Patrotism & Identity

I wanted to weave my cottons, because that's what I'm most enthusiastic about right now; I like how they turn out, and I have so many lovely colors. It's the kind of cloth I envisioned I'd weave when I first started on my rigid heddle in '95. Besides, Santa Fe in July can't be thick, spongy merino/possum/silk season. So I made lots of draft with 20/2 cotton in mind.

Except this patriotism thing crept in. You see, New Zealand is a small country and a small economy, and I can't help but to try and promote good quality products whenever I can. Besides, wouldn't you kind of expect to see at least a wee bit of merino stuff if you know I weave in New Zealand?

So it was that I concentrated on merino and merino mixes this week, and I tried to adapt some of the drafts meant for cotton, all the while not exactly enjoying the process. Somewhere midweek, anxiety got the better of me and I lost the plot. In fact, almost all afternoon yesterday, I sat in front of the fire and stared at the flame, because I felt physically tired. Today, I wove with merino/mohair weft in beautiful blues and greens, and for the 1500 odd picks to finish a scarf, I kept thinking, and sometimes saying out loud, "Yuck, yuck, yuck." The structure is too fussy even for me; not attractive, not flowing, kind of like... very old upholstery material. But more oh proportion in another post.

I as a weaver in Nelson, New Zealand, want to promote New Zealand products as often as I can. I as a want-to-sell weaver thought it prudent to prepares a reasonable selection of the kinds of scarves I have been weaving. And I, the cantankerous artist is totally frustrated that cotton has fallen by the wayside this week and in effect I won't be flaunting the best of what I can do on this hither-to biggest opportunity of my weaving life, and this is making me so cranky. It hit me just a couple of hours ago that it's not just making nice things to show, but showing who I am and what I can do... something like that.

Tomorrow, the last possible day I can weave maybe one more piece, I'm trying on a new warp and doing something different. Whether it's going to be black merino (no rethreading or reslaying) or cotton (rethreading and reslaying) I haven't decided yet.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it hard to try to juggle what you want to weave with what you feel you *ought* to weave?

It's not a bad idea to mix some of what you know you love doing and do wonderfully, with what you think your target market wants. Let them see a spectrum of what you can do.

Yes, it's great to be loyal to your region (I see that here in the States with Western artists, Southwestern artists, etc.) -- but don't box yourself in to a category that may not be as reflective of you as a weaver as you would want it to be.

When in doubt, always go for "showing who I am and what I can do. . ." The galleries and clients that want you will choose you -- the ones that don't aren't a good fit in the long run.

So weave with conviction!!

Oh -- and naturally, weave like an Egyptian,


Meg said...

I haven't posted about it yet, I know, but in the end I took out the merino warp and put on a cotton one, and it gave me so much trouble, and the weaving was very labor-intensive, but boy, I LOVED WEAVING IT.