Thursday, May 23, 2013

Theo Moorman and other techniques

Scarf by Line Dufour in the Theo Moorman technique
These two scarves were recently included in the May/June 2013 issue of Handwoven magazine. Here are excerpts from the original unedited version of the article I wrote:
Born in 1907, Theo Moorman was a prolific British weaver who had close ties with the United States.  Frustrated with the slowness of tapestry weaving, she developed the technique that bears her name. Theo Moorman’s book Weaving as an Art Form: A Personal Statement,  clearly explains many of the techniques she used to create mostly wallhangings and liturgical commissions. The technique is essentially plain weave. By modifying its use, through differentiating the weight of the warp threads – a heavier groud warp and finer tie-down warp, she achieved incredible artistry and artistic expression. The design on the surface of the fabric is achieved by inlaying yarns under the fine tie-down warp.

Like most weavers and knitters, I have a huge stash of yarn. Whenever I finish a project, whatever yarn is left I sort into colour groupings in clear plastic drawers, readily available for whatever idea might strike me. And,  like most weavers and knitters, I fell in love with the ribbon yarns that were so readily available a few years ago and there are a lot of incomplete balls left in my stash waiting to be used and incorporated into a project.  The ribbon yarn seemed a perfect fit for my foray into Theo Moorman scarves.

Scarf by Line Dufour in the Theo Moorman Technique

A second  theme in these scarves is achieving iridescence in fabric, once popular in the 80’s when sumptuous Thai silks were the rage. Iridescence attracts me. It occurs in nature -  in water, butterflies, insects and some shells. By weaving  two colours in plain weave that are similar to each other in value and intensity and close to each other on the colour wheel, iridescence is achieved. The ribbon yarn looks like beads woven into this plane of iridescence.  It makes these scarves especially appealing and unusual and people will surely remark on them.

Finally, about rayon, considered  ‘regenerated’ fibres,  and in which category we can include Bamboo. Rayons are also made of tree pulp, cornstarch, soy, seaweed, crab shells , plant cellulose and plant proteins like soy.  Handwoven magazine featured a very informative article about it and I suggest that you read it to learn more about it,  how its processed, as well as the various natural materials that rayons  are made of.

The finished scarves have a lustrous and luxurious feel to them. Although the design does not appear on the back of the scarves, it is a smooth and uninterrupted fabric of the rayon, thread, and bamboo. Buy the issue of Handwoven for the instructions to weave them.

Scarf by Judite Vagners inspired by my scarves.
A week after showing Judite the pattern and samples I had done, she whipped this scarf off. Christine Shipley, a weaving instructor at  Cedar Ridge in Scarborough, brought in a Theo Moorman book entitled More On Moorman: Theoo Moorman Inlay Adapted to Clothing by Heather Lyn Winslow. I believe it's out of print but maybe you can find it used. You can also do a Theo Moorman sampler which I have available in the class. The original book by Theo Moorman called Weaving as an Art Form: A Personal Statement is still available on Amazon used at a still reasonable price as Louise Granahan informed me recently. Nadine Sanders also has a website in which much of it is focused on Theo Moorman

Jutta Polomoski created the  Theo Moorman wallhangings above and below.

Lindsay Keslick with twill variation stair runner.
While Lindsay was weaving this rug she has become pregnant with her second child. She is due soon! Many of us has watched struggle and persevere with this rug which is about 16' long if not more. It was exciting to be a witness to here completing this stair runner. As someone mentioned to me, the caption should read here: Fruits of the Womb and Loom!
 detail of twill and basket weave rug runner by Lindsay Keslick
Rag rug by Maureen Krinicic
Maureen wove this rug in plain weave using a 4/8 cotton and created her own rag strips from old sheets.
Swedish lace scarves by Maureen Krinicic
Two tencel (rayon scarves) were woven in a swedish lace pattern taken from the book, A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison on page 98. Both scarves used the same warp and by changing the weft it created a much different looking colour combination.

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