I have made friends with dust bunnies, named them
But good things can’t last forever
And trash collection is coming up.
I didn’t update with a color post yesterday because I wasn’t home yesterday; that means two color posts today. Yesterday I was at my internship, which I absolutely love. I’m learning infinite things about weaving and business and I get to practice my weaving outside of class, which even on simple twills, is really helpful for someone like me who has to focus on perfection. (Still not there yet, but I’m working on it). And this weekend, Carly and I are going to the American Craft Council show in Baltimore to take notes and see some beautiful work. I can’t wait!
After a few hours working in the library, I dragged myself down to the school’s weaving studio to set up my loom before next class. I always forget how long it takes to crank on the warp:
Those are some beautiful, tangled threads. Why anyone would bother with lease sticks for anything but ikat is beyond me. Maybe you other weavers out there are better at keeping neat bouts, or maybe it’s the nature of ikat that ruins back to front threading for me- no matter how neat I am with my warp, washing the yarn after steaming always does some kind of mischief.
…And nine hours later (two-thirty in the morning, for anyone who is wondering what it’s like to be a college student) everything is through the dent reed. I honestly can’t decide if I like threading back to front or front to back better. Going from the heddles to the dent reed is definitely easier with the lease sticks, but there’s something about back to front that I just can’t accept it.
If you’re curious, I mixed Procion MX colors to get these results: Aquamarine, Brown Rose, and Navy Blue. Though I’m sure that doesn’t help when I tell you I mixed randomly and let colors bleed together like crazy. Thank you, chemical water.
I almost walked into a busy Baltimore street today- right in front of a screaming ambulance. This tells me I need more sleep; however, to my delight my package arrived today- a cone of beautiful silver-gray bamboo for my color blog ikat project (see poems from previous posts below). Now I’m more motivated than ever to warp my loom and get started. Though I am a little intimidated threading from back to front- I’m a front to back kind of girl- ikat pretty much demands the precision of lining up the threads. And with every beginning comes the choosing of a weave structure, and I’ve gone with a simple “seed” draft. I can’t help myself, I love simple patterns. I admire cloths with complicated overshot patterns, but it just doesn’t work for my art. The threading on this particular draft allows for some really diverse and interesting treadling sequences that I feel will really help to guide my narrative, from really simple, elegant patterns to something more bold and dominating. I don’t have any examples now, but I should be weaving by Monday so I will have pictures then.
In the meantime, I’m quite busy with a sculpture project, because I do more than just weave here at MICA. In my Puppets and Prosthetics class, we’re studying the tradition of shadow puppets and we were introduced to Lotte Reiniger (who created the first full-length animation) so of course I fell in love. I am embarking on an (ambitious) one-week stop motion animation adventure that hopefully won’t end in failure. As a writer, usually I prefer creating my own narratives, but in this case I simply couldn’t resist adapting one of Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories to my modest Art School screen. If all goes well, I should be posting the final result sometime Sunday. A sketch for the female character:
Confession: though the title suggests it, these two projects have relatively…nothing to do with one another. However, I love the idea of weaving and puppetry as being the perfect coalescence of my addiction to storytelling. I have a year to come up with the perfect thesis. Let the brainstorming begin!
My First Stop Motion Animation– May 2008
(A brief explanation of the poems for anyone who is new to my blog: the Ikat poems will be used as a jumping off point to generate colors for thirty weft entries in a month long weaving project).
When we were little we, sleepy-eyed peered out from blankets, blinking away the sun through donut glazed eyelahses
Licking our lips to taste the salt there
I sit here now, and these windows are jellied thick like 90s shoes for the little girls we were
Once shadows of our selves
And the windows do, glowing, fog
The shadows in the fridge are more pronounced when the shelves are empty and the little light has ample room to dance through the produce bin.
In case you missed it, the poems that I have been posting, and will continue to post for the next month, are part of an on-going journal/weaving project where I will be tracking a color every day for 30 days. I have decided to look at shadows and the color gray, somewhat in relation to my Ikat project last semester where ghosts, or ghost like presences, and energy imprinting seemed to come to the forefront of my imagery, and this semester I am interested in how shadows fall on colors and our environments and what kinds of stories they can tell. Even though the goregous gray bamboo I ordered hasn’t arrived yet, I was compelled to start preparing my warp and luckily I had plenty of natural bamboo left over from last semester. I think I wound up warping out about 27 inches worth of width at 4 yards, so it should be a pretty substantial weaving once I’m through. After I pulled my yarn off the warping mill, I had to arrange it on a printing table using lease sticks:
The lease sticks help hold the cross, and the stick at the opposite end helps hold the tension so that when I paint on the warp, the threads have a chance of lining up relatively the same way on the loom. It’s not visible in this photograph, but at the other end I have marked a registration line across all of the threads in sharpie to make it easier to line up the threads once I get to the loom.
And then the painting can begin! Also, welcome to a trippy, strangely oriented picture of my warp, but at least you can see the registration lines here. I decided to forego the print paste this time around (it thickens the dye for painting) and instead just worked with the chemical water solution for some nice, light colors. The bright aqua marine (especially straight out of the bottle) is usually not my style, but it looks much different after I steamed it and I think will work nicely with the grays I procure in the weeks to come. I can’t wait to photograph the warp once it has fully dried and I start threading it; the bamboo holds colors so wonderfully and really retains a lot of its beautiful sheen once dyed. I’m going to have a lot of fun with this warp, even if it is a new frontier of colors.