Sat down at the loom and started weaving yesterday! And I skipped my gym workout this morning (yes, yes, bad, I know) to do some more weaving…I’ve done about 9″ of weaving thus far, and plan to do more after work today.
Some thoughts on the weaving:
(1) Getting an even beat is really hard. For better or worse (better for learning, worse for final appearance), my project is arranged in neat squares in the weaving. Only, some of them are squares, some of them are short rectangles, and some of them are long rectangles, depending on how hard/easy I beat the shed after each pick. (Translated from weaverspeak: how hard I pushed down the thread after laying down a new line of weft.)
I’m working at it and have managed to get a few squares (as opposed to rectangles) so far, but I have to pay attention. I’m actually glad I did a project in squares: yeah, it won’t look as nice as if I’d done something less exacting, but this way I get direct feedback on how even my beat is, which is a wonderful learning tool.
(2) Color. Rainbow was a mistake for this project, I think–there’s such a confusion of color that the pattern isn’t showing up very well. The resulting shawl looks WAY too busy. I’m tempted to redo this project in monochrome, seven shades of, say, a nice brown. I think it would look a lot better, and it would give me a chance to do a dye series–I haven’t done much work with pastel dyeing, so it would be a good experiment that way. Only catch is, I have no experience with dyeing pastels (which is trickier than dyeing dark colors), so there’s a good chance of messing it up. On the other hand, there’s no way I’ll learn it if I don’t try it, so…I will probably do it anyway.
(3) Weaving requires a LOT of patience. Crossed warps, mistakes in threading–lots of stuff that needs to get fixed before you can get to weaving. Hopefully I’ll make fewer of those mistakes as time goes on, but the setup takes a LOOOONG time.
Other thoughts for today:
I am probably going to scratch on the trip to Nigeria, as my research has pretty much universally been “it’s too dangerous”. Nigeria is one of the least stable countries in Africa, and that’s saying something.
However, the idea of going to Africa and exploring textile arts has not gone away–it’s just a matter of going somewhere else (hopefully a little more stable) and looking around. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where else in Africa they have accessible textile arts (i.e. where I would be able to find textile artists within a few weeks’ visit), and there’s relatively little in the guidebooks about textiles, so I’m trying to figure out where to go. If any of you know people who have been to Africa recently/live in Africa, can you put me in touch with them? I’d love to find out more about textile traditions in Africa.
I’m particularly interested in Madagascar and Kenya at the moment, but that could shift in a heartbeat. I’ve picked up a copy of Lonely Planet’s “Africa on a Shoestring”, to give me an idea of what other attractions there are in the various countries of Africa. They don’t cover textiles, but they do give a general sense of what else is in the country.