one so I thought it's a good idea for a short warp.

The first is a wood-grain design; I love the way the color of the cloth changes depending on where I stand. In fact, I took Ben for a walk around the loom last night. 
 A bit of both. The color in the first two pics are pretty accurate on my monitor.
 When I'm weaving, the cloth is even greener than this.
Though this is a blurred pic and the colors off, do you get the sense that from slightly to the back of the beater, the green almost disappears and I can only see bumps of the design.

To my shock horror, I discovered this olive green color has been discontinued in 20/2 width; it's a color I don't much like on its own but discovered in the "Prayers" and the subsequent warps that it does wonders in combinations particularly with purples, pinks and reds. Oh, bother! There is a slightly whiter, slightly yellower green, so I'd have to switch to that eventually.
The second (and last on this warp) maybe be a more bubble-like design.

After these two, I'm dying to put on the last, short, hot pink warp, but I think it's high time the "pillars" warp went on. Before Monday, I still wasn't sure if I wanted to do the October exhibition with the group on account of my feeling so bad after the last meetings; I also contemplated asking the group if I could skip the meetings but just exhibit, (on account of the size of the gallery and mine being among the bigger pieces planned,) but I'm ready to commit to the exhibition this week, and to "sacrifice" the big loom to 20 meters of dusty gray warp. I'm allowing a blindingly colorful Log Cabin warp to go on the four-shaft, though, and will proceed concurrently. At least that's the plan.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Channeling Randy

Well, not really. I'm trying to correct the tension of the navy Log Cabin warp, and yes, there are most definitely two colors; I know this because when I hold the chain, for a one-color warp it looks as if two dye lots were mixed.
It was supposed to be a quick job first thing morning; I was hoping to unwind, in reality and figuratively, rewind, and move on to threading the big loom, then something else afterwards. But it was 2PM before I knew it and I needed a break.
It's amazing what we weavers do with a few sticks and a bit of string, isn't it? I feel so... smug. OK, back to it.     

By the way have you been able to watch the Craft in America vid? I get as far as the first Quilt Maker (I think) talk about her grandfather, but no further; I only know Randy doesn't do plaids. Because he's a Romantic. These folks were supposed to keep me company while I worked on the navy warp.

Do I have to go to a larger city with better Internet connection? 

Santa Fe Revisited

Even though we've established I don't shy away from issues once I decide which ones I'm tackling, (even if it takes long to write/publish,) especially if there is a chance for me to learn/improve, this has been a difficult one to share.

On Friday, May 4, Pat came-a-visiting with a friend, Jill. Who happens to be Jill Hoppenheimer. Of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery. You remember Pat has always encouraged me in this direction. I don't exactly know where SFWG stands in the grand scheme of things, but knowing they stocked Randy''s scarves, I remember never being able to say the name of the gallery out loud four years ago, not did I feel bad I didn't make it in back then. 

We had a robust discussion on colors and the relationships of places with colors. (One of my absolute fav subject!) I took notes, but you know how notes on robust discussions go: cryptic. The upshot of all this is, she took two of my pieces and requested eight.

Sure, I am happy; finally an outlet outside Nelson, New Zealand, population 50,000. Some of my stuff are going to be in the same physical space as The August One's. But I've been so overwhelmed I haven't had the time to enjoy it. 

In the first instance, I don't know how I'm going to fit the various projects on my calendar; I've discovered a local selling opportunity for which I only need perhaps three would love to take part in if I can manage; if I were quicker there was yet another opportunity but I've let that one go. And with some gardening and the recent too-early cold spell, my left arm is making a fuss.But what really worries me and keeps me procrastinating is my lack of technical competence; it makes me want to crawl back into bed some days, or see my imaginary ulcer (always in glowing green) if I'm already there. 

So I try not to think of it and carry on. Strange, when none of the projects are urgent, I have a harder time prioritizing. You'd think I'd enjoy such luxury.

Please forgive me for disabling comments on this post; it's still difficult to talk about. But not for long long; I get less emotional once I start thinking of colors and materials and structures and such. 

And now for something completely pleasant, click here!  I don't know if I wrote this before, but at the end of the workshop in 2006, I half-wished Randy and Brian would decide to adopt me and take me away from my life. Seriously. I was going to send for my things later, including B.

"Important" to Whom??

Good post by Connie Rose, again. I love reading about how she thinks and approaches her creative life.

I have a different view. I think and talk and write and read about and search visuals of weaving pretty much non-stop. (As if you hadn't noticed...) This is all-too-often interpreted as wanting public recognition/validation. (I hate seeing knowing nods, especially by teachers who should know better!! I've got to learn to phrase my questions better.) I'm only looking for discussions about weaving, if not textiles. Or garments. Or fashion, to a lesser degree. Or exhibitions. Of any kind. Or other art forms and makers. I also like to discuss how I can improve my work; suggestions of practical methods most appreciated.

My goal so far and in the foreseeable future has always been and is to impress myself; I'm not worried about the world just yet because I haven't made something you, ummm, should be impressed with. (Perhaps this is why I'm suspicious of compliments.) My immediate problem is, I don't know what will impress me, except without technical improvements in the first instance, it ain't gonna happen.

So then, like Connie says, I've got to let go and see what whatever/whoever takes me take me wherever, perhaps, but that's so hard for a control freak.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Aging is...

I've been working on quick/simple/not-serious self-portraits off and on for a while. This was taken when I was three, no, one, by an uncle who was a commercial (print advertising) photographer. I've been paying attention to shapes of face/head parts and I thought, this afternoon, that I'm going back to looking the way I did when I was very young.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Pillars" Sampling

Samples: I tried scanning rather than photographing. Hope it works for you.
First sample: the top shows warp and weft yarns as I intended. LOVE the result, but it'd be slow weaving; the bottom part, I grabbed a leftover which looked more like the size I should use; love the result but I only have about 10 meters of it and have no idea where it came from; it's another one of those I had for ever.
Sample 2, top part: trying out different wefts in grays, blacks and undyed, yarns of which I have sufficient amounts; disliked blacks immediately and irrationally; realized once again I don't have too much fat yarns so have started twining what I've got. 
Sample 2, bottom: started also combining mohair for texture. As long as structurally safe, I should go for big floats so the design can be seen from some distance. 
Sample 3: calculated my intended warp and weft yarns aren't enough for either purpose so decided to combine and used them both in the warp, and thus inserted in the sample warp. Experimenting with mixing mohair in the weft for luster but not really liking it because mine is a mohair/merino mix that doesn't shrink so if I ply this with yarns that shrink, my pillars will be hopelessly wrinkled!  The bottom portion uses a fat, uneven but with-scale wool available from DEA Yarns. I rejected this because it's dark and has too much brown and they discontinued the lovely pale gray mix, and the design will come out warped, (which could be interesting, but in the first instance, so not to my taste,) but may reconsider. (See Arrangement below.) I also wanted to "do" the October exhibition without buying any more new yarns; this weft won't be cheap for something I can't wear or give away easily, which makes me reluctant to invest $.  
Sample 4, top part: experimenting with mixed-with-mohair wefts and different size floats.
Sample 4, bottom part: ditto, and pretty much settled on two-part merino/mohair mix and one part unknown stiff undyed wool; in this combination the two parts of the mohair mix insists the weft not shrink, so if I can make the cloth satisfactorily flat in further sampling, I have plenty of these yarns. Further experimentation to be conducted on the big loom in the real width. 

Arrangement: I never thought of putting these pillars in anything but a straight line, more or less parallel to one of the walls; in fact I was ever so pleased with myself when I realized I could put them in a straight line not parallel to the walls just recently. Lloyd suggested considering a circle (or a pentagon), while Ben suggested an arc, and both are do-able; both would make clearer which side is A-side vs which is B of the cloth, if there is to be such a distinction. Lloyd also suggested considering putting real stones/rocks under the pieces, and the easiest-to-handle and cheapest was the bits that come off of sculptures in Oamaru Stone. Luckily we have a mutual friend who works with these and I could probably ask her to save her offcuts (??)m but then my problem then is, for the most part Oamaru Stones come in creamy whites whereas I'd had hoped to go with almost hue-less grays and whites. The gray/brown weft in Sample 3 would create easier visual link. Or, I could arrange the Oamaru Stones and then spray them white! So now I need to investigate real stones! 

Issue: I've proceeded with my plans so that I can weave it relatively quickly. And not in 20/2 cottons which I had in mind until I started to put numbers to my pictures. I like fine weaving and I'd like to imagine that's my thing, but I've been wondering what kind of an image I want to project about me through this project, or more truthfully, how I will see myself when I see these monsters hung and lit. Do I want to show/see I can do bold, or continue with fine/fussy but enlarge the scale? I keep picturing variations of the latter as they bring me pleasure while I continue to convince myself "bold" is worth sampling; no harm in being able to do bold and fussy.

Shortly after I finished the fourth sample, I learned The Flight exhibition was to open in 11 days so stopped work as if there was something similar, I still had time to change my plans. (Nelson is a small place and the number of textile afficionados limited, so I didn't want anything of mine resembling anything in their exhibition.) But there was nothing like gray, pillar-like or earth-quake/financial-crisis/Greece-inspired (??) work so I can proceed as planned. I'm still am baffled there will be four, four!, textile exhibitions at the Refinery in a twelve-month period!

My perpetual question remains: how far into "art" do I want to venture vs how much "cloth without concepts" do I want to hold on to. And the more I kick this question around, the more I feel it's inevitable this should be my final blog post (or whatever the equivalent,) which I'll be posting the day I hang up my shuttles, turn off the light and quit weaving. There doesn't seem to be much point in having a "premise" just now and binding myself to it when there is a world of possibilities out there. And I still have a few decades left, (she says hopefully), of weaving.

And I can't believe my mind/viewpoint has changed so completely without me noticing. But then Shania warned us a decade ago, didn't she? Better get off the computer before my arms fall off, but I promise the next post I'm planning is a light read. 

1H0512-Part 3: Changing Taste

This one crept up entirely unsuspected that I was gob-smacked in the last week or so since I came face to face with the discovery. Know, in this post and elsewhere, I want to point out the changes in my taste/opinion; I'm not saying something is right/good and others are wrong/bad.

At dinner two Sundays ago, I was "asked" by someone who really knows her stuff if I like a weaver's work. I say "asked" because as near as I can remember, it was something like, "Don't you just love her work? She is such an excellent weaver and her colors are beautiful. Don't you love her pieces?" I couldn't say no because I love the person who asked me, so I commented on the weaver's equipment.

I was never a fan of her colors, but I admired her techniques, productivity and enthusiasm greatly. I spent years wanting to weave the sort of stuff she wove, (not exactly the same aesthetics, but you get the gist,) and studied her work closely whenever I could. She owns the biggest, mostest and meanest weaving machines, and travels around the world attending workshops and conferences. In spite of all that, this year at the National Exhibition, I found her work clinical, impersonal and vacant. Technically they were great as usual, colors, like I said, never did me much, but I was so taken aback because I went entirely ready to be awed. To be floored.

I can't explain why they appeared so vacant to me. The issue could be, I could well imagine the weaver combating the mathematical possibilities of a design and concluding this, or that, or both, design is weavable. (My conjecture, you understand.) Another explanation was, I couldn't see a living human wearing it, whereas with most woven works, whether I like them or not, I can easily construct a visual picture of a living human being adorned in the cloths.  I always picture different kind of people wearing my stuff in different places/occasions as I design and weave and finish the stuff, unless it's a commission and I know the person who will wear/use it. I mean, vivid and concrete pictures even of people I don't know or never seen/met in places I've never been to or know. Do you?

The funny thing is, I always thought I wanted to weave technically well-constructed, impersonal cloths, impersonal being a rather important thing for me. I aspired to weave like a machine. But last month, when faced with this weaver's work, I didn't like what I saw. And in spite of some technical glitches, I much preferred pieces with a more personal feel, ones where I could imagine humans wearing and breathing in them. You understand this was my reaction, and I should ask other weavers/visitors what they thought, because they might have felt the weaver's feelings, intentions, whatever-else come through, and that's wonderful. So it's official; I now like cloths where I feel something of the maker is included in it. But how do I feel about what I make? What kind of cloth do I want to make? Well, the jury is out on fishing this weekend.

I can't decide if this is related, but I'm approaching the end of Carla Sonheim's Faces 101; I'm taking all the time in the world and doing extras where I feel like it. Carla's courses give me a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, and I started looking at what I might consider doing next, and the one I'm most interested in this week is one of the two I felt "not in a million years" only half a year ago when I discovered her courses: Junk Mail Artist's Book! I am ever so keen on it, though perhaps not right now. I have to keep my eye on the.. now what did Lynne tell me... brass ring, that is the October exhibition, and my Sketchbook Project 2013 sketchbook arrived at long last.

EDIT: said weaver told me some years ago s/he prefers "weaver" over "artist" and "workshop" over "studio" so s/he knows what s/he's doing. Again, I stress, it's about my changing taste.  

* * * * *

This is related, I'm pretty sure, but don't know how. Again, I stress these are my opinions and changing tastes/view points, not about right/good/wrong/bad.

There is another weaving exhibition at the Refinery, by a group called Professional Weavers Network. (Goodness, on a bad year Changing Threads is the only textile exhibition, but between October 2011 and 2012 there are four that I know of!) Dianne has shared her experiences at their do this year here, but to me, PWN reminds me of Yakuza; I know they're there, I even know some who belong, but I don't know much about what they do until they strike out in public, like an exhibition in Nelson or Blenheim.

Anyhoo, I took some shots with permission from Refinery; I also have permission to post here. The theme is "Flight".
I don't know how they work, and I believe they position their exhibition as a "weaving" exhibition rather than (textile) "art", so you know this. What I saw were either pictorial portrayal of things that fly, either in 2D or 3D, or work with nothing to do with flight per se but in the name/color or other gimmicks to force association. One exception was the metal piece in the top picture, which exudes flight to me, but puzzled Roger who asked what it had to do with weaving. (As you might have guessed, the metal pieces are woven as wefts and about an inch at the center is weaving as we/he know/s it.) Many pieces were exquisitely crafted; some, the weaving was good but the assembly/setup was disappointing, and one should never call something an installation if it is not site-specific; it's a decoration or objet d'art if it wasn't constructed for this exhibition in this gallery in the first instance.  (See, I'm learning.)

As an exhibition, this to me looked sad; too few pieces in a big gallery, and to use the two of three partitions to make the room smaller. The use of space made me think of a school exhibition in a gymnasium. One piece at the entrance, just above your head of the entry way, was too easily missed; I saw it for the first on the third time I exited the gallery. Roger was happy with the exhibition, but surely, surely, there would have been ways to bring together works with disparate interpretations of the subject/title. The saddest part for me was unless you were already interested in textiles, weaving, and/or techniques, the overall feel of the exhibition didn't exude joy or pleasure, which I associate with flight, nor did it provoke closer scrutiny of individual pieces. And many were worthy of it.

I don't know the circumstances around the installation or who hung it, but I'm not bitching and denigrating someone else's exhibition. I keep pondering what I would have done if I was responsible, four points come to mind:

1) I would have used the partitions to create areas so the middle of the exhibition isn't left so empty;

2) I would have not hung everything that's meant to be hung on the wall, on the wall, but off-set some to create breathing space and if the visitor so desired, could see the back of the work;

3) I would not have concentrated so many works near the entrance. (Sorry, not photographed.) So something is small, you can create drama hanging one small piece in a big area, rather than cluster smallish things together;

And finally 4) pay attention to hight when hanging from above.  This is a difficult one for me and I have to see to know if something looks right. I like exhibitions that take advantage of the height of the venue on the one hand, but if a piece is too high and hard to see, as at least two were too high for Ben and he didn't notice the one at the entrance, those work are lost to the exhibition.

And for goodness sakes, if light is an important component of a work and you could be bothered to put a light inside it, let's put the work in a dark area so the intended illumination shows up, eh. People were puzzled about this one, I can tell you.

But these are just thoughts that came to me in the last couple of days, and even I can never know unless I install and see for myself.  I'll most likely revisit this exhibition before it closes in two weeks; then it's going to Wellington if you are interested.

1H0512-Part 2: Soapbox

During my low periods in the last few weeks, one of the things I worried about was the soapbox/ivory-tower nature of blogging. The media in New Zealand, especially those who aren't up to date with the Internet in general and social networking in particular, oscillate in describing our ways of communicating from exhibitionism to voyeurism, sometimes in one breath. While I don't worry much about comments from old fogies of this vintage, (who may be chronologically younger than me; they also like to link these "phenomena" to Jerry Springer and Oprah,) I listen to them so I can ask myself where I think I am.

Some of you have admirably strict editorial policy (or a sane hold on your privacy?) and post only about weaving, or whatever endeavors of your choosing; some of you include a modicum of personal snippets which I enjoy immensely because I get a sense of your person and life. (I love reading biographies, even if I don't like the artwork of the subject.) Whereas here on Unravelling, pretty much anything goes, but it is in part because I use it as my therapy; I try to clarify my thoughts by expressing them here and see if it makes sense in the eyes of Me as Reader. So it doesn't work all the time but you wouldn't believe how much better I've become at walking away from ideas/issues and sometimes even problems. (Another thing that has helped me, if you have a hard time moving on, is to say things out loud; I find it's very refreshing to hear my voice telling me I'm done and now I move on.) 

I think I don't just wear my heart on my sleeve, but have a bright neon-pink one on my forehead, and I see myself as a straight-forward, uncomplicated person. Short-tempered but quick to apologize if I'm in the wrong. So I don't know why I've been told so often in my life I'm so difficult to live with, but then I've lived in environments where straight-forwardness is not seen as the best route. On the other hand, I worry incessantly, I mumble and dilute my opinion so as not to disagree/offend, until frustration erupts. And I hold grudges, if I can remember them.

When I started Unravelling, I pictured myself standing alone in a huge stone basilica, library or museum, starting a conversation and hearing only the echo of my own voice in reply. And to some extent blogging is still like that; it is a soapbox or a platform whence I tell/show you what I made/saw/did/said/thought, and those of you remaining after two, three or fifteen paragraphs often agree with me. At least not many of you would point out where I've gone wrong, especially if it's not weaving/technical, even if you had an idea/opinion.

When you worry or otherwise have mental health issues like I, the flip side of this is, it can become a cell, or Rapunzel's tower, or at least an ivory one whence, (yeah, word of the day,) I cannot gauge what what the "norm" is. I cannot see your face to gauge your reaction. Nor if I am explaining clearly. Or if I'm justifying rather than explaining. And it's this last bit of distinction that's been puzzling/bothering  me to no end. I can't tell if I think, or if my friends think, I use Unravelling to justify my bad behaviors or if I use Unravelling as my confessional and conveniently absolve my own sins. I suppose, in a tiny tiny way, it resembles being a celeb or a politician surrounded by My Peeps and not knowing when things start to go wrong.

Having grown up in a relatively strict upbringing, labeled a difficult child, and then moving to a reasonably free place and engaging in an answer-to-myself work, it's hard for an old girl to see if the ground still exists under her feet, and if not, if she's floating or falling.

I like discourses. I love a good powwow. I miss that in Group R; now it's more or less all decided by convention/"good taste"/a few, and there is very little discourse, discussion, looking at alternatives, the "different", like we used to. Our meetings are rushed and part of it has to do with lots of quick practical decisions we need to make at this stage of planning, but I miss the "what about" musings. I understand the group name is up in the air, too; I don't mind changing, but I can only hope for a genuine exchange of views rather than meaningful glances and frowns. . But I don't want to be seen to disrupt the meetings by proposing it. Goodness gracious me.

So promise me two things. If you can be bothered, if you have the time and the mind, do please remember Unravelling is always open for discourse, and even some friendly, well-meaning disagreements.

And if you sense that I'm only airing out an old grudge without my declaring so, if you sense I am unable to move on emotionally and/or am wasting time, please say so in the comment or email me, and if you're too polite, use the code word, "wet duck". OK?


1H0512-Part 1: Catching Up

Between April 30 and May 8, every alternate day I had occasions to meet and speak with Humans-Other-Than-Ben; that's five in a row of some great and some not so encounters, plus four bad-news emails. I wished I could ignore the bad and the petty but in the mindset I was they turned into multiple conversations in my head, with the bad news circulating far louder and annoyingly more often. I felt like a duck whose back absorbs all water except the good news, feeling fatter, heavier, wetter and wobblier. In one case the conversation was so petty I walked around the house shouting, "I left high school in 1977!". Not worth repeating.

Buchaknow, at times like these, all the memories of teachers who disliked me, the friends who excluded me, the scoldings, the (perceived) slights came back like a bad animation, and I felt I was a terrible person. Funny how good news and compliments really do roll off my back. And thank goodness I had the presence of mind not to cancel spending time with good friends, too; their presence and words got me out of the rut, and reassures me there's nothing wrong in choosing friends wisely. 

I was/am going through a Keanu Reeves binge on the DVD-hire/rental front and saw Thumbsucker one day. I didn't like the film much but the interview between the novel writer Walter Kirn and director Milke Mills was fascinating I watched it two and a half times, and I listened to a bunch of Walter Kirn interviews. I was so relieved to discover there were other chronological-grown-ups who (im)patiently waited to become the adult person s/he felt s/he was meant to be. 

Meanwhile, I finished one cashmere scarf which was half woven and left neglected for months; it's the first piece in the last Log Cabin warp, I think, but the two navy warps are so close in color, size and texture I can't tell the difference. I just remember using two "different" cones, and I rarely have two cones of the same yarns of cashmere. I'm thinking of rethreading it in an undulated twill or some such and joy-weaving the next four.

I put the purple warp (second photo, middle) on the big loom; I don't know what exactly I'll do but I'm thinking of swirly network twill of some description. I've seen enough of them and don't feel excited by them at the moment, but looking at what's available at the Suter Gallery shop, I thought they would look different from anything else, (my other stuff included,) so I think I'm on the right track.

Ben had a week off but it rained the whole week so we splurged on plants, hoping to do something about our place, again, this winter. Right on queue, Monday was a lovely still day and I gardened a couple of hours, followed by another hour and a half on Tuesday. I felt a wee ting on left wrist on Monday, but by Tuesday lunchtime the tings had spread to both wrists and elbows. I didn't garden Wednesday or Thursday but made the mistake of reading blogs on Thursday and made it worse by not using the mouse but fiddling with the tiny touch pad. I couldn't think of anything interesting I could do at home, so yesterday I went into town to run errands and saw two movies, but the familiar dry, white feeling on my muscles are definitely bad. Darn. (She types as she confesses.)
In the mail today were rug wool purchased at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Fest 2011 from Rachel Beckman in my kind of dirty yellow, (bliss!) and handspun by Dot, silk with merino dyed in Australia. The first house we rented in New Zealand was on Waratah Street in Auckland, an Australian plant the yarn source is named after; I like this kind of coincidences. Thank you very much, both.

Friday, May 11, 2012

True Story

This is my understanding. 

Artist A makes a piece of work.

Artist B lends own artwork to Artists A to have said artwork photographed by a professional photographer; let's call one of these photos Photograph C.

The artwork is shown in a group exhibition by Organization D. Photograph C is "loaned" to local Newspaper E, (owned by Media Company F,) and goes on Organization D's website.

Three years passes.

Artist G makes artworks and exhibits at Gallery H. Artist G is interviewed and artworks photographed by local Newspaper I's Staff J, (and a photographer?). Staff J's article appears and all is good.

Newspaper I's Staff K, however, compiles events/calendars section, and dips into Media Company F's pool of photographs and picks Photograph C to decorate the notice for Artist G's exhibition; Artist B uses the same techniques as Artist G.

Tiny hell breaks loose; there are at least five more peripheral players who know almost all other players to a certain degree; said events/calendars may have appeared online only for one week only, (it's gone now); the copyrights of the photograph is murky, as is Media Company F's policies. You can imagine it all happened in a very small place.

Artist B, perhaps ill-advised, protested to Gallery H instead of/at the same time as Newspaper I. Gallery H, most astonishingly, was unaware of the misleading photograph in the events/calendars section concerning their exhibition, and did not inquire/protest to Newspaper I.

Staff K unapologetically explained picking Photograph C from Media Company F's files. The two Newspapers do not, to my knowledge/experience, explain to interviewees and all concerned all photos are free-for-all within the larger Media Company F. Sometimes they don't discuss copyrights at all. Not sure if Staff K even checked with Staff J if there were photos from the exhibition.

So what did I learn from this?

A) Know my rights, study copyrights, and if someone wants to use my photos, discuss the extent of what I'm allowing. (I find this very hard, but Ben does it well with all his photos.) I don't mean I want to hold on to all my photos in all instances with an iron fist, but to consider various possibilities and decide/know where I stand in the first instance, how far I will allow others to go. With me, usually a heads-up before the event covers most instances, but this is thin ice. 

B) Clarify my thoughts, and clarify understanding/agreements if other parties are involved.

C) Do everything I can to prevent whatever is beyond what I can allow; learn technology/computerese if need be.

D) In the end, don't be surprised to find anything anywhere and don't be afraid to ask/protest.

Attitudes towards copyrights in New Zealand is alarmingly relaxed, both by the pinchers and the pinchees; I didn't even like the term "pinch" used to lighten the impact of what is in some cases theft.

The above case was made worse by two distinct views on copyrights from different backgrounds. I feel sick at how not alarmed some involved are; Ben and I worked for IBM so you can imagine where we stand, but by the same token, understand once something is on the Internet, anything goes, including a "proper" media company with a public publication (!).

The story ends with Artist B ringing Gallery H to explain the situation, in addition to communicating with one of the artist exhibiting at Gallery H. And pointing out to Staff K it is very slack journalism and to mark Photograph C as something akin to "not for general use".

What are your thoughts?

By the way, Interweave has a free Copyright 101 for Weavers.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I've been frugal of late, you know, relative to the way I've been for a few years, and so much so compared to how I was longer ago. But I thought I'd show you some recent acquisitions because the nice thing about frugality is, I appreciate more what I do get, which is a lovely, satisfying feeling.
Two two cones are 4-ply cottons I got from DEA at the Festival; they are thicker versions of my fav 20/2s with some of the same colors. I've wanted to sample these every since they came out. 

The leg/arm warmer is from DEA as well; Kylie, Deanna's helper at the Festival, had a pair of black ones on her arms and extolled the virtues of these, in particular over fingerless gloves. I haven't decided if I'll keep them or send them to Mom, who complains her upper arms get cold, but they are cheerful and soft and warm!  

The tiny Japanese bamboo bobbins were gifts from lovely Sampling. And as they come from the same outlet as my tiny bobbins, they fit; the size of the holes are good in about 2/3 of them, a smidgen too small in the rest, but that would be easy to fix. Sampling tells me they come in a bag of 100; something to keep in my mind.

And lastly, I found the Saori Tie Rod at Kaz's and thought it would be great to try particularly with cashmere warps on my four-shaft loom to eliminate as much waste as possible.

The idea is so simple and straight forward; you clip the warps inside a groove in the the dowel and hold them down the flat stick which fits into the grove and bands, at the start of the warp/project. Years ago, I tried a similar idea by winding the warp around one dowel and holding them down with another dowel and many, many rubber bands, but warps started slipping and it didn't work.; I intended to try the same idea with flat stick next, but never did.

I should be careful with the tension when I try this because sometimes, especially on the Big Loom and with cottons, I weave under high tension to the point I have snapped flat sticks and pine dowels at the back of the loom and bent and destroyed a brand-new, hollow, stainless steel dowel.

Goodness, that's long enough on the computer. Mom and I were on Skype for after the third paragraph! Lunch, then garden.

Finished at Last

Oh, dear. Post drafts are accumulating again. It must mean I'm doing well staying away from the computer, and working more. (It's relative, I know.) I even tidied the flower pots a little, although "tidying" is relative, visible only to someone who lives here.
This is my attempt at trying to quieten what appeared to me like discordance in the warp colors, and I still think it turned out unintentionally "Japanese", but do you see that? 42EPI with matching 20/2 weft gives this one a real drapy, clothy hand.
And this, with the finer 60/2 weft, is what it is.
Oh dear. Oh well, one piece for me.

The cloth part, I like, but the selvedge is so bad I'm beyond embarrassed. I was alert and unwove, (not crazy about the word "unpicked" because I'm a weaver, not a picker,) sections some days, but other days I missed/ignored large sections. While designing. I was careful about shafts 1 and 3 which is where the far left and right warps were threaded, but that wasn't enough. I don't remember having this much problem the last time I wove with the same combination of threads. BBBE scarves were slightly wider on the loom from memory, sleyed at 36EPI instead of 42, and I used the end-feed shuttle. This time I used the Swedish boat shuttle because I thought its lighter weight would be more suitable, but a 42EPI warp would have held the heavier shuttle and might have been a better choice. I also know the body likes certain width better than others, allowing the weaving to go inexplicably smooth and fast, but I've never examined this aspect.

I had a bad, bad evening Thursday night, pressing these two. You know, the recurring self doubt. In my case it's either: "when will I get better technically?" or "How long do I have to do this to remember THIS? I've been here before!!" On a rare occasion I put on a short dummy warp just to improve my picks; more likely when sampling I try to slow right down and practice good selvedge for that particular warp/draft, but when I'm doing the "real" weaving, I tend to prefer to have a rhythm. Oh dear.

There is another conundrum. Physical exercise is good for mild to moderate depression. I know from experience moving the body can sometimes get me out of (the perception of) tiredness or low mood instantly, and other times it rewards me for doing at least "this" much. For  me, weaving or gardening works better than exercises, and this is why my garden gets a fairly good, (relative,) workout in the winter. The last couple of weeks I've been physically tired with no correlative reason, and though the mood has been up and down a bit, I have not been depressed. So I made myself weave.

I was counting on the motion of weaving putting me instantly in the singing-and-twinkle-toe-weaving mood again because I've got so much to weave. Instead, I stayed tired and mayhem takes place on the loom. And because I try not to rely so much on my feelings/perception at these times, (which may be a mistake, I really don't know,) I don't know if/when I should work just a little more or quit right away.

Another issue is, I am getting older, less fit, and even shorter. I am a small person weaving on a big loom, and although we've done everything we could to modify the big loom to suit my body, I wonder if my body is finding it harder. And that's the most comfortable of all my looms!

So I'm trying to do more general exercises, not specifically to improve my mood, but to prevent the body from being even less fit. That's seems to easiest place to get started. 

Oh, dear.

Still, to busy to get depressed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Already (Even for the Other Side of the International Dateline)

I've been weaving this very scarf for... ever. An hour a day should give me around 30cm, but a week-plus on, I have only 120cm, so what's wrong with my math?? I had hoped to finish it yesterday, but today, I think it'll take two more sittings.

The cloth part is looking lovely, showing different colors in different lights, but the selvedges in some parts look like the Wild Wild West with gunfights and tumbleweed. I don't know if it will make a merchandise.

* * * * *

During April, I tried to do a "self portrait" every day, though some days I had to make up for the missing days, and I still haven't done one for April 30. They are not serious attempts, mind you, and the project was not as onerous as I had expected. 
This is the kind of portraits I intended to work on, i.e. the body shape (!!!), but in more details and various styles, (of drawing). I did a lot of half-blind gesture-contours with pencils, color pencils, charcoal and conte; also some digital manipulation of photos, (but not of drawings, I wonder why,) a collage of my drawing, and when I was really tired, I scanned/printed photos and drawings and colored them in.
I ended up with quite a few closeups of face, face parts, or hand, the main reason being I often drew these plonked in front of a small mirror and as the last task for the day.
The problem with a small mirror was I couldn't seen the whole face in focus so drawing one part at a time made the face out of proportion. I think the eyes were most often much larger than in real life. Resulting face shapes and the impression one gets from the face is inaccurate, (if an impression can be inaccurate,) and proportion being my biggest weakness, practicing every day didn't help me improve.
And this was my best-effort, goody-two-shoes style. (4B pencil on pink paper.) I think my face is even wider and shorter, and this looks more like my mother than me. Working on inexpensive cartridge paper in funky colors helped me not take the project seriously and choosing the color of the paper was often the best part of the evening.

I'm getting my April stuff bound at the copy place; that's my thing now, compiling bits of paper and getting them bound with the recovered/recycled binding material. The bound "books" give me the satisfaction of fishing projects, albeit small.

I'm following an old Design Study guideline and continuing on a similar theme of "Self" in May, (though I didn't do anything yesterday.) I'm expanding the definition of my subject, so I may even manipulate (destroy?) printouts of famous self-portraits. Come to think of it, I should list ways I could manipulate images before I forget. I'm not sure if this is going to lead me to the collaborative piece for the October exhibition.