With Kodachrome winding down, it’s time to move on to the next project. I am trying to be patient with the creative process, and not start working on a design too soon – I don’t feel fully comfortable with my current options, so it needs to percolate some more. But it is difficult, because I don’t tolerate open-endedness very well; I want decisions made so I can move on.
Right now I am developing two ideas: the Delenn costume I posted about two days ago, and a vision of falling autumn leaves. I think it would be fun – and technically quite interesting – to use the cellulose/animal fiber yarn trick to make patterned maple leaves against a background of a different color. I’m envisioning using metallic fibers and maybe some metallic gold paint to outline the veins of the leaves as they drift towards the ground. This would be a neat combination of weaving and surface design that exploits the better parts of both. This assumes the technique works at all, of course – I need to experiment to find out!
How this fits into the Delenn costume I’m not sure. I am tentatively thinking that the leaves could fall down the front of the long vest and also down the back of the outfit, but as the vest is fairly narrow I don’t know if it would allow enough space to give the leaves some “motion”. I might have to widen it, or abandon it entirely. The other problem is that the motion and line of the leaves carries the eye down to the bottom, and I want to focus attention at the top, nearer the wearer’s face. (Because shoes are just not that interesting!) I think I can do it by adding something interesting at the top – perhaps a branch full of leaves, perhaps not. More design concepts to work out!
I am trying hard to give these ideas (and the experimentation needed to implement them) time to mature. Somewhere in the back of my head, however, is a voice shouting that the project needs to get started now or else it won’t be done in time for Convergence or CNCH, next year’s two most likely show venues. I am doing my best to ignore it – I don’t think rushing things will improve the work, and that is more important- but have to admit that yes, it may not complete in time for either show. There are too many new techniques I need to explore to pull off what I’m currently envisioning! and couture takes time, so this may be a year-and-a-half project. Oh well. There’s always next time.
Meanwhile, I have discovered a wonderful book, Artwear, by Melissa Leventon, former textiles curatrix for the Fine Arts Museums, and (curiously) the woman who appraised my wedding-dress. The book is basically an art history of art-to-wear! which is exactly what I have been wanting/needing. I bought it expecting only pretty pictures but am thrilled to find a book jam-packed with useful information. I am starting to understand art vs. fashion a lot better now. Leventon mentions in passing that fashion is more about the interaction of the clothing with the body and personality of the wearer. That suggests to me the division line between wearable art and fashion is that wearable art is more about the artistic statement and fashion is more about, as she says, the interaction of clothing with the wearer. Obviously it is not a strict dividing line, more like two poles on a continuum, but it’s a good place to start.
Meanwhile, answers to some questions:
Mary asked how I had changed my rhythms to suit the CompuDobby IV. I have essentially decoupled the treadling from the movement of the beater. Previously, I had changed sheds exactly as the beater hit the fell: down-up in the flash of an eye. Now I change sheds as the beater is headed towards the reed: down, start-beater-moving, up. The shed is still fully open by the time the beater reaches the reed and I throw the shuttle, so it doesn’t slow me down, but it does slow the changing of the sheds just enough to suit the CompuDobby.
Michelle asked if I ever sleep! Yes, I do, but because I’m a morning person (and wake up if exposed to light), I usually get up between 5 and 5:30am. This lets me do my morning blog post before everyone else gets up. (You’ll notice that you don’t typically hear from me late at night!) I like working this way both because I’m at my best in the morning and because, since I get up before any sane human does, it gives me several hours of peace and quiet before I have to be anywhere or do anything. This lets me get a lot more done than if I got up later.