Handwoven cloth: Pickup with Twill
An exploration of religious meditation and personal symbolic referencing through folk-based storytelling. Considers the magical quality of objects in the act of creation and the power of faith in placing importance on objects.
Posts Tagged ‘Storytelling’
Handwoven cloth: Pickup with Twill
Earlier today I had an absolutely wonderful and insightful conversation with friend and fellow staff member Stephanie about the work I do in weaving and the work we both do in poetry. The first thing that really struck me on her end of the conversation that I wanted to share was the idea that cloth today is not as precious as in the past because of mass production. Case in point: most people never think about how the cloth they buy in the fabric store is made (it doesn’t just grow on trees!). It’s something I’ve never really thought of before, and we talked extensively about the art of living a “slow” life, the idea that taking the time to do tasks that are otherwise provided for us in a mass produced society does not equate to laziness, but instead reflects an ability to focus and share an appreciation of hard, processed work. Re-reading that, it makes little sense, but maybe it’ll make you think of something similar. I guess what we were saying is that removing yourself from the modern pace of society, to some extent, to revisit crafts and skills that have been forgotten or discarded in favor of an easier production can be an honorable thing. Trust me, our conversation was much more eloquent than my fatigued thoughts. (I’m going on my last day of TARC training for the MICA pre-college program and it’s been intense).
The other thing we talked about was writing (because I mentioned the connection I draw between weaving and writing) and something we talked about was being proud of what you write, and taking ownership of it. And blurring the lines between private and public work. Out of that conversation came some inspiration for me to share some more of my own work on this blog, especially since I’m always talking about how important interdisciplinary work is, and emphasizing both my writing and my weaving at the same time.
The following works come from my book from my second semester poetry class entitled You & Me. The rest of the poems after the jump.
We make ourselves known
through richly paneled walls, chocolate drawn drapes
and the pronounced silence of hiding from essence
Lady Victorian Dreamer and Level Headed Modernist have met
and she’s not supposed to be here, aware-
how the long, bone cigarette holder dangling from her careless lips
reminds him of her legs, reminds him of progress
she coughs, a mouse in hiding and he notices
and the thing is, some how-do-you dos simply get lost in
the theories of lipstick and gin
I never got around to posting a nice photograph of my unwrinkled weaving final, so here it is. Initially, I was not pleased with how this piece came out, but more and more, as I’ve looked at it without the projection, and run it through my hands, I have come to accept it and call it beautiful. There isn’t a thing I would change about it–if only I could find a way to have everyone on the internet touch it. If I’ve learned one thing through the process of creating this cloth, it’s just how important and powerful the sense of touch is to this craft.
I submitted this piece, along with two others, to the Fiberarts Magazine call for student entries. Below is the statement that accompanied my submission, and I think it does a good job of summing up the nature of my work and why I create in this way:
My work is an opportunity to tell stories through experimentation in variations of color and pattern to create imagery and impressions of memory. I see weaving as a way to evoke the essence of my stories in tactile narratives with a focus on cultural and personal folklore. For me, I see importance in the cultural and historical relevance of handmade cloth, with each piece acting as a public heirloom upon which personal memories may be projected.
To see more of the work in my portfolio, please visit my flickr account.
This video is my latest stop motion- a companion piece to the physical object of my Puppets and Prosthetics final project. The assignment was “The Secret Lives of Puppets,” and my goal was to have the cloth move while still on the loom as a sort of past life to the eventual fate of the cloth- a single, solid piece of fabric. In a way, the centipede has two lives, one on the cloth as movement and growth of production, and one off the loom, an object.
The centipede was woven using pick-up via doublecloth. Once he was woven, I untied sections of the warp off the back beam and cut the side fringe loose so that I was able to manipulate slight movement. Moving everything by myself and taking pictures made my options for movement limited (you can see my hand pulling the side fringe in the video), but I’m satisfied with the resut as an experiment in the limitations of cloth- the materiality, function, and performative options for cloth.
Last night was the final weaving crit for the semester, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I guess I had been looking at the cloth for so long with frustration, that I just assumed everyone else would be as frustrated as I was, and that was not the case. It just reminded me of the importance of stepping back from your work, taking a break, and then coming back to it with new eyes. You can be surprised by what you see. Crit, for me, is becoming increasingly important as I’m working with these new ideas as it helps me to refocus and realize things about the piece that I was struggling to grasp, ideas which are discussed below.
Here is an image of the double cloth pickup piece by itself (a little wrinkly, ignore), and the cloth with the projection over top. The projection consists of eight images that cycle through in a continuous loop with variation of color, light, and impact of texture as overlay:
The purpose of this cloth stands as memory. Cloth, as an heirloom, is something that is passed down through families, and gathers memories through generations. Even a single cloth, posessed by a single person, collects a range of memories and has the ability to have memories, for lack of a better word, projected into its history. Through the projection, I am exploring the power of memory and dreams, the disctinction and blurring between the two, and how a single event can be remembered many different ways, even in one still moment.
The fun part about weaving pickup- you’re drawing, but you can’t go back and erase. Well, I suppose you could, but it might take you eons, and I don’t have that kind of time. Not to mention, I was having serious problems with my sheds not raising enough to pass the shuttle through, so I knew for a fact that I was catching floats on the underside here and there; backtracking, in short, would have been a disaster. It is with a bit of despair that I realize just how distracted I was working on this piece (excuses- blame finals, the stress of living, etc.) and I didn’t have a focused enough idea of what my image should look like. I wish I could go back and erase, but I can’t. It’s off the loom!
Overall, I think my weaving experience this year has been totally experimental, wholly positive, and an enlightening struggle. I threw myself into a medium that was completely new to me and immediately began imposing my specific (and as my weaving teacher pointed out, simultaneously vague) ideas onto the craft, assuming that the cloth would just accept things because it seemed right to me. Some pieces have been more successful than others, and I’m still eyeing this last piece (detail pictured above) with suspicion and a bit of dread. The weaving is finished, but the piece as a whole isn’t quite finished yet, it’s not complete. I thought I would be totally thrilled with this piece, with my vision of the illustration, the colors, the material, and my grand ideas of projection, but so far things aren’t quite coming together the way I supposed they would. (more…)