Monday, June 6, 2011

The Thinking Order

I'm still waiting for my pictures to arrive from Amanda, but I'm not worried because they will eventually tun up, probably tomorrow. Meanwhile I had to step away from the images for a little while, because I began to edit photos mechanically without much reflection or feelings, and though that in itself is not a bad thing, I started to feel like a robot going through the motions.  

Then I read Geodyne's and Judy's posts this morning, and I've a renewed interest in my project. I like Geodyne's (unintended) approach of looking at her images collectively. It was the exact problem I had when I was choosing my images to send to Cally; I wanted "the lot" to look good together and edited my selection a few times a day for over a week to make the individual images interesting.  In Geo's case, her interpretations and thoughts about the set feels right; I don't know what I'm trying to say, but I envy the cohesion, the "nicely coming together"-ness; it's just a lovely feeling.  

Then Judy's discussion of various techniques made me try to visualize different structures to create the same image, in my case something to do with Grand Canyon more often than the others. 

I learned in my various attempts at design studies I rush to decide the weave structure, thus limiting the design possibilities much too early in the process, so I've trained not to visualize the final cloth any more. (Took me years!)  While this way of delaying decisions leaves a lot of room for the unintended, the novel, and the surprising, it can sometimes make me feel unfocused, and often I see myself in a big room with images, materials, swatches, feelings, lists, methods, and equipment strewn 360 degrees around me.

I prefer weaving to knitting, quilting, embroidery, and other disciplines as my way of serious making because of the framework of weaving, which some people refer to as "restrictions".  And I feel a great deal of satisfaction trying to weave creatively inside the square/boundary.  (I know, metaphors galore, but what the heck.) For me, it appears I feel most comfortable if I know the weave structure first, and it probably has do with my lack of knowledge about weave structures; I tend to pick one or two, and weave with them for years, until I move on to the next.     

Anyway, I'm a bit of a lurch in my process, but that's OK, I'm not in a rush, and I'm enjoying being i a lurch because it also means I can go any which way I want from here.  What did jump into my mind this morning were: A) I don't have to weave a nice, smooth cloth; I could weave a stiff length, stitch the start and the finish, and create a tube that stands on its own, for example; and B) I could mix tapestry technique or pickup, and I might even sample on the rigid heddle with old stiff wool, fleece, or even my hadnspun. 

One thing is for sure: I'm really enjoying "the process" this year; in fact this may be the first time I'm consciously going through "the process".  And if I had to drag 18 other weavers along the way to get me to this point, all I can say is, I hope you're having fun, too.


  1. Interesting problem. If you like structure, maybe make that work for you? Perhaps take one or two given elements or restraints and make yourself work around that?

    Like you I'm finding myself visualising a finished cloth and thinking about how to get there, when that's a very backwards way of approaching the challenge.

    My other problem today is slightly different but still very much the same. It's how to develop the design without thinking too hard about the finished product! I'm trying really, really hard right now not to think of a skirt made from rayon and 10/1 singles silk noil.

  2. I know that seeing the finished product first and breaking it down to manageable steps is considered "backwards" in art education, but now that I can pretty much go either way, I don't think there really are good and bad ways. Or maybe I say this because I haven't tried enough of the forward method.

    Trying not to see the finished product took me a while, but now I don't think I have those spectacular early morning visions of, "Oh, that's what I'll weave!" moments any more. Not that I can recall recently.


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