I’m flying home today after one of the best (and most exhausting) weeks I’ve ever had. I’ve learned a ton about jacquard weaving and about the two major brands of jacquard loom. I met some new friends and saw lots of old friends. And I’ve got a couple pieces of beautiful jacquard weaving as a remembrance of just what a jacquard can do.
So what happened yesterday? Well, the first cool thing that happened was that Laurie Carlson Steger came by and finished the fiber optic rocket-launch piece, scratching the fiber optic cable with an Exacto knife to release the light in carefully chosen spots around the image. It came out great! Here is a picture of the two of us with the finished piece:
I can’t wait to get it framed and take a pic in good lighting. I’ve already ordered a fiber optic engine to light up the cable, and will bring it in to work as soon as the lighting arrives.
Watching Laurie score the cable was fascinating and delightful – the scratches in the cable are what let light leak out, so as she scratched it with the knife, each section lit up. Here’s a video showing the process – if you enlarge the video and follow the knife, you can watch the glow appear. Let there be light!
The light wasn’t just one color. The light engine Laurie brought changed color slowly. Here’s a short video of the rocket launch piece slowly changing colors. I’ll try to take a better video once I get home and have something better than convention center lighting.
While Laurie was scoring the cable, I was weaving like a maniac on the piece I designed on Friday night. To my delight, the draft that I’d labored over for three hours worked! It produced a perfect double weave piece. The top layer came out as I’d envisioned, green and blue sea turtles against a rippled background. It was a tied weave with 1/3, 2/2, and 3/1 twill patterning in the ties – definitely not trivial to design in Photoshop, but I wanted to try something very technically challenging, something that would test both my own design abilities and the capabilities of the loom.
The bottom layer, a similar tied weave with twill-patterned ties, came out beautifully, too. Five fiery orange phoenixes flew against a background of charcoal and ash, with ripples of sparks around them. Here’ a photo of both sides:
It’s not great art, but not bad for a thought experiment! I’m so pleased that I got the draft right. I even remembered to weave the bottom side with the image facing down, so it would be visible when the fabric was turned over. I’ve had a lot of trouble in the past inverting the bottom layer of a double weave correctly, so glad I managed to remember it in my sleep-deprived state.
The loom performed flawlessly, too. The double weave tube is perfect: there isn’t a single thread in 1200 picks that is caught between the two layers.
A lot of friends stopped by. Sally Orgren was nice enough to take a souvenir video of me weaving on the TC-2:
After finishing weaving my final piece, I took some time to stroll through the galleries and admire the pieces. Then I had a lovely dinner with Inga Marie Carmel and Laurie Carlson Steger, returned home, and collapsed into bed. I didn’t wake up for twelve hours!
So now I’m on my way home, after a magical (and exhausting!) week of jacquard weaving. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful time, but I have to say, I’m looking forward to seeing this when I get back. I’ve missed Mike and the cats so much!