Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Wednesday and... / End of WYSIWYG for Now

So far, I've had a really busy week.  Almost like a normal working person; almost.

The Group met for the third time on Monday.  We almost decided on a name, and a "motto" of sorts.  We're going to try to see how they roll on our tongues. The group consists of six members, and I got their consent to talk about them and what we do a little bit. 

There's me, of course.  Then Pat, formerly known as a tapestry weaver, but now her thing is Ikat.  She's from the US and her husband is an accomplished woodworker so she has quite a bit of knowledge there, too.  She travels extensively and has visited interesting textile spots; she's also the one working so hard to get me a good American outlet.

Jo is the only one who has made an appearance on Unravelling, organized the stash sale, and took part in the Yoshiko Wada workshop with me.  Her interest is in sustainable material garments and eco dye, but her garments have deeply researched health connotations.  Her partner is a painter, so Jo knows about the art establishment as well.  (She is not the Jo who used to be in the same drawing class.) Jo and her partner are from Australia. 

Then there is Ronnie, who organized of the Changing Threads awards/exhibitions for the last three years.  You could say it's her exhibition briefs that's been making me go crazy, questioning art vs craft vs technique, and that thing called concept; establishing the Textile Lunchers, and prompting me to set up WYSIWYG, my intended solo exhibition of cloth with no embellishment, creative intents nor concepts.  Ronnie herself  will do anything with textiles; I've known of her felted garments, but her expression now come from art quilt.  I think that's the name.  She's also taught from kindy to high school, I think. Ronnie is our token Kiwi.

Judy is English, and I believe she used to teach tertiary level art, but now primary school children.  I don't know how to describe her work; some are like giant mobiles, some are like sculptures using textiles, but she is also interested in sustainable material and eco dye. Her husband is also a woodworker.

Maria is from Finland, and has extensive background in garment and pattern making, among other things.  In Yoshiko Wada workshop, she whipped up a garment pattern faster than I might decide on an EPI, and completed an shibori-shrunk overdress.  She is also interested in the sustainable/eco angle.  She is "fibrefinger" on Ravelry. 

I made a big decision sometime last week and told the group on Monday: the big gallery I reserved for a second solo in October 2012, I decided to give it up for the group.  So, that's the end of WYSIWYG for now.  Of course I will still take part, and in fact I have first dibs (right) to how and where to hang one of my projects in the gallery.

The group dynamics feel right, we don't agree on everything but there is a nice and easy way of discussing and letting time pass so we can reach an agreement.  The collective technical knowledge is fantastic and there is a lot  of good will.  And it will be good for Nelson to be seen to have a robust and professional textile group.  I can always plan another solo if I still want to do what I had planned, but I decided to go with my gut feeling.  And this just felt right.  We have a working title and a theme for the exhibition already.

Three went to art school; two have corporate experiences; one was a mental health professional.  We have a good mix.  It was especially nice to get nods of approval from the art school/teacher group about my recent foray into 3D without a destination in mind.

We've also been doing creative exercises just for fun. I led the group this month and we did 2D and 3D paper sculpture, similar to what I did for Ali a year ago.  I was nervous leading this activity, trying to second guess what the art school half thought, (I have to stop thinking like this!), but it appears we all had fun things without knowing/having control.  I wanted to do something that didn't include drawing, you see, as some of us still feel uneasy about it. 

I came home and Maria send me a couple of links to look at.  They are arty, and my first instinct was to say, no, I want to place emphasis on the cloth, on the technique of weaving, on the unembellished, but, I'm trying not to say no, to keep my mind open, to listen to all advice.

Next meeting, late August, my place.  I'm worried about my garden/house/mess, because so far, the members'  houses have been absolutely amazingly tidy, clean and beautiful.  Our place doesn't even have nice chairs...

* * * * *

I've been asked to tag posts relating to The Group. I'll give it ago.  All posts relating to the 2012 exhibition, previously labeled "WYSIWYG" will be labeled "Beginning" from now on.

* * * * *

When Jo gave me a ride home, she told me Jay at the Red was having a heck of a time packing up the gallery, and that Jo was helping her on Tuesday.  So on Tuesday, Ronnie and I joined in.  I helped take out nails, blue/gray tack, labels and stickers off the wall, and packaging up some of the art work.  Today I went back and sorted her greeting cards and boxed them up.  The new owners will continue to sell cards, but I wanted to make it easier for them to count the stock, as I know how complicated the cards got when I worked there.  Since Jay started working at 5AM this morning, she wanted to call quits early, and that's why I've been able to blog today.  (Yesterday I had sensory overload and felt quite crazy after I came home.)  Tomorrow we'll vacate the back store rooms, and probably have another short day.  I'll go as long as she can make use of my help, but won't go if she doesn't want me; I so enjoy being in Red as it is, if I'm not gainfully put to use, I talk too much.

* * * * *

Kudos to Dot.  She solved a conundrum of mine.  She suggested I post good photos and little texts on my website, the way we've been doing on Nelson Daily Photo for the last five years.  Now, that is doable, I can do that, and of course, why didn't I think of it, but I am so grateful she thought of it!  I'm off to set that up now.


  1. I envy your ability to meet up with like minded weavers Meg, it must be stimulating. I work alone and whilst I like that independence, it would be good sometimes to have a creative buzz with others. Unfortunately my experience of other weavers has been them coming up to me and lecturing on how great they are weaving 3/1 twills on their 4 shaft loom and how they "never sample as I've been doing this so long" as if it's some kind of badge of honour. Or those who say "your work reminds me of xxx" (only in that we both use colour but beyond that are nothing alike and if they'd actually looked at xxx's work, they would see that). So I get where you're coming from on that one! Kind of puts me off wanting to mix really but it's lovely to see it works for some. I look forward to reading how you guys progress.

  2. I hear you, Anonymous. It wasn't easy, trusting people, belonging to a group. I had tons of false starts in this department, and I still have a hard time even with this group, because of my experiences which sounds suspiciously similar to yours. I have tons of "experienced" and "professional" weavers giving me sage advice while nodding knowingly and feeling sorry for me. In New Zealand, and around here in particular, general public's perception of weaving tends to be hand-spun natural colors at around 8 or 10EPI.

    For me, the most trusted circle of weaving friends is those I find here, online and offline. And then I choose my real-world weaving friends carefully, and I exercise selective listening. This can get tiresome or even infuriating, but what else can I do?

    I think there are a couple of reasons why this group is working for me: of the six, only two are weavers and we have different experiences in the types of things we weave, and many of us have been sick of different attempts at groups.

    We are also careful, so far, not to cross the line, as we all wanted a safe place to share ideas without being bullied about our own paths. I am the most vocal when it comes to making clear when someone shouldn't be "advising" me to do this or that. It takes energy and care to develop the mood of the group, and I think this will be on-going. But if you do get the right mix, (and the number), it can happen, and because our focus is a joint exhibition and not a joint project or product, and because we pretty much knew the kinds of and levels of other members' work, so far it's working great.

    For me, what works well is that nobody suggests alternative techniques or advise unless I ask. Others are reminded regularly I hope to weave something on the loom and present the piece relatively unaltered. There is, so far, an incredibly respectful attitude a bout what others expect from the group.

    Anonymous, if a group is what you are looking for, I sure hope you eventually run into people you can work with. But to find the right people, you might have to listen to a few unsought advice, too. Meanwhile, feel free to stop by any time. You are among friends here.


I love comments. Thank you for taking the time!