After the excitement of match-making this morning, I had to do something about the two-faced twill piece, so I finished weaving the first piece. Ugh.

I wanted to do something different, so I went in the direction of what I thought of as big, bold, and "graphic". It works in theory. If you get a few black/white pieces of 3.5cm square and place them on a white/black sheet 20.5cm wide, you could make some striking "pictures". And my squares can be seen from some distance, even though I used three light/medium blues in the weft and didn't create as much value contrast as black and white.

But they are 1/3 vs 3/1 twills. What you see from a mid-distance is the same as what you see close up. There are no surprises; there is nothing to discover later; and that makes it legitimately boring. Trust me on this.  So though I had a more interesting plan for the second piece, I might rethread tomorrow morning, based on basically the same idea, but with a little more close-up interest. I'm not comfortable weaving cashmere on the big loom, either. 

As regards my relationship with Santa Fe, I'm still courting them and I get nervous about what I weave. Better late than ugly, but my tardiness is getting a little ridiculous, so I'm nervous+ nowadays.

* * * * *

In preparing my envelopes for Weaver to Weaver, I found myself staring at crossword puzzles in a magazine. I thought to use them as a starting point for a tie-up or a lift plan sometime. Ben didn't get it, but I know you'd understand.

* * * * *

We've been having some stupid weather; big wind dying suddenly, blinding sun, sudden darkness followed by a shower, sometimes blinding sun and shower. It's making me silly, so the basement is the right place to be.
Fish scale cloud all over the sky around 3PM. We get clouds, we get this kind, but seldom all over like today.
Around 6PM. I've probably shown you these hills many times over the years, but again, it's not that often I can see the many ridge lines and gradation this like this.

Is the universe telling me to go achromatic or analogous?

Morning's Work

I've contacted everybody who signed up for Weaver to Weaver. If you have not heard from me, if your name didn't appear at the bottom of the original post. please let me know.

If/when you blog about assembling/receiving envelopes; do please remember I'm terribly curious, so tell me. If you don't blog but would like to show us, email me and I'll post it here.

Again, thank you, everybody, for your participation.


Wow! 37 weaverly love going through our various postal systems. Thank you for signing up to "Weaver to Weaver".


The Real Last Day

I'm sorry if I sounded grumpy yesterday but I've been in a "big" panic trying to track down many of you. (That's "Meg Big", so, like, OTT-hysterical-Drama-Queen to most of you.) In apology and appreciation for your patience, I'm extending the due time slightly; you can email me re. "Weaver to Weaver", if you like, until the end of Monday NZ Daylight Savings time, which is GMT+13hours, which is this time at a location near you.

To see how, or to check that I have received your email, please check the original post.

Strong wind has been blowing sporadically for the last three weeks, more or less continuously since Friday, and non-stop for about 24 hours so far, and it doesn't look like it's stopping any time soon. I don't have to feel guilty about not weeding, but that leaves me weaving the two-faced twiller I'm not excited about. For today, I am calling myself Dorothy.


Slow Saturday

I'm actually having so much more fun than I thought I would. No, wait, I expected to have exactly this much fun. And did you know it's Christmas Eve in a month?

Goodness, Weekend Again?

Hay fever this year has been bad. Common consensus is, normal medication doesn't work. It's been dry and windy most days. Sometimes my brain tells me I don't feed it enough oxygen. And yet, I'm not cutting out dairy nor coffee this year so perhaps it's a little self-inflicted. And I decided not to question why it is thus this year.
In spite of that, I've also been trying to garden some. I have a wee area I can show you  - I grew dahlias from seeds two summers ago and put the bulbs/tubular into the ground that autumn. They bloomed well last season, and I stuck the dried flower heads into the ground. I can't remember how many plants I had, so I don't know if the flower heads had many seeds in them, but I counted at least three new plants. I also bought two more packets to fill the gap. We'll see how it goes. Do you see what I mean by the dryness, though; the tomato-and-basil patch was drenched Thursday night. There are, suffice it to say, areas so bad if I were weeding, you wouldn't be able to see me. I've half a mind to photograph them now so after I've cleared the way I can show you before and after pics. Maybe not.
I have been weaving the first of the two-faced twill pieces, and not liking it one bit. It's boring, because it's just two-faced twill; you see the squares from a distance, but there's nothing to discover while wearing/handling it. I could have made the insides of the square more interesting. Used the blocks more intelligently. Something!  It's an expensive mistake.

Drawing was interesting. I'd forgotten how much I love willow charcoal - so gentle, so fickle, so organic. I took up post in the corner of the classroom hoping I might get a back view, as if I almost don't belong in class but am just looking in. I love this model but/and (un)fortunately she is so experienced there is never really a "back" view with her. Still, I didn't like the view I had, so did a little dance within my roughly-1-square-meter, and found this view.
If you're right handed, as I am, you're supposed to stand on the left of the easel; to get this view, I had to stand on the right of the easel, so I did most of the drawing with my left hand. So, I drew, rubbed, drew, erased, and on and on, and soon both my hands were covered in charcoal, and everything started blending. I couldn't completely erase any part, and I couldn't darken some parts any more. Which suited me fine because this model is shaped like a wood nymph/fairy, svelte but muscular, not big but shapely small muscles.

The front of her body was drenched in the midday sun. Normally Ronette recommends we put in dark background to highlight the... errr... light; I never liked that technique and I wasn't going to do it yesterday. I like the wood nymph evaporating into the light and all I could hear was the flutter of her wings.

I enjoyed drawing this. I couldn't step back to check the proportion; she's thinner and the leg/arm angle is wrong, but all things considered, I think it was accidentally beautifully blended.

The rest of the afternoon I ran errands and checked out stationary shops (or sections within bookshops as we no longer have an art supply shop unless we go to Richmond, 20 min away, inside a picture frame shop,) for ideas for Weaver to Weaver. I didn't need anything, but wanted ideas, different uses of tools and materials I already have, or color and textural combinations. Without going overly Christmassy or scrapbooky. (I'm not so anti-Christmas as I am totally-anti-commercialization of a religious holiday AND of organized religion. I prefer Thanksgiving or Japanese New Years of family, food, and hanging out.)

See, when I propose these... things, I don't have any idea what I'm going to do. This week I came up with one idea that needed... paint!  Me and paint, not a good combination. I now have three ideas and a couple of idea-seeds. I have a warm feeling of weavers' un-Christmas stockings!
Sign-up is due the end of Sunday your local time. I hope a few more of you join us.


Thanks, Insomnia. I think...

Last night was 2ish-5ish kind of a night, but unlike other insomnia nights, I wasn't as fully awake and I hoped I'd fall asleep soon; I even pretended to be asleep. To no avail. However, all was not lost as I came up with a simple but effective and not-my-usual idea for the next cashmere warp. And quick to thread!
It's simple, there is a lot of room for variations so the three scarves from the same warp can look a little different from each other without rethreading, and the twill will give the pieces a lovely airy hand. But wait. Shafts in this draft are divided into Block A-outside, Block A-inside, Block B-outside and Block B-inside. Because the warp colors change, swapping the appearance of the twill within the block doesn't produce an attractive look. (See the tiny bit at the bottom?) So why not keep the outside uniform across the width of the cloth, and give each inside separate maneuverability?
Now I've given four shafts each to Outside, Inside/oranges, Inside/purples, and Inside/greens. I get more flexibility, and if I flip the appearance of the twills, the outside throughout the width of the cloth will have a uniform look so that is an a option, too.


* * * * *

At the top of Alison's design course instructions circa 2002, she wrote we shouldn't design based on what we've got in the stash. Being a novice back then, I was game for anything, but I was mindful Alison, then, was known as a rug weaver, I thought it's easier to make pictures on rugs than on cloth as my understanding of rugs was "tapestries with giant pixels."  

Often I hear wood-/stone-carvers/sculptors claim their design/work is inherent in the material and their job is to chisel away, well, the negative space until the work shows itself. Is this akin to "My Yarns Decide" school of design in weaving?  

I haven't figured out how I can translate my "design process" results onto my loom. That said, I have a set of tools I use when designing sometimes; other times, I pick and match material, (fiber, size, sheen, color,)  draft, size/sett/pick, and purpose. It's not an either/or but more/less weight/time spent with the tools. How I design depends on time allowed, material on hand, purpose of the piece, price if any, the client if it is a commission, and my taste/mood.

If projects don't progress smoothly, often on Insomnia nights I make decisions based on gut feelings, and these usually work. It's as if components of the projects are already in my head and my subconscious takes charge. I used to think this was cheating and I've examined my choices and changed bits, but some of these ended up being Big Disasters. I sample to see if my gut-felt decisions are the best, but I'm less skeptical of this method.

And then there are times, in those moments between sleep and wakefulness, I see what I have to make and work recreate that picture. I sample to see what option is closest to the mind picture and if I can improve on it, but I bypass a lot of grunt work. Sometimes I feel this is Big Cheating, but heck, it's my mind-picture, it's mine to use.

I'm not sure where I stand on the spectrum of Thinking-led/Yarn-led designer. Or is it a triangle with the third being Inspired? How do you design your work?


Design Elements/Components/Bits/Parts

Not having much luck in designing 3-horizontal-block drafts for the cashmere warp, (although I'm pleased to report I picked up a great habit of winding a warp immediately after finishing the previous and vacuuming the loom/basement...)
I've been trying to figure out where I go astray in Alison's design process so she can solve my problem when I ring/call her. It's taken me a while to learn that if I knew it, I may be able to solve it on my own. Doh! So then I started retracing every step I made this time around. Which has been slow because I have a 4.5cm high pile of papers, and now I must remember which ones were significant and which were not two and three months ago, and why. When I can't remember if I had breakfast this morning, let alone what!

Anyhoo, I came across an index card I used as a bookmark when I did Alison's course the first time in 2002. I had scribbled, with a hard pencil, in my typically illegible handwriting:

Elements of Design • Line • Shape • Tone (light/shade) • Texture • Color
Principles of Design • Repetition • Rhythm • Proportion • Balance • Emphasis

I've also been dipping into the graphic design book. They, like us, have a language of their own which is difficult, and funny, to wade though, but last night I came across this:

The Seven Design Components:
• Unity - proximity, similarity, repetition, theme with variations
• Gestalt - figure/ground, closure, continuation
• Space
• Dominance
• Hierarchy
• Balance - symmetry/asymmetry/overall balance
• Color

This book's main focus is designing books and magazines, and a quarter of the book is given to typeface, something I always thought I'm interested in, but it turns out, not. But I am enjoying the bits about negative space, (something I don't see easily); finding out my prejudices, (there was a lovely line about asymmetry which, when I find it, I'll add here; it was an eye-opener;) and that my preference is for the old/static/calm/stale/bad designs. Amen! Didn't I tell you I have a strong affinity with your grandmother's curtains? I wonder if what I read will start to show up in my drawing.

Do you have design-related lists like these? Share!

EDIT: Here it is: "Asymmetrical balance does not look the same on both sides, but the dissimilar halves are in a state of equal tension..."


"Weaver to Weaver"

Can we please pencil in either an SSVE or something like it sometime in the first half of next year? And tell me which you prefer?

Today I have another idea that's hopefully very low stress but fun: a friendly hello from one weaver to another.

1) Collect small free or inexpensive items that inspire you as a weaver, that show something of your weaverly thinking/feeling, or something achingly lovely. Put a few in a "normal sized" envelope; I'm thinking a medium Christmas card size, or "business" size roughly one-third of an A4 or Letter size sheet.

2) Email me how many envelopes you've got by the end of your day, Sunday, November 25, 2012 Monday, November 26 NZ time, which is this time around the world. Let's say, between one and three envelope/s per weaver.

3) Include in that email also your name and physical address and your or another blog or Flickr URL or somewhere else people can find out more about you and your work. If you haven't got any, that's not a problem.

4) On Monday, November 26, Tuesday, I'll match you up with an/other weaver/s and send you their contact detail. You guessed it, if you have three envelopes to send, you'll hear from three weavers, too.

5) Send your envelope/s to your partner/s on or before Monday, December 31, 2012. That's any time from Nov 26 to Dec 31. For overseas mail, use Air Mail.   

6) Sit, wait, and enjoy.  When you receive your envelope, make yourself a hot/cold cup/glass of something and sit in your favorite chair. Tell us about it if you like.

You might prefer to do 2) and 3) first so you will hear from me re. 4), find out about your partner/s, then collect/assemble. You may also want to check the Air Mail postage before you start.

You might want to write a short letter. Or not. You might include a tiny drawing, a photograph, a sample swatch, a bundle of thrums, or something else entirely. If mailing overseas, be careful of plant matters as some countries are very strict about what comes into the country.

What I have in mind is a friendly hello from one weaver to another, celebrating the end of one year and wishing a lovely colorful new one, in a tangible way. Who knows, your partner/s may become your weaving buddy/ies in 2013. But please don't overthink it; you are supposed to enjoy it.  

Is anyone game? Is this still too much for this time of the year? It's something you could do in the next 10 days if you like, or after the holiday rush whichever holiday you celebrate. Not a weaver? Not a problem, though you might receive uniquely weaverly love. But who minds that!?

If you're in, please email me, not comment on this post, with: 
Number of envelopes between 1 and 3,
Your name and postal address,
Your URL.

EDIT: Alicja brought up the point of English being the main language of communication. It is, in so far as you need to understand the guidelines and be able to communicate with me. But it's not required in the actual exchange/contents of the envelope. In fact, weaverly love may become more intense without words. So she writes, in English. If you know of compatriots who may have difficulty with English, please have them contact me anyway, or offer to help them if you have time? I know Japanese and English, and can manage with electronic help some of the major European languages.

EDIT: Final list reads: Alicja T (3), Jane Dallaway (2), Cally B (2), Julie B (3), Heather W (2), Jane Deane (2), Holly H (2), Kaz M (2), Ela R-G (2), Helen R (3), Heidi P (3), Jo M (3), Janet S (1), Dianne D (1), Terri B (1), Noor I (2). And me (3).  

EDIT: If you post about envelopes you prepared or received, please send me a link. If you don't blog, you can send me some pics and comments/thoughts.
Meg, Ela, Meg, Jane, Cally, Jane , Kaz, Cally, Alicja, Jane, Meg, Heather, Julie, Ela, Dianne, Alicja, Alicja, Kaz.


Friday, Fabulous Friday

I went to the PO first thing yesterday morning. I got the lovely, ex-Catholic School Paul. (We swapped stories before.) We discussed the prices, speed and insurance for the parcel to Santa Fe. I filled in the Customs form and I wrote an expected ball park figure of retail price as the value of the goods. Then he asked if these are "art or craft?" Huh? "Paul, we can talk about it for the next 30 years and we won't come to a conclusion." "But you can wear these, so they are craft?" "You can't buy my stuff for craft prices.) I didn't want to cause a scene, but where did this come from? "If these get lost can you replace them? "No, don't want to make the same things and haven't got one kind of yarn any more." "Hummm...." Yeah, hummmm yourself, mate. "The thing is, if the contents are irreplaceable, I cant' insure them." "Oh, gotcha. No, they are definitely craft. Craft is fine. Thanks, Paul. Craft is fine."

Also, a question I had last time but I forgot to ask you; what determines the country of origin for handmade work? Once I was told that with yarns, the country in which the yarns were dyed are the origin. Is that true? If you buy fibers "made" in a country other than yours, but you made the artwork, do we talk about the material or the artwork? How do you fill your forms?

And the value; if you are sending your stuff to a gallery who is going to add the markup to sell your work, is the value what I can expect to get paid, or the expected retail value?

Class. It wasn't much of a collage session for me. I just couldn't get into it. Ronette said to think of negative space, too. I did. I did a bit of déformé , too, to entertain myself. In the left, I exaggerated his arms and make them Popeye-like. In the right, the feet were farther apart but since I ran out of space, I made one much higher than the other, which made the whole thing so out of kilter. I made the feet first, but got a bit confused when I added the pant lets in collage. It would have made more sense to make them using negative space, too, but that's the way the cookies crumbled.

Then I fidgeted and drew with smelly felt-tip pens for the rest of the time and got a little high on the fume.  I was so tired from a week of intensive work Ronette drove me home after lunch. I was going to make drafts for the cashmere warp, but collapsed on the living room floor and slept for three hours.

I hope I have better luck this weekend. And it's raining. Yay! Lovely!!  


Labeled and Tagged

I thought, for the amount of work alternating wefts takes, this doesn't look so wonderful, but the colors worked well. I like colors with a lot of blue in them. I used three purples in the weft.
I simplified the color alteration, made the weaving much faster, and the effect is greater. There are five oranges in the weft. 
B-side of this cloth looks as if it's been Shikoku-stitched. I love the look of my very old, blue towel in the background.

These are coarsest cloth I've ever made, compared even to old coarse wool. However, Pat thought some people would like this texture/drape. The shimmering interplay of colors are great. I thought these would make great bag fabric, to which Pat said, "I don't like cloth bags." Ah, well, to each her own.

45 days and only four pieces completed. I feel so frustrated, but at least I can post four pieces to Santa Fe tomorrow morning. The next, cashmere, warp is already wound. I need to make up some drafts next.


American Craft has had a new episode online all week. The website says the air date is November 16, so we probably have to wait until the weekend to view, but the title is "Crossroads" and, "This episode explores the intersections of craft, culture, and technology." Should be fascinating.

And how about handmade umbrellas and parasols from Paris

I'm fringing furiously and throughly bored of the task.



We were supposed to have had a partial eclipse this morning about an hour ago. I wasn't prepared, but we had a perfect weather for it, so I rummaged around the house to see if I can find something to view through. (Is that even English??)
I first used a blue glass decanter and found the lights distorted too much. Next I put some red wine in a cheap square vinegar bottle. By this time there was a substantial dent in the circle, but you'd never guess, would you?
Second try: I did not look directly but tried to shoot it directly. By this time there was a substantial bit missing from the circle. Honest.
Third try: I switched to a tiny bottle of Sambuca flavoring in a much better-quality bottle than the vinegar. The sun appeared to be missing about 1/4 of its usual circle, not the camera wanted to cooperate. In NZ, the most you could see was 89% missing, the radio said.
I put some distance between the Sambuca bottle and the camera. And now I do see a resemblance of an eclipse!

I listened to the birds for about an hour, if they would indicate that something is up. It felt as if they were particularly noisy just before, but I'm not sure if it had anything to do with the eclipse. I couldn't tell if it was noticeably darker, and it's been a cool morning anyway, so if I didn't hear on the radio that we had an eclipse, I get the feeling I wouldn't have known about it. I don't know if it is I who am so divorced from the potential mysteries of life, or we as species make those things up. But I'm glad I tried to experience this one. 

* * * * * 

Since the day after we hung the exhibition a lifetime ago, I've worked fairly consistently, and yet only if I'm lucky I'll finish weaving only the fourth piece this afternoon. That's a whopping 45 days for four medium-sized scarves. And the house is a mess and the garden, well, we won't go there. I haven't done much else besides go to figure drawing class four times. And I'm thinking of nothing else but work I need to get done before I go to Japan in Feb. The saddest thing is, I've been working consistently, so this must be my break neck speed. It's a turtle's neck; maybe I need to wear those less often.

I could weave faster if I didn't use multiple wefts, true, but then I'm weaving an unprecedented four-in-a-row using drafts from Handweaving.net, so the delay from multiple wefts is made up by the usual long-drawn draft editing. I could use fibers and sizes that's faster to weave and the next warp is cashmere at 16EPI, PPI not much more than that. But I need a few three-block drafts I'll make. 

I can't weave for very long at one stretch. With the color-swapping, my attention span needs time to settle at the start and then runs out after a couple of hours and I start to make mistakes. Even with one weft, I have to leave the bench after about that long so I don't incite prolonged damage on my arms. So, a little bit at a time and every day is all I can do. 

And this has been so frustrating! I hate getting older. Or dumber. Or something-er.


On Marketing

I adore websites and blogs that don't blather but show the works and the artists at their best, the kind that have separate tabs for CV, exhibitions and awards, gallery, that, printed, can be submitted straight away as grant applications. I imagine those artists look and embody their artwork, be they in colorful clothes, inhabiting minimalist interiors or traditionally-elegant garden. The opposite of me. 

The first website I had from 06 to about 09 was elegant, if I may say so myself. Ben and I worked hard on it. I started this and the Japanese blogs to augment the news section of that website. But I learned I enjoy blogging and the blogs became something else, and I wouldn't be surprised if I became someone else.

With this third incarnation, everything merged here, and separate websites disappeared. And I guess that's who I am, where I am, now. I'm more interested in making contents, (cloth!!) than presentation. For now, I've got my Big Girl Pants on and stopped worrying about "having" to have a "presentable/marketable" online presence. That is all.


In that, once in a great while, I am satisfied with what happens on my loom as I weave. In this instance, a measured one, but I am happy with the colors I chose and how they are appearing. 
On my screen, D looks pretty accurate, but I think A is pinker and B redder. C and E are dark in value and would have looked lovely next to each other, but I didn't want a flat-looking cloth, so I inserted the whiter D, and I'm glad I did it. I had to label the paper bobbins because under florescent light telling the difference can be hard. I also think the draft, Handweaving.net's #   modified, suits the color arrangement. Or is it the other way around?

I know that color is the first thing I noticed about textiles, and when I select yarns, I concentrate on the hue; intensity and values are more subconscious, or as afterthoughts, as a way of justifying or understanding my decisions. I don't like facile gradations, (therefore, my problem with Warp of Shame,) and likewise the gradation in this piece's wefts pleases me only as a step. But I am happy that I went against my usual tendency and made a place for D, and I hope I'm a step closer to understanding using values and intensity in making interesting cloths. 
But just so you know I'm not completely, uncharacteristically, happy, the B-side of this cloth is not interesting, right selvedge is wreck, and it's still that coarse warp so the hand will be more suitable for an exfoliating cloth.
But I must be happier because the first piece, in spite of being in more "my" colors with three purples in the weft, I couldn't be bothered shooting. The colors shimmer, but I feel it's more predictable. Maybe not.

My mom is struggling with colors; that's been the topic of our weekly Skype sessions for a few weeks. But let me tell you, Mama, it's like anything else; the more you try different things, it most definitely gets easier. Remember when I owned only navy blue wool yarns? One way of looking at it is to try and make the ugliest thing you can ever make and see how not ugly it turns out.



Ronette said, "Collage!", so I did. Joanna's unfinished mechanical legs, seated.
I don't get collage, eh. I get glue on the wrong side of the paper, hands, face, clothes, and sometimes hair, and yet the pieces don't stay stuck and sometimes end up on my person. I thought I'd work mostly with analogous value variations and build up to create shapes but while trying this approach I realized I had to see/know the shapes and be dexterous enough to tear in approximately those shapes. Then glue.

But it was a small light-bulb day. You know how "they" say practicing art makes you look at the world differently; well, I had never understood it; it hadn't happened to me; I don't see things differently. Today it occurred to me that the shape of highlight on Joanna's right shoulder to upper arm looked familiar; I know that fan shape; it features a lot when I build shapes with light and shade. It took me three+ years, but still a small yay!

I also noticed something in relation to what Annabelle said last week: over the years I have developed a "physical" understanding of sizes relating to body parts. When drawing, my preference has been the A1 size paper; it's as if my subconscious (??) understanding of human figures has developed in that size frame (or slightly bigger), and my eye/hand automatically want to create figures that fit in that size. The above piece is A2 and if I had continued upwards, I would not have had her torso let alone her heed/face. But the first piece I worked on, on A3, is so disproportionate and weird.

* * * * * 

I'm not participating this year but Marlborough's "Weave It, Felt It" is on again this weekend, and when I was sent electronic posters I was shocked.
This is Poster 2. The scarf at top left I wove way back; it and three others were shown in a gallery on Waiheke Island near Auckland, and then in WIFI. Then in March 2011 I donated it to Handmade for Christchurch, an online fund-raising event after the second, big quake there. An old colleague from my previous incarnation bid on it but it got lost in transit. There was a bit of toing and froing between the organizers, the bidder and me, and the bidder was justifiably annoyed. The upshot of this is an approximate recreation of the piece on my To Do list since pre-Pillars days.

Last night I wondered if it mysteriously resurfaced and found a place in this year's WIFI, but no, Rose just dug up pictures form the past for the poster.

* * * * *

A weaver told me to check a gallery because another weaver had copied my colors. Now, you know me to go all huffy and puffy when photos get pinched online. Strangely I don't get bothered when work is, well, similar. It goes back to my thinking that there's very little new in weaving. I don't know if/how/when I copy others; I don't do it consciously but impressions of lovely textiles do stay with me so I can't say I never do subconsciously. But now, my "thing" is changing constantly I'm not sure if there is "my" thing. 

* * * * *

I wouldn't wear these socks, I don't think; I like socks to be in one color, but I love the geometric designs and the colors; some combinations are so out of the left field for me it's almost refreshing.

* * * * *

I think (hope) I'm done with cosmetic changes to the blogs/websites. Next is content; I like tidying/cleaning, but I am not a woman of few words, and, oh, boy, there are a lot of posts and links to check.

Happy weekend, everybody.


Weird Week

Because Ben hadn't taken enough leave this year, he had planned to have this week off and we looked forward to a little downtime, gardening, walking, café-ing, perhaps the Italian Cinema Fest in town. But until yesterday, Day 9 of his strange cold/sinus problem, he was a zombie. Now that he's on the mend, I'm a bit crook. The weather has been lovely for the aforementioned activities, but all we've done have been to get a car warranted, (a semi-annual requirement); Ben went to see a doc and got a script for antibiotics which he probably won't need; and butcher-, veg- and fish-shopping. It's already midday Wednesday. What bothers me is I can't tell if mine is a cold or a weird/new bad hay fever.

I have been weaving a little, on the strange hot pink cotton in the previous post, sett unchanged. I'm using smaller geometric drafts downloaded from Handweaving.net, the first piece being the two-triangles-making-diamonds in the middle, the second probably the first/far right, which looks totally different on the two sides and which I turned sideways.  I love the drafts with long floats, but this thread feels so coarse when allowed to float, so I the finer drafts work better. I love the ropy draft third from the right, but its B-side is muddled and unattractive in this thread combination, so no go this time.

I've been thinking about complicated drafts and blocks again for the next cashmere warp, and bang, have a look at this by Zeni; so beautiful, so subtle, so sophisticated, so attractive, utterly desirable because of its deceptive simplicity. Friends who know me in person laugh when I say my first preference is achromatic/analogous; it's true I do weave a lot of colorful stuff because that's what sells around here and what the galleries request. After I clear my backlog, though, I am hoping for a color strike, a bit of a analogous blitz.

I'm continuing to simplify my online life; I've been working on this and my Japanese blogs; there will be some cosmetic changes as I learn to navigate the new Blogger editor, but nothing fundamental. I apologize in advance if the process gets bumpy for you.

OK, pics.
I'm enjoying taking pics for a change; I'm using Ben's old Canon G3 circa 2002.

EDIT: We came to New Zealand to live 18 years ago today. Forgot about that while flipping from one website to another all day chasing the election results.


Days Leading up to Fridays

First off, I know Blogger gets naughty from time to time disallowing comments, but Michelle says Unravelling said she has no "permission to leave comment." Has anyone else seen this? My relationship with Blogger's "new" editor remains tenuous but I haven't changed settings in a year or two or three and have never blocked anybody. So this one was totally from the left field and I'm not sure what to do. Know anything?

I got two Santa Fe-bound pieces off of Warp of Shame. I like these and, while fringing, thought these were "well-crafted", but while pressing I changed my mind again. It's the usual thing; they are technically wonky. At least they both have that scintillating color/sheen thing.
Next is an iffy project; the warp is a strange cotton. Look at the label; it's 3 sets of 3 sets of 60/2; wiry, kinky, stiff and hard, in hot pink. It may suit bags and possibly jackets, but I can't think of suitable usage within my short list of things-I-make, (i.e. scarves, shawls, and tea towels.) It's almost an unfriendly yarn. And yet I put it on the loom and sampled because I love the color and the size in contrast to 20/2s. I'm not sure if it would work as a scarf, other than, say, splashes of color to go with a rain or trench coat; you get the gist. I sleyed at 36EPI but may resley at 30.
Santa Fe wants colors from me, so naturally I keep thinking of cottons, but Pat said to send wool as northern winter approaches and I may be categorized as a New Zealand weaver. Truth is, I don't have the good merino in colors so I turned to my cashmeres. I made one warp using from Indigo to blue-red, but I don't like it so I'm putting it on hold and make another, possibly in greens, purples and pinky oranges.
But... no gardening; it's been a bad year for hay fever, and yet our place could so use some TLC. Ben has next week off, so perhaps, perhaps.


Yesterday Ronette continued to make us work on gesture drawings in 30 seconds and 1 minute; I prefer 5 and 10 seconds for these and get bored. It so happened that yesterday's model is also a friend of mine, and I tried different kinds of lines, mainly to fill the alloted duration. The curly lines, to me, symbolized her speaking voice, the side of her personality she shows me, as well as our sometimes tenuous friendship. She's a good model. I'm also learning how to draw with the eraser more.
Anabelle ran out of paper and taped an A3 sheet on the bottom of a A2 sheet, allowing room for a long drawing. She said because we use the A-shaped papers all the time, she automatically/mentally frames the figures in that proportion. I don't think much when I draw; I just don't like heads and feet so when I've no room it's a bonus, though after intensive head and face study during Term I, I find I include them more often than I did in the first three years. My drawings are, in my fourth year, still mediocre to WTH at best, but I don't even "hope to do better one day," because it's being there and doing it that gives me the most pleasure.

Next week we're going to collage figures. Pat P said she doesn't like collages because it's out of her comfort zone. I don't like collages because my glue proficiency stopped at Age 4 so all my stuff end up sticky and wrinkly and horrible, as do my hands, clothes and sometimes face and hair, but not because it's outside my comfort zone. Come to think of it, nothing I do in Ronette's class is outside of my comfort zone; either I don't have a comfort zone any more, or more likely being in the Friday morning class is my comfort zone. I'm game for anything she instructs us to do on the one hand, and can ignore anything I don't understand or don't feel like trying on the day. I feel detached because I'm busy being in the moment if that makes sense. 

I'm a weaver and my bad drawings don't threaten me, though for many in class painting and drawing are their primary methods of expression and self-criticism often get in their way. I understand because this is what happens with my weaving, and it's a valuable lesson to observe their self-flagellations, but much more fun to celebrate their successes especially when they/I can spot what worked.   

Anabelle, Sam, Catherine and I might have a small exhibition in 2014.