Sunday, May 15, 2016

Progress/Process

Prewash
Postwash
After wet-finishing, Mom's two pieces of fabric weren't as different in softness as when they came off the loom, but different enough we have to rely on the knowledge and skills of her friend who will help Mom design something, and sew it for her. I still like to see a vest with stand collar is nice, but they could up up with a mindblowing geometric something. Who knows.

I wove another fabric using a merino bouclé in the weft, thinking it would absorb the different elasticity of the warp yarns. (Both above and below, the red looks to pale and pink; they are saturated deep blue red, deeper than the top pic.) It did; every time I advanced the warp there was a skinny wedge-shaped gap on the right, but after the piece rested off the loom for a couple of days, they were almost invisible; after wet finish, the difference appears to have been absorbed.
I had thought another bouclé or otherwise uneven textured yarn in many colors would be best, and had chosen the middle yarn in variegated blues/purples/orange I saved for a special project. But after I finished the bouclé, I wove an inch of plain weave as I do with all my fabrics, and goodness, I liked the look of untextured cloth. So, even though I knew it probably wasn't the best decision, I started the last piece using possum/merino/silk mix in darkish burgundy with charcoal flecks. (Probably less blue than the above pic.) The special yarn looks better with cooler colors in the warp, I think, that doesn't bring out the orange so much, as seen in this warp-end swatch.
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I've been feeling boring; not bored, but boring. My mind is dull, I'm boring, and my pieces are boring.

I find stash-busting projects I design around yarns uncomfortable, mostly because I'm not used to yarns as a starting point and can't seem to shift to the whole cloth smoothly. I find making interesting designs on four challenging, mainly because I have this prejudice four-shaft projects should be quick and easy. And these expose my technical weaknesses and this is so aggravating/discouraging; without good technique, I can't fathom weaving those simple but sublime pieces. Some of the latest show I'm getting technically suckier and I wonder what I'm lacking: mental prowess, dedication, concentration, or if it's aging, mental or physical.

I envy the ease, with paper or needlepoint, I could start on/move between project; I don't have to work serially but can revisit/revise. The best I can do with weaving is to have multiple looms dressed at all times, but it's not the same.

My life has been work-friendly where I have been free to engage in multiple long-term or in-depth projects, but I can't seem to settle on topics/subjects and instead spend a lot of time on casual reading, mostly online. As if my heart isn't really in it, although I so want it to be. I'm mildly but constantly tired. I wonder if I'm mildly depressed, but because I've learned how to distract myself I've managed to float above it, without it completely going away. Whatever, it's been frustrating and not productive in a proactive way; I've managed to weave on good days, for a while, but somehow frequently enough.

I also feel this weird almost symbiotic relationship with Mom, where we talk, then I unconsciously adopt her characteristics/complaints. I've noticed this once before after some weeks in Japan, but this time it's been overwhelming. I know this is not me because symptoms like a) not being able to concentrate/dig deep, or b) not sampling enough before selecting wefts and then discovering they were so wrong and I knew it if I thought about it, are so not me but totally her. It's as if her characteristics/complaints have taken over me.

I remember, a decade ago, every project was a big deal and I went through the design process, reinventing the wheel for each. That was my default way and it still feels "right". Then Ali suggested I not reinvent the wheel for every piece, so I started to look into series/variations; usually one warp/three pieces came out of a project/idea.

I must have also started thinking about "production", as in making pieces quickly to sell. In doing so my relationship with each piece became diluted, while my focus unintendedly shifted to simplifying/systematizing, (making easier,) the making; which I guess implies there is a "standard" and every piece is reviewed with a checklist. I was always unattached to my finished pieces, I couldn't wait for them to walk out the door, but now I feel uninvolved in the making.

I've been thinking of a standard size or three for online shop pieces so I have standard packaging; developing a pattern or three for cute bags to make with warp-end swatches; and as ever, the visual cohesion. I know some of this make sense, and they may save cost, but yikes, that's exactly what I hate and have been screaming about, the bottom-line/accountant-led society of the last 30 years, right? Moreover, do people want Scarf#2 from a set of six when buying directly from a weaver? Do you know what I mean?

I think series are still good; it provides a chance to stay with the project and see it from different angles or delve in different ways. I think focus on unique characteristics of yarns is good if I could stop see them as locking me in a certain way of designing. I have many interesting ideas and concepts, although I've noticed I'm not as partial to some but feel they are equally interesting, and I can't decide if this is a good or bad because it's not me. I can't decide if I get more excited about successful color combinations or drafts. And there is no one idea, material, or mental picture jumping up and down for attention. Luckily I'm not too tired or old, yet, to quit; I still have the desire to get back into the game.

I've been itching to work on a gray project deserving of some contemplation. I hope I get my brain juice back next week.

15 comments:

  1. Or is it a mild allergy to something? Pete and I are affected each time we walk the beach by something.
    I really like the boxes Cally has with simple BonnyClaith in one corner.

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    1. Don't think so, but I'm not sure. I'm sick of feeling I'm so lazy.

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    2. Re. packaging, although Cally's is wonderful, because I need to post them I've been thinking along the lines of a more basic version of Doni's bag idea: http://donisdelis.blogspot.co.nz/2010/07/wrapped-and-ready-to-go.html, as I can be more in control.

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    3. I just wrap the box in bubble wrap before putting in a mailing bag (biodegradable purple mailing bags, since you ask). And I use bubble wrap around things that don't fit in boxes either, since I have a horror of something sharp ripping the packaging and shredding a handwoven textile... I am always amazed when things arrive safely at their destination.

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    4. Purple bags?? Oh, perhaps I must get one of your pieces for that alone. But seriously, I do live at the bottom of the planet and these days postage seem to be going up exponentially and annually. (In truth, I think one year they raise the domestic, the next international, and this July is the domestic's turn.) And the size of my pieces vary. But most of all, in a small place like Nelson, there aren't a lot of choices and I have become wary of online purchases as I find them to be hit or miss. If I were back in Yokohama, there's more choices and probably much easier for fussy customers. In the end, though, I think this is my preference to tone down "wrapping" of all kinds. I get so sick of elaborate packaging, (and, oh, they do have beautiful boxes,) I wanted to make it more personal to me as well.

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  2. Interesting that you find series less inspiring. I do love a one-off piece that I can really get absorbed in, but on the whole I find the decision-making aspect immensely stressful. Every turn to the left means ruling out the turn to the right, as it were. By making a group of pieces from the same warp (or related warps), I can riff on all the variations that appeal to me without having to choose in advance. (I don't know when I got so tired of decision-making - it's not a lifelong habit, but somewhere in the last decade or so I just ran out of decidedness!)

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    1. I think it's the mindset. Series remind me of +1/-1 in film photography; after determining the aperture and shutter speed, I always took two extra shots with apertures one up and one down from what I thought was "correct" just in case. Although there is more variation/difference when I weave a series, I don't commit to any choices as the probable best outcome, in fact I feel as though I don't sample/think enough, and I do leave things to chance. Now that's another hot topic for me; that "serendipity" thing is a two-edged sword: am I forfeiting responsibility/ownership/"makership", or am I leaving space for something unexpectedly wonderful to turn up? I know "the weaving" can surprise me and show me something a lot better than what I had in my mind, but then I feel it wasn't me woh brought about the piece and I don't feel... ummm... involved. On the other hand, in terms of selling, one never knows what others like and series, variations, are bound to appeal to more tastes. And it's been proven time and time again that pieces I like and an happy to put my name on often don't sell. So, perhaps the less I'm involved with the making, the better? :-o

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    2. Selling is a strange, strange thing... I am no judge at all of what 'other people' will like. I guess it is a skill that can be learned, but I am not sure I want to bother. That sounds very rude! I just mean that I would rather spend my learning time on other things.

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    3. Probably not worth making it the main focus in one's making, however, I do wonder sometimes how I get it so wrong, not that it stops me from making anything I like.

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  3. We each must find our own path. Like Cally I like working in a series as each piece sparks a new idea/approach. But if that isn't working for you. You need to find your spark. For me the past few years, fraught with health issues, meant I was a bear of very little brain. It was enough that I could even get to the loom, never mind be fantastically creative. Now that I am feeling better, my mind is coming back to me and I am feeling more...expansive, more...creative. Life goes in spirals. Maybe you just need to regroup, so your creativity can grow again. Winter is a time to rest so the blooming and growth of spring can happen?

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    1. Laura, it's towards the end of the autumn here, and great time for contemplation. And while your health issues are real, I'm never sure what mine are, and the docs can't tell, either. I think unwittingly I am carrying on the tradition of never-ending complaints about minor health woes from my maternal line. And of course you're right, it is going in spirals; I've been concentrating on my technique while I work on the "boring" (which aren't always the case, but you know,) stash reduction projects.

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  4. The fabric for your Mom is really beautiful! I'm sure she'll love whatever her friend helps her make from it.

    And I agree totally with Laura (as usual) that you need to find the spark of inspiration wherever/however you can. It's not a question of one-offs or series - illness (such as allergies or surgeries) can have a dramatic effect on your thought processes. After my heart surgery, I could sense over a week or so that groups of brain cells were quietly coming back online. It took at least 2 weeks (according to scores on my favorite games) to get back to what is "normal" for me. Hang in there!

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    1. Hanging, Sandra, and waiting. But rather impatiently. I wished inspiration/imagination/creativity could be switched on whenever. Even though I know that if that were the case, I wouldn't be so elated when it does come on. Oh, I am a difficult customer! Summing up all the creativity books and websites I read in the 90's, I recall the trick is to be open to all possibilities at all times, but also to practice/participate in making those things happen rather than passively waiting. Yikes. YIKES. I am so impatient.

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  5. The dull feeling you describe is how I am when my sinuses are not good, I feel like a half-person with no vitality. Sometimes I don't realise it is sinuses because I don't have the headache or obstructed breathing, but this year I decided I need to be quicker to identify and treat sinus problems. I don't know if this could be a factor in how you are feeling, as I know you can be prone to sinus trouble? It's not unusual for a mental state to be based on an unresolved physical issue.

    I'm also working at challenging myself to keep moving, if I'm not progressing with the thing I'm trying to work at, get up and walk away and change track to try and find inspiration. It does help, not being too critical of myself also helps, too easy to get into a negative spiral so just telling myself "stop" is helping.

    I love your weaving with your Mom's yarns, rich colours

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    1. No, not sinuses this round, Dot. I think I'm just cranky. And at times like these, keeping going is all I can think of doing as I can't seem to concentrate well.

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