Last night, members of Strands and some husbands/partners met for a lovely Indian dinner in town, and we decided to meet on Wednesday for debriefing. So I'm thinking about what I got out of the Strands/Beginnings experience.
As usual, my weakness is technique. If I can weave better technically, I could spend more time and brainjuice on ideas, concepts and desgin and such. But, oh, it was lovely to weave not colorful things but muted and nuanced Pillars. That is my old 0,0.
As regards design, I came across this definition while drafting an earlier post; "linearity, 5. Compare painterly designating a style in the arts, esp painting, that obtains its effects through line rather than colour or light and in which the edges of forms and planes are sharply defined."
This made a light bulb go on. Six years ago, Randy repeatedly said to make the color changes painterly; he also used many music terms, which I didn't know, and the impression I got from Randy's repeated instructions was, "not how you usually do it." The above definition, and six more years of weaving, make better sense to me in a passive way; I understand the words, and I may be able to look at artworks and point out what's happening, but I'm still not sure how to use this as an active knowledge.
And speaking of using knowledge actively, I'm going to bother Alison to see whether she can shed light on where/why I get stuck at the same place every time while following her process, once her joint exhibition with Dianne settles. I believe understanding it will give me alternatives in designing, even if it may not be my preferred method. But who knows; I'm always changing my mind about things.
The Strands member to go through the most marked change was Pat in my view. Her tapestry style used to be clear and crisp, represented here at the far left, but sometimes even more stark. Her new "River Walk", far right, is a great departure for Pat, in the finished piece and in the design process. I love the nuanced lines and the contrasts of big and small color areas; it is as though her spirit was freed and I still hear her sigh of relief. Click on the picture to see the tiny shapes on the sides of the river; that, to me, represents what's new about Pat's making. It's wonderful she can do both styles, and no doubt in-between ones now, but having said that, my preference is still for her cleaner pieces. And I know I don't have to apologize for my taste. I'll need to ask her to let me photograph some and show you some time.
I didn't observe any change in the way I worked, I still prefer to make what I see in my head and bring it into my world. It's time-consuming, requires many revisions, but in the end pretty straight forward. Sometimes I enjoyed the powwow about ways of exploring ideas, sometime not. My allegiance is still to loom- and cloth-weaving, and makers engaged in more "free-hand" techniques just don't comprehend the restrictions, and the subsequent joy, of our grids. Often Pat and I would have to reflect on how another member's suggestion would translate to my kind of weaving.
The people/group-dynamics was, ahem, difficult. I wasted a lot of time regurgitating conversations and chewing on Rescue Remedy pastilles. It was roller coaster ride, some meetings leaving me on an unimaginable high, some wanting me to leave the room and curl into a fetal position. I am a person who requires a lot of time and effort quietening voices in my head at best of times, and my honest feeling is, A) I don't need the interruptions, B) I'll gladly forego the highs for stability, and D) oh, but I might miss out on some spectacular joy.
So, I guess that's where I'm at for now.
EDIT: I'm not saying Strands members are particularly difficult people; I have too little experience working in an intimate group, but they are all good people, and I'm probably the most opinionated.