Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Garden of Weaving

Canadian nature we see the muted colour palettes and subtle interplay of colours. They echo serenity, peace, quiet, stillness within and without. A contemplative period as we await impatiently for signs of the new life  spring will usher in and the energy that will bring our bodies and minds. 
Susan Abrams wove this baby blanket with 2/8 cotton Huck Colour Variation . The pattern was taken from Ann Dixon's book, The Pattern Weaver's Directory page 167. 
As a very amateur gardener, early spring is the time of year to clear out vestiges and remains of the previous Summer and Fall. I take this as my own cue to start reviewing and discarding thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, practices and habits that may no longer be contributing to my life in a positive and creative way and perhaps never have. I apply the same practice to my weaving. 
Variations on huck patterns by Susan Abrams
One of the things that we all struggle with is learning and applying new technical information. If I want my weaving practice to grow and hopefully flourish, like the garden I must first prepare the "bed", the removal of old growth. Next I must apply additional nutrients to the soil and for weaving that means I need to find learning opportunities, new technologies, or time to explore ideas, techniques as well as connect with other weavers and artists. Then I am ready to dig these nutrients into the soil so that seeds and seedlings will have the right environment to grow and flourish. The equivalent in weaving might be preparing the warp, doing some sampling, dressing the loom. 

Two blankets woven by Susan Mellor. The one in the foreground is a plain weave cashmere and the the one in the background, a point twill in alpaca. 
Finally I am ready to plant the seeds and seedlings. There can't be any danger of frost so conditions must just be right. This translates into my weaving practice by creating the right environment to grow my skills, abilities and knowledge. This can be for many the most difficult part of the weaving process as many things clamour for our attention in life such as family, job and health. I work constantly on trying to find just that right balance and sometimes it isn't always possible but it is a something to strive for. I block out time to work quietly in my studio so that I can hear my own thoughts, ideas, and urges and not the pressure of other demands and expectations. Over the course of a (work) day one's mind can be quite filled up with many preoccupations and is one's attention really there fully when one faces one's weaving? Hopefully the seeds of your weaving knowledge will bear many fruitful projects. 

Helen Skelton wove this sampler for rag rugs. She thought weaving rag rugs might be a good way to get rid of her stash of fabric. She told me that since friends, coworkers and neighbours now know that she'll weave rag rugs, they are giving her more fabric, so now instead of getting rid of her stash, her stash is now growing! We had a good laugh about how her plan had been thwarted!

Karen Bota sent this link along on a knitters loom cape:


Sandra Brownlee recently received a Governer General's Award for her weaving. She will be having an exhibition of her work at the David Kaye Gallery in Toronto and the opening reception will be Saturday May 4 2014 between 2-4pm. Here is a YouTube Video of her talking about her work:
Here is the link to the gallery that will be exhibiting her work:

and you can register for a one week workshop with her

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