Monday, June 7, 2010

Discovery Continues

I tell you now one of the main motivation I had in organizing Pics to Picks was the almost perverse pleasure I receive from being allowed to look into artists' notebooks and sketchbooks; it's tingly and giddy and most certainly physical for me. But as I gone through the final posts, this time reading carefully, referring to previous posts if applicable, and soaking in what everybody wrote, these are the gems I'm picking up from their experiences.

Lynn looked what what she did accomplish, not what she didn't manage, which was the point of the challenge.

"In the midst of infected mindlessness, all I could do was wind a warp of good ordinary blue, with accent dimity stripes of pale, silvery green. That was it. No complex, shifting, evocative combinations of blues/greens with a smudge of violet, sparked by raised dimity stripes in color counterpoint, all suggesting a sun-drenched, humid Florida summer day about to be cooled off by a rocking thunderstorm. Um, no. Not with a brain sat upon by an overweening sinus or twelve."

Sure, I would have loved to have seen this, woven or sketched, but the thought, the vision was put into it, and that was what we promised to do. Fortunately she kept getting bored and tried different wefts. She played around, (which I am told over and over is so important but tend to resist or limit my scope,) and instead of getting one lovely scarf, she got fabric for several lunch bags and at least one idea (but I suspect more?) for a scarf/shawl. I'm glad you got bored, Lynn.

Goodness me, Bety/Deep End of the Loom got inspired to spin, and a Etsy shop with her Baja bags is forthcoming! Far, far beyond what I thought we might get out of this challenge, and good for you, Bety, congratulations!

The first time I saw Linda's post, I was so awed by the pictures, as you can imagine, I couldn't read her text. When I went back, I discovered a similar frustration over which I hissed about just yesterday. Though I think as weavers we work on a continuum, (of "art/craft" for want of a better description), not in distinct boxes, and from time to time we move around on that continuum. As I wrote in my second comment, with my dogged insistence that I make my "art" on the loom and within the restrictions of the interlacing warp and the weft, I'm in the "craft" end of this continuum in the eyes of many "textile/fiber artists", and I'm OK with that. But, I need to find out for myself where, when and how much doggedness I need/allow myself, (it ties in so much with integrity in my mind,) and when to play. That's a long road ahead of me; maybe even that balance will always shift and I won't/shouldn't settle in one place. All I know is, I'll only find out heuristically.

By the way, some fun links from Linda's post about bar codes, and note Trapunto's comment.

Which brings us to Trapunto, who reflected, "I discovered that when I designed from a starting place someone else chose, it made everything less serious."

That's what I experienced as well. I wasn't responsible, (in fact, neither was Lynne) and I could change/adopt as I pleased, and in my case, my final product is quite different from what I had planned, but I don't feel guilty, because I was just playing.

Rose, who is, among others, a walking encyclopedia of weaving structures in our Marlborough group, seems to have gotten so many ideas from her clues. I look forward to seeing them in the future, but really, winter came rather quickly this year and I can well sympathize her wanting a new rug in front of her hearth suddenly.

I like Amanda's multi-layered approach, (pun intended), particularly as we had some off-line communication earlier on and I got to know her a little better, and, oh yeah, I so envy her youth and energy. Dyeing and then weaving would make the completed piece personal and intimate; I can't wait to see where she goes with this. Amanda, you must, you know. For me?

Again, I just gazed at Julia's piece the last time. Today I found she wrote about procrastination, on which subject I am the expert practitioner. Strangely, in my case, I confirmed that I work better nearer the deadline - something I have been trying to remedy ("near the deadline" part, not the "working better" part,) but it hasn't worked so far.

Before she settled on needle weaving, she examined, "I thought of tapestry, huge chunky twills, then of kente cloth. If I wove strips of cloth, only to sew it into a sort of twill? Then I dreamed of ikat details, to mimic the light in this photo. An ikat kente cloth of greys. As I worked to get my tea towels off my loom, I realized I would not have enough time to get another warp on the loom." I know all of these techniques, but for me, weaving structure is something that is decided early on in the design process, and though I know I therefore limit the possibilities of the outcome, I haven't learned to work the other way around yet. It took Julia writing them down for me to learn that this is something I can change.

The first thing about Esmae is, she sent me one big PowerPoint presentation with everything in it. Very self-contained, and so easy for me to manage. I've used PP before, but I never thought to use it in sending multiple images in one go using PP, and when you think about it, it's just a "Duh!" moment.

Esmae went form thinking about the images, weave-sampling one, then dyeing and weave-sampling another. I was impressed with what she did, but more to the point I liked the short, sharp presentation of her process. Beautifully done, Esmae; brava!

Desirée, oh, Desirée! Did you know she moved house while working on P2P? Hats off to you, my friend. And she finds it easier to weave in blocks, which, at this point, still baffles me. Lovely Swedish-looking results.

Holly introduced a totally unexpected (to me) aspect - collaboration; her cloth didn't hold very well, so she had a friend machine-quilt it, and what a lovely friendship; click on the fourth photo from the top. The extent to which I think of collaboration with other textile artists is to hold a joint exhibition; that's how far inside my head is when I think of my weaving, and honestly getting inspiration from another person was quite a stretch for me, at least at the inception of the Challenge. I thought Holly's solution was not only practical, but a good reminder. And would you take a look at the end product? Holly, do you think you'll open a Etsy bag shop?

Now, Shirley's experimentation was the kind I do a lot of, and what Dr Phil might call a "soft place to land" for me. I understand this. And it's rather easy to do, compared to, say, sketching or collages. Or sample weaving. Thanks, Shirley.

And then Kaz, who received my photos. Can I say I had about 20 I wanted to send, but trimmed the selection to, I think, six? No, five. I just wanted to see her draw in her sketchbook, and she certainly satisfied my sketchbook page lust.

"... how do you design from an image when loom weaving has so many restraints and restrictions to imagery and placement." That's what I've been asking every since I signed up for a design course in 2002. Kaz continues: "It’s these limitations that are part the creative aspect in this challenge. The designs going on in our heads are mixed with our technical knowledge of what is possible on our looms without setting out to create a full imagery in tapestry weave."

Kaz concludes, I think, that art takes time. I can live with that. In fact, if weaving something spectacular was easy, I might have gotten bored after a couple of years. I'd like to look forward to weaving something spectacular, finally, when I'm 73 and 82 and 95.

And me? Besides discovering I can live in amazing peace, harmony, almost, with my Right Brain, without the Left doing it serious damage?

After reading everybody's post, I learned that compared to my own previous ways, I did built the project from the ground up; I did work with the image, rather than deciding the many, usual parameters first and working within the constraints. In particular, to go with Summer & Winter came late in the game, after I decided I wasn't going to just weave the colors of the selected photo. So that's progress.

After reading one of Kaz's posts, and inspired by examinations she did on my bamboo photo, I thought of weaving a scarf that somehow represented the hollow, comfortable, unpretentious sound mature bamboo makes when they hit each other in the wind. And I'll most probably keep it; a rare thing for me.

So, this is like my book report. Thank you, again, participants for your work, insights and images. And visitors, especially for your comments on our posts. Finally, please excuse me for gloating, but,

Man, this was so bl**dy worth it!


  1. Thank you Meg for all your hard work, it was a honour to be involved in this project with you and all the 'P2P' talented and inspiring weavers. I enjoyed following the blogs and updates. Next time I'll be more prepared.... Thank you, thank you, & thank you ♥ It was heaps of fun.
    Much Love Shirley Xx

  2. It was fun, wasn't it? It was such a freeing experience I didn't realize I could be so ... free. I'm looking forward to how this will affect my future thinking/processes.

  3. This was such an amazing project to participate in Meg- thank you for everything! (especially for the reminder about staying positive- it was well needed. I promise in the future, no apologies unless merited!) I have so much reading to do- going over everyone's work again- it has been such a joy to see the thought processes and physical forms! I have learned a lot. Thank you, thank you!

  4. Gloat away! Completely justified!
    Thanks again,

  5. Why was the bamboo waiting for the wind?
    So it could have a conversation.

  6. Julia, no problem. I just wanted to focus on what we did accomplish. Because we did get a lot done - individually and collectively. I know it's hard when you're not well, but sometimes it's kind of nice to pretend all is well, yes?

    I thought I had kept a pretty good watch on where everybody was at, but boy, tracing back the challenges individually, from the start to the end, was wonderful and buzzing. And over all, everybody touched on things I've been wondering about, the bothering my Textile Lunch friends, all along. I think I'll have to revisit in later in the year to see if I will read the posts differently.

    Trapunto, you, too! I almost wanted to say, "b1tching" worth it! But it was, wasn't it!

    Dianne, ha ha ha ha ha... But I do love that sound. I wonder if that's what gardeners try to create when they do that water-in-the-bamboo thing in Japanese gardens.

  7. I just discovered your P2P projects and I love the idea. The next time you do this, count me in!!! And do it soon, please.

  8. Ummmm. Hello, Benita. Truth to tell, many of us who participated will continue investigating what we did this time around, but we're feeling a bit hung-over, at least I am, so if it does happen, it would be, let's see, announced around December???

  9. hungover? yes, maybe that's why i'm just getting back to comment in mid august! glad i got to the project before the awesome and relentless heat struck. (here in U.S./northeast).

    thank you for organizing, meg. i am checking out the various projects from your thoughtfully gathered links. i see us all stretched over the earth, connected by this project, our hearts and brains projecting out and up, meeting somewhere with the seeds from your original idea, creating some little invisible weaving that somehow takes all of our thoughts into account. i am glad to have been able to meet you all in the ethersphere!

  10. Hi, Linda. Glad you're enjoying it. In fact, it would be interesting for me to go back and check out everybody's projects now, a few months later. I'm sure I'll see different things.


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