Thursday, June 10, 2010


Here! And a fab story at the end. So happy for you.

She's had some interesting collaborations lately, and successfully, too. Lynne, Holly, leading me towards collaboration. But I love the solitude of weaving, I work totally un/dis/il/in/counter/anti-systematically, most of it inside my head, to the point sometimes I can't explain what I'm thinking to other weavers. Sometimes I can't put them in words to clarify myself.

I can't weave in a relaxed way if Ben's hovering around. And he is the quietest, unobtrusive-est hoverer in the world.

I've turned down requests from young weavers from Europe to apprentice/intern with me recently. Who are they kidding? They go to art school and train as weavers, seriously, and here I am, I can't even get the right length of warp measured, nor keep a descent tension on the looms. I don't want to embarrass myself, I don't want to mislead talented young people, and I sure can't be responsible for them learning after they come all the way to the bottom of the earth. I sure don't want to give anyone any ammo to announce to the world I'm a big fat fraud and I only ever post nice pics of the nice sections of pieces that worked. (I could start a whole new blog about what didn't work and how I didn't succeed!)

Though there is fabulous hiking and kayaking in Nelson so I could send them that way.

I love talking about weaving, and talking to weavers. I don't think I'm that averse to collaboration, though it takes a long time for me to absorb some ideas or methods, and I am fussy, snobby, about aesthetics. I think Lynne and Holly and the universe is telling me there is more to gain from collaboration than isolation.

I've got to clean up my house and garden to start with, because I am very embarrassed about the mess I live in. I never used to be like this, but then I discovered weaving is more interesting than cleaning, that my stash room and studio wasn't big enough for my work, and I engage in excessive hoarding during my bad patches with depression. (Actually, it's when I come out of them that I shop, but cause I'm full of hope and ideas.)

Even though the "mess" weighs heavily on my mind and keeps me awake, there is also the problem of confidence. I feel discomfort in people seeing me weave, seeing how I set up my looms, how I remedy my tension problems. I put as much obstacles as possible in people coming to see my workspace. I haven't had a lot, but the few experiences I had haven't been all that good.

One experienced weaver dwelled on my work schedule, which was ambitious but I was trying to be more productive, and back then, a healthy daily schedule would work. I thought it was rather private, but she couldn't stop laughing.

Another long-time weaver dwelled on the fact I was using a 16-inch wide reed to weave a 6-inch scarves on a 40-inch wide loom. I don't have a whole lot of reeds, and I have two 6 DPI reeds, so I used one on the Big Loom, and the narrow one on the jack loom. She couldn't repeat enough times how strange that was.

Another well-known weaver came, and she might as well have walked around with her forefinger stuck in her mouth. She just looked dismissive and almost with disdain. Shortly before my exhibition.

People are funny. Even weavers. I try not to make flippant and irrelevant remarks, and I try to be careful with weavers, because the last thing I want to do is to hurt another weaving ego, but then I do have a sharp tongue and a lot of opinion.

After these and a few more bad experiences, I decided the weaver in me must select friends wisely; sometimes I have to be ruthless with this, or else I stop weaving for weeks and months.

Some things have got to change: my mess, for starters. Other things, I'm doing right, like choosing my friends and trusting my aesthetics. There is now the third factor creeping in, however: be open to collaboration, particularly when it pops up from the left field.

Enough ranting. Go check out Lynne's smiles.

EDIT: Just so you know, I have had lovely visits, too. One couple, all the way from Christchurch stopped by on their summer holiday in Golden Bay, warmed my spirit and energized my brain a whole lot. There are others who came and we we laughed our heads off, spilling tea and dropping cookie crumbs. But it's the bad visits that the weaver remembers.

EDIT: Mind you, here's a picture: youthful creative spirit lands in Nelson, cautiously wades through rambling, overgrown... growth, approaches house. In a few days, the evil weaving ogre has sucked the creative juice out of said spirit, leaving but a shadow of the young spirit, while the ogre laughs evil-y and whips beautiful, mad cloth off her loom, one after another.

Great movie idea, yes?


  1. Meg writes "I could start a whole new blog about what didn't work and how I didn't succeed!"

    And this is what makes you a distinguished weaver. You didn't stop (and you continue to go). You learned (and continue to learn). You tried again(and continue to try) and did things differently. It's not that you can teach them new things or the perfect way. Its that you can teach them not to stop, to trust themselves, to trust their OWN process. This bit of learning, this simple seeming knowledge, is SO VERY HARD to learn.

    Hugs, Meg. Even from a distance you remain one of my favorite teachers.

  2. Me. Teach. You? Ha ha, StarByte. Haven't heard that name in a while, either!

    If you see my stash, sweetheart, you will know why I cannot stop now! :-D

  3. You're right. We only remember the bad things, the embarassing things but, if you ask the people involved what they thought happened all those years ago, they can't remember. What embarasses us made no impact on them. And, in any case, someone who comes to visit ought to hold their tongue. It is only polite.

    So be comforted and write off the bad visitors and welcome the good ones. You lose too much if you have no visitors at all. So forward with the collaboration with like-minded spirits.

  4. All the more, I can't believe some weavers make such flippant remarks, particularly the experienced ones who should encourage newer weavers, Pat.

    You're absolutely right. They are not worth my time nor energy, and there are heaps more with whom I must converse with and learn from.

  5. Hi Meg,
    every weaver has her/his own way of doing things, and no one is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. I learned that while in Bradford, when preparing the first warp with the lab assistant: I was doing it completely different from what he was showing us.
    I said "oh, I did it wrong" and he answered, "No, only different".
    In the end my warp was perfectly fine. Of course.
    You are unique and different from anybody else. You work in your own way. And nobody can tell you off or pull faces when they see you at work. I would be honoured and most excited to see your workspace and see you working! Don't let those people affect you at all!

  6. Thank you, Doni. Well, you'd have to come back to NZ, then, and have Ben take out Mr Doni in the candy car while we discuss weaving.


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