Sunday, June 6, 2010

Exciting Handwoven Work

The universe is challenging me. It could be telling me I've had it too easy for a while now.

I've been miffed that my tea cosy has been hidden as much as it can possibly be in the bookshop window. I mean, how dare they! That was way beyond my design comfort zone, and by far the wildest thing they got, but nooooooo, they had to bury it so keep in the field of colors so nobody will notice. Don't they know artists have very fragile egos?? Meh!

I should not have gone to the writing workshop on Saturday; Joan was lovely and the people there keen writers, (they belong to the Society of Authors, the Pen Club, for goodness sake!) but I was cold, worried about P2P, and though I enjoy therapeutic writing, I sure wasn't there to learn to be a better writer, per se. I would have been happier in a retreat situation. I should have been happier at home. But I did learn a thing or two, one always does in Joan's company.

Anyhoo, some of the writers were being friendly and I got the regular dose of, "Oh, I know a weaver," or "I (or insert any other female relations) used to weave," and any number of other comments about woven items circa 1970's/'80s. Small talk. People were being nice to me, for heaven's sake, but I became extraordinarily impatient and angry and I wanted to scream, "No, weavers nowadays weave things quite different from what you describe, cherish, or remember!" I felt my facial muscle tighten in trying to keep up the fake smile, it was quite upsetting.

When I came home, I wrote on Facebook I am a weaving snob, and I would like to distance myself from old-fashioned weaving, to which Sunny said she hasn't seen exciting weaving, and wanted links. Ouch! So while trying to concentrate on finishing my P2P today, I kept wondering what "exciting weaving" is. (And I've gotta add, I kept thinking I've seen work that looked very much like what I was finishing.)

I've always held that there isn't much "new" in handweaving, other than material and equipment. And I'm OK with that. In fact, it's almost nice to imagine somewhere, someone from a totally different time wove something very much like I've just finished.

In the "new" department, of course there are new yarns, new dyes/resists, (though mostly in post-weaving enhancement), and the photo/jacquard thingie, with which I'm not familiar.

Weavers appreciate those who find new ways of doing things, do something technically difficult or innovative, particularly if it was done "without pickup", or finish labor-intensive work. A while back, curves, network drafting and multi-shaft were new and exciting. But I don't know what I mean by "exciting" now; it's usually my next project, and the one after, and that's all I can think of today.

What is "exciting weaving" depends on what the person is looking for, just like any other art form. Right on cue, Sunny wrote back, "Color, texture, possibility. And like any work of art -- or well executed craft -- the unexpected quality that elicits an emotional response from the viewer. I personally prefer art that pleases me and makes me happy or satisfied. Others, I know, like shock value. I have no clue what would constitute shock value in a handwoven cloth, but I will give it some thought."

Oh, dear.

Friday, I thought I was being innovative, and Ronette commended me for breaking my old rigid barriers. My P2P excited me for a while. Today, though, I'm back in my familiar space of ... how the heck do I weave something spectacular?

It's the weather, too; gray and wet. Something is telling me I shouldn't go "there" just now. So instead, I'll go make some crazy gesso paper for next Friday.


  1. One of the most exciting spectacular pieces of weaving I've seen in a while, Meg. Well done.

  2. Dianne, did Randy have something like this among the scarves he showed us? I keep thinking I've seen something similar to this. Or do you think it's the colors?

  3. I think its the colours, the reds and blues predominantly, and possibly he did/does work in crackle which is blocky.

    But this is your gem, Meg. Created from your within.

  4. Yeah, maybe. Thanks, Dianne. Now I have to make a longer one that is a bit more "wearable".

  5. Meg, stunning piece of weaving, divine colours. And I'm also offended that your fabulous tea cosy vanished somewhere in the background with all those other tea cosies in front. Yours was truly wild. XO

  6. Meg, can we see a solo photo of your tea cosy, since we can't see it in the shop window?

  7. Carol, thanks. I thought so, but perhaps too wild for the bookshops?

    Esmae, here:

  8. Excitment is not something I look for in cloth, or art,but I guess I take words literally. I prefer the kind of art one lives with and sees more in and enjoys more over time, the kind of thing that is different in different lights, or has subleties not immediately apparent. I think "exciting" at first look often turns to "disappointing" on further reflection.

    Anyhow, Meg, I think your weaving is gorgeous, I love how the colours work. I adored your tea cosy too.

    Emotional response - everyone responds to things differently, emotional response depends on where an individual comes from, their memories, values, colour vision, favourite things and places and people.

  9. Your piece is spectacular! Put it away for a few weeks and then look at it'll see that it is spectacular.

  10. Dorothy, me, too. Therefore, I like quiet cloth, uplifting cloth, scintillating cloth, elegant cloth, exquisite (which is moving towards the technical rather than simply the aesthetic), fun cloth, but perhaps not challenging cloth, "out there" cloth, and the like. I find "exciting" to see cloth that looks one way from afar, another from a mid distance, and whoa, quite different close up. And with this, I think I achieved something of it.

    Holly, thanks for your vote of confidence. I shall put it under purgatory sofa. OR, I'll just make a new warp and handle this one as a sample for the next one.


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