Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weave Structure + Dye Techniques

I've been playing with this idea in my head for several years, and have been thinking about the practicalities for about a year; I want to mix/match weave structures and dye techniques to create a more nuanced cloth.

Of the various patterns that emerge from shibori dyeing, I love pole-wrapping/bohmaki the best. I've only ever done it once, but always felt soothed by these patterns; to me they reflect parts of nature I like, e.g. tree trunks, bamboo leaves, or rushing water. So I'll use this to illustrate my point.

This is a photo of one of Connie Rose fabrics, but the colors and contrast have been exaggerated. What I hope to do is to weave a cloth with textural/structural interest, then superinpose colors and patterns by way of dyeing. From long- and mid-distances, the primary interest of the cloth will be the dye work, but close up, there is an added interest in the underlying structures and textures.

Something like this can be done relatively easily. Shall we start with pointed threading and weave simple, elongated diamonds in two-faced twill or satin, then dye?

Matching the weave structure/placement/shape & size with the dye pattern shape & size requires more technique, but 1) I don't imagine I can control my pole-wrapping so precisely, at least not as predictably as weaving, and 2) if the structure and colors matched perfectly, I wonder if the cloth would still look hand-made, or if the colors look printed/stamped and the cloth manufactured. This is what I meant by diminishing returns yesterday.

Theoretically I don't think this is a difficult project. But fine-tuning the pole-wrapping technique may be hard and I envision lots of experimentation coming up. Then I can worry about the shape and scale of the woven pattern and the weave structure.

Theoretically I could weave, for example, pebbles like these in the structure and have water rushing over them. I can also introduce different colors and textures in the yarns so the different sheen, dye take up, and/or the final colors would yield even more nuanced cloths.

Well, that's the theory anyway.

It's been a slow, lazy day, sunny but cold and windy. Because I've been wandering around the house, I didn't turn any heater on, so the house hasn't reached 15C. So, now, fire, then dinner.

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