Posts Tagged ‘Woven Imagery’

Personal Scriptures (Prayer Cloths), Cotton, Tencel, Bamboo, and Linen, 2009

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.


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Our final crit for the pickup project was on Monday, and I meant to update then when the comments from critique were fresh in my mind, but I was so exhausted I just went to bed instead.  Luckily I take extensive notes, not only on my own critique (which lasted a full forty-five minutes this week- wow!) but on everyone’s crits as well. You learn a lot when discussing the work of others.

The reception of my piece was very successful, though the installation of it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and thus I feel slightly defeated. My intention, as shown above and in the details below, was to roll the piece in on itself so parts were concealed to mimic a scroll in as non-literal a way as possible. The problem was that I was reluctant to roll the cloth around anything, and so the weight of the cloth pulled the piece down and squished the roll against the wall, making it look sloppy and lacking in intent. I guess the thing I have most to think about in the next few days is how to revise my installation plan, especially if it’s going to hang in the show in January, before we meet on Monday to discuss which pieces will hang in the show.

What it comes down to is what I find most important in this piece. For me, to begin with, it was the process, and how the process of pickup mimics the impromptu nature of storytelling, especially in the folk tradition how things change as passed from person to person or even by the same person when told over and over again. It’s an evolution of thoughts and ideas that shift subtly, but can change the entire course of the story. So for me, then, this piece was an exercise in storytelling while I was at the loom, and thus the product, the piece of cloth, is a coincidental result of that storytelling, and I wasn’t sure how important that cloth actually was, or even how important the content of the cloth was; the class was challenged to interpret the story, and one of the girls took the challenge, and I was pleased that someone was able to make up their own story from my images.

Then I had an experience, after taking it off the loom but before the critique, where I was sitting around with friends, the cloth laid out on the floor, doing the knots to finish it off, and someone asked me if it was a narrative. I said that it was, asked if she wanted to hear the story, and so I began to tell it to her. By the end of it, I realized that everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing to listen to me, and all eyes were on me. The power of storytelling, huh?

So I related that story to my class, and they insisted that I tell the story, and after that the critique took a much different direction. It was a performance piece, they said. I should find a way to tell the story with the piece, or make it interactive, or have a book for people to write their own stories. Of course, I’m uncertain as to just how important the performance is to the piece, if that one performance in the quiet of my friends’ apartment was enough, or if that needs to be shared somehow in the gallery space.

Or maybe it just simply isn’t meant for the gallery. Perhaps it is a private piece. I’m still figuring it out, but I have to think fast.


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Busy busy busy. The holiday season, and finals, are upon us, and everyone here at MICA is running around with half finished scarves attachted to their knitting needles to sell at the Art Market and barely dry paintings on their way to final crit. Lucky for me, I opted out of Art Market this year (lack of inventory) and I’m finished with all of my studio work for finals, so I’m just lazying around writing papers when the mood strikes and a napping- a lot of napping. I did do something fairly productie this weekend; a bunch of us sat around watching Hook and the snowfall outside making one-of-a-kind stuffed animals for children at St. Vincent’s Hospital- with minimal success. I started out with a giraffe and wound up with a sorry looking pony, but the leader of the group assured us that all of the toys would be loved. I’m sure she’s right.

Final crit on my pick-up project later today. I’m going in to class early to install my work and then I have a meeting with my instructor and a few other students to discuss the details of the Spring weaving show. This is starting to seem like a very, very good year for me.

I can’t wait to take notes during the crit and see what everyone has to say about one another’s work; the last crit was so successful and left me with a lot to think about. I’ll post pictures of my installation and the full piece of cloth later tonight after class, and hopefully I’ll have some new insights to share.

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Final Ikat Project

And so, to an end comes what was once a very frightening and intense weaving project. I spent well over twenty four hours in the past five days on this, and many many hours the previous weeks. Approximately one month later, I have the finished results.

I’m really happy with the results. The final image definitely references the chair and the window, and I believe I’ve met my goal of capturing the ambiance of the space. The Sweedish Lace was THE perfect draft, and it was really easy to weave.

Final Measurements: 21″x5′  using bamboo warp at approx. 20* epi and cotton/ linen weft at 17 epi.

*The setts here are for a balanced weave

I still have a lot of bamboo left over, and quite a bit of the cotton/linen blend and I’m itching to do something with it. Maybe now is not the time, I have so many other projects!

And onwards to the next project, which begins on Monday! I ordered my yarn this morning from the wonderful people at Webs, who, though this is only my second time ordering from them, have proven to be very helpful and extremely friendly. On Monday we will begin to figure out our warp, and then we will do a double cloth sample before moving onto the final project, which I believe is also double cloth.

Now that this project is over with, and I have some time to collect myself before we get really involved in the final project, I have some time to collect myself and work more on my spinning and embroidery, the latter of which is particularly important to me at this time. I have a few works-in-progress that I will share soon.

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To start, here are my finished skeins that I forgot to photograph yesterday:

I had intended on having two different shades of the dark blue (a Procion MX Navy Dye) but because I was mostly estimating when it came to the conversions, there wasn’t a big difference in the color. There is a slight difference visible in the finished weaving, but it’s hard to tell in this photograph. The skeins were bound with strips of plastic bags to resist the dye when I put them into the dye baths, so when I unwound them and wove them into the warp, it procued an Ikat effect. I didn’t dye the skeins in any base color before doing my Ikat dying, so the undyed part of the weft is a natural shade.

Today, I spent a good amount of time unbinding the skeins, transfering them from an umbrella swift to a ball winder, and from balls to spools. Taking into account the time I spent weaving yesterday, it only took me about four hours of actual weaving to complete the project.

This is near the beginning of the piece. The bright white that you see is lace that I cut up from an old curtain I found at the thrift store; I thought it would be an interesting addition to the Sweedish Lace pattern.

Toward the end, I did have one warp thread break, but it was an easy fix and I’ve already sewn the extra thread back into the fabric. Not only that but I cut it from the loom, serged the edges, and it’s now hanging on the back of my bedroom door. Pictures of the final project in full when I get my hands on a better camera situation.

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So I went into major crack down mode this weekend. Over Fall Break, the most I was able to do was get my warp combed out and ready for threading with the help of my darling roommate, Jacqueline. It took us a few hours, but by the end of it my warp was nice and straightened out. The bamboo is so heavenly soft; I couldn’t resist running my fingers through it several times.

I felt like I spent a million hours down at the Station Building this weekend sitting at my loom and not weaving. About four or five hours on Saturday getting the threads (500 ends) through the heddles, which was a lot longer than I expected. It was exhausting, so I decided to come back the next day to thread them through the dent reed, which took considerably less time, but still around two or three hours. I photographed the process in various stages below.

This is about three quarters of the way through, all through the heddles and halfway through the dent reed. Luckily my draft was pretty simple and I was able to keep up with it, only losing my place once and it wasn’t hard to find where I was again. I found threading the loom from back to front to be a lot easier than front to back (at least, once I remembered I could lower the breast beam and sit closer to the heddles- I don’t know how many times I banged my elbow!). I feel like the margin of error is a lot smaller, and it’s a lot more difficult to get threads crossed or to miss heddles.

Alas, I am all finished with threading! The feeling of relief that washed over me was so incredible. I did have two warp threads break on me, but it was as I was pulling them through the heddles- I guess a few ends had gotten frayed at some point in the process. Luckily they broke as I was pulling on them, so I easily removed them from the lineup and continued my pattern as normal. The end result is 498 ends then, thanks to the two fallen threads.

Here I have sectioned off the warp and tied it to the apron, adjusting the tension of each section until the tension is good and even. When I got to this point, all I wanted to do was weave, but I was so exhausted by that point (and I had to get dinner and get myself ready for the Great Halloween Lantern Parade!) that I didn’t even want to set up the the treadles, even though it’s a really simple sequence (see related post: Weave Draft). I left that, as well as filling in the front, for class on Monday.

Monday night I set out to make my skeins, all twenty five of them, sixteen of which I accomplished in class using the dowel method (which I learned in class):

  • Set up two dowels apart from eachother, clamped down on a table, at a distance that equals the width of your warp. I had intended for my warp to be 25 inches across, but I guess somewhere along the line I lost two inches, so I’m down to 23.
  • Wrap your yarn around the dowels as many times as you need to fill however many inches you want to cover on your warp. You can find out the ends per inch of your weft by weaving in an inch of plain weave and counting the lines.
  • Tie off appropriate chokes and label with sharpie on masking tape attached to one of the ends, as necessary.

I didn’t want to stay in Station all night, however, so I took the rest of my yarn home intending to set up chairs the same way the dowels were set up, and as it turns out the diagonal distance between the legs of my kitchen chairs was the perfect distance for my skeins, so I flipped one over and made the rest of my skeins by wrapping my yarn around the chair legs.

I still had to bind them for the resist dying, so I stretched each skein back out by looping them around my feet, and, looking at my photographs, bound them with cut up plastic bags according to where objects were placed on the chair.

Lots of inventive negotiating with process.

All my skeins have been made, dyed, and dried. I forgot to take my camera with me when I went to work this morning, so I’ll post pictures of the dyed skeins (which came out great!) and the amount of weaving I’ve done to date (so far seven skeins). The Sweedish Lace Draft is really perfect for the ambiance I’m trying to capture with this project, and I’m really happy with how it’s turning out.

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The Final Three




A little late on the posting, but these images end with Sunday, October 26th. I have twenty-five images in all, because we were told in class on Monday that we could cease the blogging process. It’s weaving time!

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