Thursday, October 11, 2012

Weaving as Pattern, Weaving as Canvas

Overshot Scarf by Wendy Szpindel
This week, one of the students in the weaving class said she was a pattern person. Her mind grasped pattern quickly and easily. In terms of weavers, this is an aptitude that many share. As a little girl, while in class, when teaching was still a socratic endeavour and one listened quietly, I would doodle endlessly. What I found myself creating were patterns, repetitions of lines, in various configurations, lengths and thicknesses.  This seemed to fascinate me endlessly. Although I didn't realize it at the time  these same patterns were patterns I recognize today as weave structures such as twills.
Carla Duncan modelling scarf woven at home but the warp was created in our spring Painted warp workshop.

In contrast to that,  I have also approached my weaving as a canvas, and observe that others do as well. Slowly the project evolves, first the warp, then the weft threads - what colours to use, what yarns,  what other embellishments and the weave structure itself seems to be less significant. The project evolves slowly, sometimes over weeks, months, even years. In this blog I'm featuring projects that are examples of each approach, and even a combination of the two.
This particular scarf is a wonderful example of weaving as canvas. Carla decided spontaneously to try some shibori techniques on her handwoven white scarf and dip it in the remains of what was previously a green dye. The green pigments were exhausted and a blue turquoise colour remained.

This shawl was one that gave Carla many headaches and was definitely one of those projects from hell! Every now and then one encounters them as a weaver. The colour nor the finished effect was what Carla had in mind but it ended up being something that she had not expected. The light green lines are extremely effective. Although I am unable to demonstrate this to you on the blog, at certain angles, one cannot see the light coloured strips and the entire cloth seems to be the darker green. It's almost irridescent. In addition, being new at using Procion MX dyes, and trying to do it on her own before she took the Painted Warp Dye workshop, she didn't get the colour she was aiming for. All of Carla's weavings shown here are tencel, a wood pulp based rayon.

Fibre Exhibitions
Some of my tapestries will be on exhibit at the World of Threads Festival/Exhibitions. The link below will show you the location of the exhibit I will be participating in. The opening reception will take place November 3 Saturday 2-5pm and hope you will join me.
2D - 3D Exhibition by Philippa Brock
A vernissage will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:00 pmMontreal, October 9, 2012 - From October 24th to November 30th, 2012, la galerie TRAMES will be hosting 2D - 3D, an exhibition of the English artist and textile designer, Philippa Brock.

Inspired by folding techniques, 2D - 3D brings together a selection of Philippa Brock's experimental projects composed of textiles produced on a Jacquard loom. Brock's research deals with the structural possibilities of textiles. In her work, she is constantly pushing back the limits of what can be realized with state-of-the-art computer equipment and a combination of unusual materials. In this exhibition, the first part Self Fold presents works that are richly textured with spectacular three-dimensional effects. The second part, X-Form, developed specifically for this event, explores folding of materials while integrating fibres that react to daylight or to ultra-violet light.

Philippa Brock is internationally known for her advanced research in Jacquard weaving. Since 1990, her work specializes woven textiles as well as research and development of smart textiles. She is the
Woven Textiles Pathway Leader at Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, one of the most innovative and prestigious textile schools in the world. She will take advantage of her trip to Montreal to offer a master class to textile professionals.

Prior to the vernissage at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, October 24, Philippa Brock will
give a conference on her work. The number of places are limited. Please reserve at
La galerie TRAMES is open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free.

Centre des textiles contemporains de Montréal /
Montreal Centre for Contemporary textiles
5800 St-Denis bureau 501
Montréal (Québec
The American Tapestry Alliance has its biannual tapestry show. The link will give you all the details.
Kate Kitchen, a tapestry weaver in our class will be participating in a group Miniature Show at 337 Sketch Gallery in Hamilton. October 12-29. Opening reception October 11 7-9pm. Kate also has a miniature tapestry as part of the Pacific Portals, an unjuried show of the American Tapestry Alliance. She left a beautiful colour catalogue with the weaving class and therein you will find plenty to inspire you.
Resources and other info
Maureen Krinicic sends us this great YouTube video about a quick and efficient way of preparing strips for rag rugs.

Marion Kirkwood sends us a poem a friend sent her about weaving:

At the Loom

You sit at the loom,
your hands raised
like silhouetted birds,
or like a harpist poised
at the strings of an instrument
whose chords are colors,
their slow accumulation,
thread by thread
kind of blending upward
the way the sky blends
from the horizon up
after certain sunsets.
Monk's belt and rosepath ...
plainweave and twill ...
The shuttle moves back
and forth, trailing
its wake of yarn
as if by accident,
and patterns that seem
random at first multiply
into beauty.
No wonder Penelope burned
with patience. ,
Somewhere a sheep bleats
in the night, a silkworm
stirs in its cocoon.
You weave a spell,
I wear it on my back,
and though the chilly stars
go bone naked
we are clothed.

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