Physical movement at different stages of weaving often prompts me to think about weaving and other things. Maybe it's like walking, for me. You might have read some of these on MegWeaves Facebook page, because I've come to use it as a repository of thoughts.
Art vs Craft:
Throughout May/June/July, I felt ever so guilty/uncomfortable not spending time designing each piece and taking things easy on the 4-shaft. So much so I started questioning what kind of a weaver I want to be, if something had changed, (as in, if I entered the "retired weaver" phase,) but most earnestly, if I was cheating prospective wearers of my pieces. It was a weaver identity crisis, so I started incorporating elements to my liking, (color, pattern,) instead of just weaving technically OK pieces with good quality yearns.
One day as I was washing breakfast dishes, I had a moment of clarity on where I place design on the art vs craft spectrum. It's not a universal explanation, but me understanding how I understand what/how I do, (and possibly extrapolate when I view others' work.)
Weaving requires a lot of technical/procedural planning, and my goal for many intended-as-art pieces is to actually realize/make them, rather than just kicking ideas in my head as an end. So, although I start with "conceptual" ideas of what I want to express/signify, I brainstorm with myself "the process" from rather early stages; the more projects of this kind I work on, the earlier I seem to start.
Years ago, after spending time thinking about concepts, I often "saw" how the pieces should look, (usually as I woke up,) leaving me to break down how to go about making them. I don't "see" pieces often these days, and proportionately more time is spent considering/sampling alternative techniques/materials, which leads me to think I spend more time "designing", at the craft end.
That's OK, because my ultimate goal of weaving is to weave pieces that satisfy me in some way; be they colors, drafts/patterns, texture/hand, and on the odd occasion, nice selvedges. But if I were to submit a woven piece as "art" into an exhibition, (less often, but I still think about it,) I need to rethink my process. And I have no idea how or where to begin. And that's OK, too, for now.
I've been thinking about the color blue, about how much I don't think about blues. Blue was my first and unconditional love, and is still among my favorites. Yellows, whites, and grays I've added subsequently, although I define them more narrowly.
After ten years in Nelson and in this house with superb sunsets, I could not help but like orange, which for most of my life was my most loathed color. (My high school colors were orange and blue, and oh, how hated that.) Now I can't get enough, from pale blue-y kind all the way to dirty brown-ish.
I know it's about the light and environment. Nuanced/murky Japanese colors and combinations are beautiful there, but muddy and uncommitted here. With climate change, some Japanese colors, ever so closely tied to the seasons, the weather, and particularly with flora, have lost their appeal even while in Japan for me. I also remember being astounded to witness gold and orange-red being a most beautiful combination in the desert-like Beijing, or loving the masses of pale gray-blue-green of eucalyptus in Australia.
On the whole, I am not a fan of greens and browns, so over the years I've studied them more carefully. I experiment, not in the least because they are what's left at the end of my paint/felt tip/coloring pencil sets. And be they just for fleeting moments, I can be surprised by the beauty of combinations with each other or in unexpected pairs/groupings. In contrast, with blues, I think I know them, so I haven't studied them, and get caught out using/combining them artlessly.
Mom sometimes use the phrase, "falling back on blue," (more exact translation being, "escaping to",) as if it's a bad thing. I don't know if she made it up, (happens all the time,) if she was pointing to how I work, or if it indicates a Japanese penchant to fall back on indigo when all else fails.
In Japanese culture, indigo and blue are distinct colors, although sometimes indigo is included in the greater blue family, a family spanning from where blue/purple ends, all the way to just before green turns yellow-green. Ish. There's an old Chinese saying, "Blue comes out of Indigo, but is Bluer than Indigo." I don't know Chinese, but in Japanese blue is "ao" [ao] and indigo is "ai" [ai] so it's a little like a tongue-twister. It means a child/student/thing's ability/quality exceeds that of their parent/teacher/predecessor.
Anyhoo, I always felt mighty insulted when she said it, as if I'm taking the easy way out, bordering on bad taste. On the other hand, one of Mom's weaving students insisted instinctive use of colors works the best, (she meant, "it's the only way to go,") to which I rebutted, "if you know why those colors/combinations work or please you, all the better." I think it's time to take my own advice.
How I look at Weaving Books:
While looking at Davison recently, I noticed I pay far more attention to the right-side, odd-numbered pages. And I mean, considerably longer and far more carefully. In future, I shall turn weaving draft books upside down and see if I find something new; at least I can double draft options instantly.
While speaking with a couple of super well-read friends, I realized in the last decade or so, I've become less of an art aficionado and more focused on society, its time and place, which I sometimes think as "history".
I've always been a fan of biographies, especially artists/composers/writers, even if not (at all) of their artwork, because I'm interested in people. Case in point, it took me a decade after I started reading van Gogh biographies to start looking at his paintings without being repulsed.
To me, good biographies include not just the person/family/relationships, dates, places and numbers, and their artwork; but also their environment: their friends, colleagues and influences, circumstances of their association, relationships; what they read if they read; art and other fashion of the times; new (scientific) discoveries; what was happening in their community, its history; and politics. I think there are more of these aspects in newer biographies. While I don't discount individual ideas and efforts, my focus seems to have shifted to context, what else might have contributed to or resulted in an artist's work, with their art as artefact. I feel I have a better grasp of the person, or an artwork, when I see them in their own "home".
What do you think, about any of this?
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This concludes Autumn/Winter 2022 Recap, as I hope to resume more or less regular transmission more or less as soon as I have things to show/tell you. Be well!