Saturday, October 14, 2006

Randall Darwall Workshop Part 5 - Collaboration

Randy stresses that his is a cottage industry; he has weavers, garment makers and Brian for designing, marketing, and other creative collaboration. I asked when Randy threw a shuttle the last time, to which the answer was an astonishing "10 years ago".

With his scarves, Randy himself dyes the yarns, then chooses the colors, the proportion, and the threading (which thread comes first, second, etc. and what weaves can be woven). His warps are relatively short, around three scarves, and then he assigns a weaver to this warp. They have a brief discussion on the general idea, and the rest is left to the weaver, sans plans, schedule or draft, to choose and change weft colors and weaves as she desires. (I'm pretty sure all three weavers he mentioned were women.)

So the Randall Darwall scarves are, in fact, a brand and a product of collaboration.

And that got this lone, basement weaver thinking; is the complexity of Randy's textile achievable only through collaboration, or is this something that can be learned and planned? I hate to have to give up the solitude of my work, but I would love to incorporate/simulate the results of "many hands working".

"What about this with this?"


  1. that is an intersting thought..

    collaboration certainly provides something, but then so does that solitude...

    Obviously, I don't know weaving.. just an awe-inspired admirer here.. but still, I think the collaboration vs solitude line of thinking could be used on anything creative.

  2. In modern times, in most instances, weaving is a solitary activity, and some of us had difficulties balancing weaving while being amongst other warm bodies (that is, talking!) Theothetically, that is where the guild structurue helps, though they more often meet and talk about weaving, rather than weave shoulder to shoulder. In case of the Randall Darwall "brand", it was separate creative minds working at/on different stages, which reminded me also of old-fashioned tapestry making, where the sometimes-named artist designed the work, and then it was up to the never-named workers to bring the plan to life (and thus the original guilds!!) Obviously Randy's scarves aren't that separated, and many of us today enjoy all or most of the processes, but for someone who doesn't take part in guilds (me), it was minidboggling and refreshing, and for a control-freak (again, me), I'm not sure I can work that way, at least not at this point.

    This is where the meet and talk at cafes all night (turn of the century Paris?) sounds so attractive to me.


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