Sunday, September 30, 2012


It started this way...
And ended this way.
Back: Pat, Duncan, Maria, David, Ronnie and Ben
Front: Meg, Jo

I'll post more picks very soon.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cherry Blizzard and an Apology

Whatever petals that remained after the rain on Wednesday is blowing away today. Moments before this, there was a strong gust from the lower side of the hill, (right) which caused a pale pink cloud to dance up in the air. Strong wind during the cherry blossom season is called Sakura Fubuki, or Cherry Blizzard, in Japan and we share a regional, collective sigh with the joy of the season, (depending on the year it's the mid-March graduation season or early April start of the new school/work year,) and the disappearance of something so fleeting and lovely. Which is probably appropriate for my mood of the day.

It pains me to have to post this, but I apologize I am most probably unable to make a Friends(hip) piece to include in the upcoming exhibition.

Because of the variety of width of your gifts, I decided to weave the piece on the 16-shaft Louet Klik, so I can modify the number of pattern picks to suit the inlay weft. The idea was to do some fancy threading on 16 and use a simple lifting more or less in twill. This loom is 16 inches wide, so I thought I could weave a 14.5 - 15 inches; my first mistake; it's too wide and I don't have a good handle on the beating. (And not a good time to recollect I've only ever woven up to 8 inches on this loom.) The second mistake was to use all 16 shafts: the shed for shafts beyond, say, 10 is but a sliver and with the slightly sticky wool warp, I have to pry open every pattern shed with my hands or a stick, which is not only time-consuming, but rough on the warp. 

With that in mind, I simplified the draft, narrowed the width to 12 inches, rethreaded, and tripled the weft for faster weaving, and sampled. The design is now so dumbed down, it looks like a school project, and elementary school at that! It doesn't have the gift inlay wefts sticking out like relief against a flat red background, and the "chin" shapes look like badly balanced undulating twill with jagged bits. After seven samples, I can't make it look like something I wove, like something I'd like to put my name on.

I have half a day tomorrow, half a day Monday and 3/4 of the day Tuesday to do something about this if a light bulb lights up, but I've felt totally defeated the last 24 hours I'm not sure if this is going to happen. I've considered a cotton warp, using the Warp of Shame still sitting on the big loom, took out my RH and Mom's frame loom, but haven't come up with anything. Yet.

So, I apologize. They are not coming off the cork board because I know I can do this, and it's got me very interested in designing with multi-layered weave, but it's just not happening right now. And I'm disappointed because though in a different shape this was something I wanted to do when "Beginnings" was still "WYSIWYG".

Now, I'm going to hem and finish the pillars. And try not to feel so bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Orcs and GORT

I am GORT, the Goddess of Re-Threading. You my kiss my hem. It's that kind of a day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


With two days of work days left, I find myself re-threading. I have run out of living room space; the small loom in the office didn't work, so I am wedged in my stash room between the ironing board and two vacuum cleaners. But this is the only room in the house with the view of our garden. And with the heavy rain today, this will all be gone tomorrow morning. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, the Ideas in my Head!!

Ten years ago when I was putting my second or third warp on my 16-shaft computer-controlled loom, I wondered how Ben could build me a loom where there are no shafts, but the computer somehow controls each and every warp end. Because if it can handle shafts, the logic couldn't be too different; the issue would be the space and weight for the mechanics for each and every heddle.  So, by threading the loom once, one could tie on new warps forever and use the loom for plain weave just as easily as, say, for 80 block on 240 shafts. I always meant to propose to him this wee weekend building project.

Then it dawned on me on this weekend that, as far as I understand, that's what Jacquard looms do. Am I right? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Debriefing - Merely Part 1 of... - Or, "To Sirs, With Love"

Although I'm in the middle of threading the last piece for the exhibition, (which will be installed, golly, in a week!!) since I wove the last plain weave shot in my fourth pillar, I've been debriefing with myself about the exhibition and the last two years of my making. That's pretty much the length of time I spent obsessing about large blurry thingamajigs hanging in a tall space. I'm glad it's over; I've no residual sentiment. In fact, it's worrying how far back in my past I've put them; they're piled up on the floor unfinished and perplexed looking, and I step on them from time to time while doing other things. I suppose I should finish them, make the casings, cut and drill holes in the dowels, sand, thread fishing lines, spray-paint the metal bits, etc., etc., etc. If I weren't such a control freak, I would hire someone for these.

I feel a shift in my focus. This morning on Facebook Pracownia na kaszubach (though that's not her name) linked to a whole lot of photos by this weaver, and again, I was filled with nostalgia that at one time I would have gone googoo gaga over her work. I think her work is wonderful, and I may even be tempted to buy one if I had the chance to feel them, but I want to weave something different. I was taken aback to find myself wanting movements. I felt smothered in the rigidity of repeats.

Yeah, it's that pesky word, "dynamic" all over. I know Randy (by which I mean Randy and Brian, and not the Randall Darwall brand,) injected me with the idea six years ago. It felt like an annoying prick on my head at the time, but the injection filled every fluid part of me, every gap between the cells inside my skin. Back then it felt as if he was drowning out my aesthetic. I'm told it takes seven years for all cells in a human body to be replaced by new ones, so the injection must has been taking effect, seeping into my every new cell, and my conversion is 6/7 complete.

(I still have the 1/7. Just last night I was reading the graphic design book, and this section had good and bad examples of page layouts. Alongside it reads: 
"Centered elements create passive white space, while asymmetrically-positioned elements create activated, dynamic white space... Passive white space is static. It looks motionless and 'left over.' It isn't used to guide or draw the reader into the design. Passive white space is hte chief offender in making documents ugly, if indeed, they are noticed at all."
Centered or left-justified, hands down my preferences were the most conservative, evenly-spaced passive pages. The eyes feel restful and comforted and I can concentrate on reading, rather than the eyes jumping all over and not taking in any one information.) 

It's also taken me six years to "study" Randy's work instead of being bulldozed by R&B's awesomeness and my adoration and admiration for the two. (Still feeling slightly miffed they didn't decide to adopt me and take me away at the end of the workshop.) It's only this month I felt comfortable enough to handle his scarf I bought to have a closer look. (Still feeling somewhat begrudged Megg, Ali and Jill for skipping the kowtowing and going straight into accurate analysis of elements in the piece. "Gosh, you guys don't know R&B like I do!!!!!" OK, not so much Jill, she knows them way better than I. And lest you wonder, I've only ever taken a five-day workshop with them, so I don't know them know them. Nothing scarier than a cyber stalker.) But where is the ceremony if one simply picks up a Randall Darwall and ... and... looks at it analytically?  How dare they???)

(Regaining composure, wiping tears from laughing at myself, and a little bit from the acute lack of awe by some.) Anyway, looking at the one which resides in my house and many others on the Internet I have the niggling sensation that I have begun to sense what Randy meant by "painterly" and various musical phrases. Yeah, I'm slow. But I don't mind that my 0,0 is a smidgen closer to what Randy taught us. And I think I am fulfilling what Randy suggested; I'm doing my own apprenticeship.

Where to after the exhibition? I wan to revisit exploring the visual elements of Log Cabin, Shadow and Corkscrew Weaves. I want to explore the tie-down part of the tied weaves. I'm now curious about designing with multi-layered weaves.

I want to use my colors. Pat burst out laughing whenever I say this, but Connie's recent "Shabby Journals" (which are anything but) gave me the push to return there. While I now see 50 colors are nicer than five, I want to explore more analogous combinations, and sheen/saturation contrast. I feel my way of using many colors so far has been just piling up hues, and though I think I'm more open to accidents than before, I also want to train my eyes/hands to use colors in a controlled, considered way.

I'm also sticking with Alison's design process because if I understand what is blocking my way into doing things her way, I sense it will aid me in developing designs further than I do. And this is important because I've come to feel my design process is rather naive and I'm itching to move a step forward.

OK, enough blathering. Back to threading. Thanks for letting me bend your ear and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Window Display

We install the exhibition a week from tomorrow. Page & Blackmore, the only independently-owned bookshop in Nelson, has kindly lent us window space to promote our exhibition. When I approached the window this evening, a man was looking carefully at the display, stepped back and read the poster, and I was very pleased.
Stella, in the floral dress in the above link, carefully chose not only the subject of the books but also the cover design and colors. Thank you so much, Stella and P&B.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Already End of Thursday

And I admit there have been more than a few heart-stopping moments this week, including a heavy beam falling on Ben's forehead and the back of my head simultaneously while I tried to wrangle a few more picks out of a warp. But the mistakes have been so stupid I will not admit to them under torture. Unless you serve me Long Island Iced Tea first.

The draft. Now I'm wondering about renaming this piece from "You've got My Back; I've Got Yours" to "Chin Wag", which is a term I learned in New Zealand from a woman born in Liverpool and raised in Australia.  Which name do you like better?
This is the pattern side; there is one warp end for the plain/inlay side for ever two pattern warps, which works better than 1:1. Since I'm weaving this on a table loom I needed a dead easy lift plan. 

This is the wet-finished Self-Portrait; it still needs to be affixed to a foam board roughly the size ofthe black line, and it's not as crooked as it appears in this photo. I must admit for something I whipped up in a few days, I am pleased with it. As you can see, I desperately needed a few picks of plain weave at the top.

Studying pictures of your buttons and my swatches, I felt the colors and color combinations in my swatches are too "specific" and the buttons would not have the "something for everyone" appeal. So I'm weaving a short length of simple twills on the Self-Portrait warp. I think buttons from this will be immediately identifiable as "related to that piece" in spite of the different structure, which is a bonus. (The Self-Portrait draft has floats of up to 11 ends so was not suitable for small buttons.) But I think I'll make a few gold-and-blue buttons for myself.
Postcards. I need your help. Please see below.

Or is it creativity, experience, or just common sense? Yesterday Maria had a photo shoot of her exhibition garments and I was envious of her imagination. I don't want a beautiful young woman, (or even a man,) sauntering in the woods with my pillars, but I have only three ideas for work photos: piece on loom, close-ups or installed-centered-symmetrical "Big Pictures". I've Googled gazillion textile and student exhibitions and catalogues in the last year months, but short of installing the pillars somewhere else, I came up with nothing new.

Which leads me to my conundrum and I hope you can help me. If you go to a textile exhibition and there are inexpensive postcards of the works, what kind do you prefer?  I think as mementos of an exhibition, I like pictures of whole works, unless the close-up is really attractive. Or do you have a so-out-of-the-box suggestion I'll have to go to the next zip code to execute? Also, would you buy "just interesting pictures", i.e. the colors or contrasts drastically altered from works you see in the exhibition, or only truer images? Please, please, leave comments/suggestions/experiences.

Other members of the group don't like postcards and are going for greeting cards with envelopes, but as some of you know I am so a postcard girl so I'm going solo on this one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Only on a Monday

Yesterday I discovered new ways to make weaving mistakes I had never known before, and I bet you don't know them because I've never read or seen them.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Catalogue Submission

We were supposed to send three photos and an artist statement to Jo today as her husband David is creating an exhibition catalogue for us. With 30 minutes to spare, I sent the following:
Usually I spend days photographing with mine and Ben's many cameras at different times of the day and parts of my house, but this time I don't have enough  pieces completed so it was a quick 15 minutes. I didn't have an opportunity to hang a pillar pillar properly so the top one was taken in my laundry again, the pillar folded in half and hung, me kneeling on the floor looking up. The second is one of the two samples of the Self-Portrait, third is the Self-Portrait in progress. Happily, that is now off the loom.

What's funny is the two projects are so different in scale, and yet in photos, you can't really tell. Bad planning, but I don't have time to worry about it.
If you are anywhere near Nelson during October, say somewhere in the Southeastern Hemisphere, please drop by.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Warp of Shame

That long painful howl you heard from the bottom of the planet today was moi.
Though for a much shorter period than usual, I did observe, arrange, and edit my warp colors over several days, during the day and at night, on sunny and cloudy days, with and without the lights on. So why did I have such a different picture in my head than what was right in front of me? I am speechless.
The irony is, if I set out to make a rainbow gradation warp, I doubt I would have come up with such a smooth transition.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Can I be a Tiny Bit Enraged?

Yesterday I woke up with the memory of rage, (that's the best description I can come up with,) and resolved to take whichever is the most pragmatic next step I can come up with. It was a result of spending several hours in the night stewing over the design "process".  As I said, I was stuck at the same place as 10 years ago, and it was evident I hadn't learned Alison's processes then or since.

Without getting into too much detail, because obviously I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing even though I understand the words in the instructions, the steps I am supposed to follow are: Research; Broad Concept Exploration Drawings; Specific Development Drawings; Technical Problem Solving and Sampling;  and finally produce a woven piece. Each step comes with instructions/suggestions of techniques/material so I can narrow down choices before moving to the next.

The distinction between Broad Concept and Specific is where I get confused, not in words, but in the doing. This could be an artificial distinction, as Alison had to give instructions and grade and feedback and she can't have everybody working willy-nilly.

What is evident is from all other art courses I've done since Round One with Alison, I've picked up a whole lot of techniques for exploration, but I continue to operate in the familiar swirly, roundabout way where I go back and forth using many/all techniques to explore multiple ideas in parallel, until, wham, a choice jumps out. This is how I always operated, but in Round One I got severely told off for my "scattergun" method. Whereas I always saw my way as trying out many/all permutations. But having observed other people's processes in these ten years, I also know I don't develop ideas as far as other artists do.  

Ronette's drawing classes forced me to be at ease, (that's the only way I can describe,) jumping into new ways without visualizing the outcome, so it's not fear that stops me. I think I'm more comfortable making choices at different points than prescribed by Alison, and after much scattergunning in the exploration. Waddyano? I'm not as linear a thinker as I had always thought to be. I contemplated emailing Alison in the hopes she'd set me straight but I didn't even know how to pose the questions. 

I congratulate myself for learning other people's processes and making them my own. I don't have many original ideas, and this realization made me feel like a Big Girl. On the other hand, the Convent School Girl wants to follow orders religiously, (ha!) and I'm forever hopeful other people's processes may take me to places I could not myself; it's like a design joyride.

The night before last, I wasn't sure why I was so angry, but I was, very much. Usually when I wake up in the middle of the night I can steer my thoughts to more practical design issues, or imagine flying or jumping on a trampoline, (yup,) and eventually go back to sleep, but that night I stewed and stewed and stewed.
Thank the Weaving Goddess it was the BG and not the CSG who woke up yesterday morning. I continued the process just enough so I can get to practical stages with Self-Portrait and Friends(hip). Last night's awake hours were spent visualizing and calculating making lists and today I can get in real work.

But I intend to revisit this block after the exhibition opens and see if Alison can shed light. And make something based on her process that is further developed than where I normally end up. Touch Wood.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


A while back I bought this postcard from Connie Rose. Like the last time I bought a postcard from her, I asked her not to put it in an envelope like a merchandise, but send it to me like a normal postcard. Well, it's been well over a month and either my postcard fell out of the plane somewhere between California and New Zealand, or a US/NZ postal worker helped themselves to a lovely gift. Connie offered me a chance to select another one, but I really wanted this, so I asked for a photo file instead.

That's the nature of what we make, isn't it? Sure, if you're concerned about the money you spend, an alternate piece may do, but if you invest feelings into a particular piece, when you make or when you buy, it's irreplaceable. So I'm very happy with the file and intend to test printing on different types of paper. (I have a small stash of Japanese postcards in different textures for printers.)

Connie's textile postcards are amazingly complex and stand repeated close inspection. I find new interesting bits every time I pick mine up.

I don't want to be a tease, so though I'll leave the details until later, this is the SSVE-like idea I have. Following Sampling's success, I haven't been able to stop thinking of a wee online exhibition of wee pieces - say, 10cm by 10cm - without utilitarian purpose but just lovely cute pieces to look at. Anyone game?

The thing is, I don't know what kind of a time frame I should go for. Since you can work on it at your own pace, do you think the Big Reveal is possible, say, January 1, 2013?? I find too long a lead time can decrease a project's won momentum; on the other hand some of us want enough time to think, sample, rethink and then execute, (and even change our minds?) December 1 felt a little too soon for me personally, and it's a busy season in very many faiths. Later in January felt a tad too far into the future. Plus, if you make your piece/s in Nov/Dec, you might like it so much you may make some more for cards or gifts.

Your input is very much appreciated.

My design process. Yesterday I got so frustrated, I put on my Big Girl pants and decided to do as I pleased. I'm combining methods prescribed in the course I did once, but I'm going back and forth like I usually do until I find myself land somewhere I'm comfortable.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It feels like winter is back in little old Nelson. There is fresh snow on the hills, icy (for Nelson, mind you,) blusters coming from that direction, and the temperature just doesn't get up in spite of the sun.

I got quite excited seeing this photo on Facebook this morning, thinking, even though I've never set out to weave anything ribby (though a couple came out slightly that way inclined) and have not experimented that much with woven shibori, the charcoal gray and the orange red bit can be recreated in wool quite easily. At least in my head. And because I love volcanoes, this is definitely going to go on my list. And because we don't need even-width warps for this, it might actually be a good way to practice spinning and to use it in the weft. But there are so many ways to work on it.

I've been good about sticking to Self-Portrait design work and not get too distracted. Though I am loosely following the instructions from Alison's correspondence course I took in 2002, and finding I dislike the same steps and don't understand the same things as I did in 2002-2005. (It took me three and a half years to finish a six-month course.) I don't know if this means I haven't learned anything, or if these are pointing to areas/factors I dislike. But no time to ponder.

I was stunned last night while I was watching the news that our exhibition opening starts in three-weeks-minus-40-minutes from that moment. (OK, the tense in this last sentence sounds weird.) I actually stopped breathing for a short while. Whatever. I must move forward.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Sometimes we know things, don't we?

I've been working on the Self-Portrait design, manipulating three potential base ideas. I feel I can work with any of these, but the minute I hit the right one, I knew I couldn't explain with words why this was the right one; I just wanted to find out more about this idea much more than the other two. So today I'm going to work further with this one.

Better World Books gave me a discount code, so I felt I should buy something because they do good work. I allowed myself US$10 for something that will be both interesting and might help me with my weaving. So I got this one, used. True, Amazon has used for 1 cent, but BWB ships free worldwide, so I think it's an excellent buy.

It appears it's one of those new books where pages are arranged like websites. Which I loathe. Sometimes I give up reading magazine articles when there are too many little windows my eyes have to jump around. (I feel there needs to be a preposition at the end of this last sentence, but I'm now sure what.) But it appears in this book there are tiny gems spread across the pages and I can flip open any, read a window, and learn something. Or enjoy. Or (dis)agree. So I'm looking forward to it.

Which also makes me less grumpy because the three books on 3D (two on textiles - Jackson, Dalgaard and Richards) have sat on my Wish Lists in/on (??) five online bookshops around the world while I waited for the prices to drop. A better idea is for me to wait a couple of years until they will pop up in the used market, which is about when I plan to be ready to read them. Ha ha; self-knowledge.

Oh, has anyone has or seen "Parallel Shadow Weave" by Elizabeth Lang and Erica Dakin Voolich? I've had this on my Wish List for several years based on the title and for the first time a used one popped up this morning, but I haven't been able to find out what's in it. I'm interested in anything shadow weave, but if anyone can help me get a sense of this book, I would very much appreciate it. Big thanks in advance.

Now, Firefox off, Discworld on, and more manipulation of last night's idea.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Close to first thing this morning, I was looking for a very small collection of fabric I've saved over the years - perhaps five in all - they are all tiny leftovers. While rummaging though the drawers in the dresser in the stash room, I found gazillion small projects or cutsy tools/materials for small projects. Gazillion. Plus I found some warp-end cottons I wove (as recently as... ummm... July?) I forgot about that I could use to make cloth-covered buttons if I want. To sell or give away at the exhibition. But I could not find the fabrics.

Spring has sprung and we have tiny yellow tulips right outside of the kitchen window. The flowers are not tiny, but they are extraordinarily short. Possibly because the bulbs are not planted deeply enough. This is one of the areas where birds keep digging and flicking bulbs all year around. I need to remedy that. The other area is full of friesias where nothing is coming out so far. In a weird twist, I planted early cheers so late they are only about 5cm tall. Flowering tulips and just sprouting EC's - only at Casa Nakagawa. If I took better care of our place, we do have tons of lovely flowers planted - they just have a hard time coming out and thriving amongst the vigorous weeds.

With less than three weeks before we install/hang/(I found another nice word on Saturday but can't remember) the exhibition, I should have no time to read/garden/cook dinner, which is probably why I keep thinking about those things all the time. But I have made arrangements to go back to Ronette's drawing class in October for one term. Next year I'll have to miss the first and possibly the second when I go home, but the prospect of returning to her class, and to more or less to my "normal" life, feels reassuring.

I feel a SSVE-type thing coming on. In fact, I've felt this for about six weeks but I'll tell you about it when I feel I deserve to have one more thing to look forward to. Hint: start thinking of very tiny "show" pieces. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Three Weeks from Tomorrow

"Friends(hip)" Practice/Sampling
I needed to make sure a double weave technique I read somewhere long time ago works, so I threaded a sample table loom.
I wanted to understand the mechanism and practice, so I chose a simple twill for the pattern side; the final piece will have a Self-Portrait-based draft. The inlay (I hope this is the correct term) side where your yarns  will create (a) colorful shape/s is in plain weave. Because I've never done inlay or tapestry-style weaving, I sampled with the plain weave side up, which works well because when I want the inlay yarns to show on the pattern side, I can lift the extra warp/s/shaft/s instead of pressing it/them down.

You get the picture. As it were.

What I learned:
  1. The two sets of warps most definitely need to go on different warp beams. This table loom has two warp beams but one is permanently occupied by a permanently unfinished cotton warp, so I'm saving a bunch of plastic one-litter milk jugs. However, the samples seem to do OK so far with all warps on one beam.
  2. The inlay-ed yarns in the sample are thrums, but the wool warp in four reds are is what I hope to use in the final piece. 
  3. Because your yarns come in such a variety of widths, for each pick on the inlay side I need to weave between one and five, perhaps six, picks on the pattern side. (The very think "ribbon" from Judy Nolan, the one that looks like a narrow strip of needlepoint canvas, I might cut into a narrower strip. Or not.)
  4. If the number of pattern-side picks vary, it's quicker to weave on a table loom rather than on the computer dobby loom. 
  5. In which case, I'd like to simplify the lifting a great deal, so even with an identical threading, the "picture" on the pattern side will be far more abstract than in the "Self-Portrait" piece, which is not a bad thing. 
  6. The lifting will probably be more or less regular, so the "picture" may have directionality. These can be tested on the computer in the first instance. 
  7. I learned how Pat finishes her tapestries. I will have to experiment a little, but I need to adopt a tapestry-like wet/moist finish technique for this piece.  
  8. This warp sett is 36EPI, 18 on each layer. The pattern side is probably good as is, but I'd like to sample the inlay side at a looser sett. 
  9. The inlay side need not be plain weave but something else, for example, a very simple twill. I wonder if this is worthwhile, since it also means sacrificing one or more shafts to the inlay side, but it also adds variety to the way the inaly-ed yarns appear on the pattern side.
  10. The inlay side: when I showed the group the sample, the consensus recommendation then was long/vertical rectangles. I think one or two rectangles in identical width would be nice as the final piece will be longer than it will be wide. Two rectangles will require a bit of fiddling, (currently being sampled on the loom and quite fiddly,) and again, I wonder if it is worthwhile.  
I need to concentrate on the "Self-Portrait" motif/design next as "Friends(hip)" will also be based on the same. At the same time, I need to practice weaving on this loom/warp some more.

"Self-Portrait" warp will be multi-colored 2/20 cotton, 42EPI, 12 inches wide. I'm making a regular 8 meter warp and make scarves or something else afterwards.(36EPI if I start to panic.)

"Pillars" warp is off the loom and I vacuumed the workshop this afternoon. The last memento piece for myself was shorter than I had hoped - about 1 meter of the design part plus a bit of plain weave at the top and bottom. I wasn't sure how much warp I had left, so the design is awkward and out of proportion, but it is small enough to go somewhere in my house.

"Merchandise":  I started to think of cloth-covered buttons after Cally's Open Studio posts. I'll think about it if I have time.

EDIT:  Point 9 is incorrect; using more than 2 shafts in the inlay side does not add variety to the appearance of your yarns on the pattern side since it's all about which pattern shaft/s I lift. Which, considering the time I have left, eliminates having to experiment this aspect. Grin.

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Pillars" Drafts

I finished weaving the last, fourth, pillar Tuesday afternoon, and though there is much more to do, I feel as though the October exhibition is finished for me. I've found it hard to muster enthusiasm this week.

Here are the drafts of the four pillars; as you can see, (or not as in the second and third drafts the bottoms are cut off.) A little over the bottom half are identical in all four; it is only the bottom of the top half that is very different. Draft lengths are modified to suit the suspected shrinkage difference of each weft constitution. (The drafts seem to appear clearer if you click on them.)
Pillar 1
Pillar 2
Pillar 3
Pillar 4

The regular gaps in the draft tell me I must insert the fishing line in the next pick. I've washed the first three; the fourth is still on the loom as I'm continuing to weave the remainder of the warp as a memento, (not that I'm expecting to sell the pillars at the exhibition, but since this last "sample" looks like it will be a tad short of 150cm long, I can hang it in look room!) 

I've been contemplating whether to keep the fishing lines in the pieces; each pillar has 19 in them, and the pressed pillars look pretty straight/true, but I don't know how they will distort being hung in a gallery for a month, and we've been having a lot of of rain and it may just continue. The real problem is I can't hang these at my house to experiment, but I haven't had the chance to take one/them to Pat's house because of the, um, rain. 

Though they are close to the paper model in size, as finished pieces they seem so small, and I wonder if four of these are going to make a descent display in the gallery. It's strange to want to see something for two and a half years and when it's done and kind of in front of me, I'm overwhelmed by the ho-hum-ness of the... result. We'll see how it goes in the gallery, eh. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I've about 500 picks to go on the Pillars for the exhibition, plus some warp left to weave something shorter to hang somewhere in my house, most probably the wee door in my studio. It feels good.

I try not to thinking about the look of our exhibition as a whole. We still can't tell, but we don't seem to have as many big works as I had hoped for. At the very least, I don't have the second, colorful something to hang from the upstairs office, under which visitors can walk. Once I prepared a bunch of links to interesting textile exhibitions and tried to bring the matter up but another member thought I "didn't trust" the others in the group to create works of integrity, and the discussion went south. The ferocity of her anger was so that I've been afraid to bring up the subject, and once we tried it, it was a softly-softly reminiscence on which exhibitions (in Nelson) looked nice or who (in Nelson) can hang exhibitions nicely, and we never delved into factors that might make a textile exhibition memorable.  Or drab/homey.

I don't know if you would describe this feeling as "worry". I can tell you the individual works will be interesting and well-crafted. And varied. I don't know how we're going to work out where things go, except I have first dibs on where the pillars go. And for some reason I always pictured in the far corner from the entrance of the big gallery, the dark corner, where special lighting can be effective. Except it's not as dark as I imagine in my head.
This is Mom being a proud Grandma last Sunday while Skyping; the cloth was designed by and partially woven by my 16.5 year old nephew. He and I didn't get along forever because I thought he was like an untamed animal and he didn't like me cracking the whip of discipline. And I was the only one. But shortly before he hit 14, he's become a rather nice young man, and all of my sister's sensitivity and her tendency to take interest in things began to manifest in him. I told him he's turning out "Super OK" when I was home in 2010, and he returned a shy, smirky "Whatever."

Recently he came and stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for two nights, an utterly rare thing, during which time he must have watch Grandma weave for the millionth time, and apparently the conversation moved on to moi. 

The grandkids have always watched Grandma weave, so they know roughly how things work, and they've all tried some kind of passing/throwing of the shuttle on her knees on whichever loom happened to be dressed on the day, but he took a special interest in the design process, so Grandma made him come up with a design, ("Based on the French flag," he declared,) explain how to make the warp based on his design, helped with the loom dressing, and explained sampling. After he started weaving, Nephew decided skinner white stripes between thicker blue and red stripes, rather than same width in blue, white, red, looked more interesting. Mom promised to weave a table-center-like cloth to go on a credenza-like piece by the window in Sister's living room.

He wove only about 15cm but it was a full afternoon-plus spent with Grandma concentrating on one task, and a meaning, fruitful, and memorable one for both. Mom finished the sample so in time for our Skype appointment. 

* * * * *

Finn told me that in the museum context, underwear are called "foundation garments". This instantly reminded me of corsets and the various "shaping" lingerie Mom and my aunts wore and compared, and never cease to recommend to me.  Finn and I also talked a little about looking good, looking appropriate to one's class/station in life, showing off wealth, and comfort. My mind keeps focusing on one issue, though: where and when did men have to modify body shapes to fit the aesthetic conventions as much as women? Outside tribal tattooing/scarring or encasing/hanging-from-the-neck of the male genitals, I can't think of any for men. So have women had to change our appearances to please elders and men more because we were often their properties? Has anyone read anything??

* * * * *

I've been thinking about good voodoo, and if there are any historical/anthropological precedences. You know, voodoo/magic/which craft have been employed to harm your enemies in the first instance, or to bring luck to oneself and one's group in case of white magic. I guess there are prayers,  but I wonder if there were ever voodoo where we wished someone great luck, possibly a specific good fortune, possibly from afar, and I wonder if I can weave/make them with textiles. (There are things folks do in Japan, like not drink tea until so-and-so accomplishes this-and-that, but this feels to me more like praying. It's most definitely like Lent.)

Any thoughts??

Saturday, September 1, 2012


No picture. And not a lot of content. But now that it's really September, I felt compelled to post.

I haven't done much; I've been feeling tired for no good reason, again, and coveting sugary, high energy foods. And wanting to read; imagine that!

I washed the third pillar yesterday; we're expecting rain at the start of the week and we have a meeting on Monday, so I wanted to get that out of the way. I lined up two photo shoots and interviews by the local papers, and secured the local independently-owned bookshop's window for one week to display and promote the exhibition at the end of the month, (during the most hectic month for them, no less.) Thank you, Page and Blackmore!

I've got the basis for the draft of the top half of the last pillar. The Profile/Bio is finally done, as are the Floor Talk bullet points. Re. blurb, the only thing left is some bullet points for someone else in the group to introduce me at the Opening. Unless I change my mind and want to revamp all the blurb. I've not worked on the Self-Portrait nor the Friends(hip) pieces; I want to get undone things done and forget about them first. By next weekend, I should be ready to move on.

Fingers, toes and arms crossed!   

And don't forget, if you're anywhere in Western Europe, Cally and Mum beckon!!