I’ve now laid out my plans for Seasons of Creativity, and have created the image file for it for conversion to a jacquard-weavable file in Arahweave. There is some technical work left to do on the file, which I’ll do later today, but the next step is basically to dye some yarn and weave some samples to see how my idea works on the loom. Unfortunately, this will have to wait a few days since Ricki’s project is still on Grace, and Ricki is away for the holidays. Ricki gets back on the 26th and hopefully will be able to weave off their project shortly thereafter. Meanwhile I can knit, dye, and unravel some test blanks, which will give me some information, but the rest of the project will be on hold.
So I’m turning my attention to the next project, which will be my entry for Complexity, the Complex Weavers exhibit.
Alas, I won’t be able to share the finished piece with you until after the exhibit. The rules say that the finished piece can’t be published anywhere, online or in print, including social media, until the exhibit. I personally think that’s a terrible rule to have, as it’s going to exclude a lot of otherwise good pieces, but what the hell. (Frankly, it did make me think seriously about whether I wanted to enter the exhibit at all. IMO, sharing work on a blog or on social media, with a limited audience, is totally different from publishing it in a magazine. And sharing my work with y’all is half the fun of making it. But I digress.)
I work better with some constraints, and Complexity has very few guidelines in the prospectus – basically, judging criteria will be “originality of design, effective use of complexity through weave structure, technical excellence, visual impact, and effective use of color palette.” Size limits are 48″ x 48″ for two-dimensional works. That doesn’t give any hint as to subject matter.
So I’m turning to the other thing I need to do this year, which is write an article for the Complex Weavers Designing Fabrics Study Group. This year’s theme is Texture, so a piece with interesting textures would seem to be in order.
I’ve been noodling on this for the past day or so. There are so many possibilities! Crimp cloth, like this?
Collapse weave with elastic threads, like this?
But no, I’ve settled on matelassé, I think:
Matelassé is doubleweave fabric with a stuffing weft inserted between the layers. In some areas, the layers are stitched together, keeping the fabric flat. In other areas, the layers are allowed to separate, and the weft puffs up, creating a raised area. In this sample, the horse is woven in plain weave with a white weft, and the background is woven in (I think) single layer twill with one white and one blue weft.
For the moment, I’m thinking of redoing the horse design. Silk chenille weft for the horse’s mane, wool or silk/cashmere weft for the horse’s body, and cotton for the background. Probably some kind of painted weft for the background, and possibly for the horse as well. I’d really prefer to paint the warp for the horse (it would give me more options), but since the warp is already on the loom and is black (can’t overdye), that is not an option.
I’m not wild about the horse design, because I feel I’d like the piece to “say” more, but it’s a striking pose, and I think the colors and textures will be enough to carry it off. Given the short timeframe, I think this is Complexity (ha ha) enough for now. Also, this is going to be a very technically complicated piece, and because of that I think it’s best to keep the design simple. When I was writing my book, a very wise master artisan said, “If you’re going to stretch yourself in one area, it’s best to keep the other areas simple.” So since this piece is exploring some pretty complex technique, best to keep design simple.
Of course, I can and probably will totally change my mind as the piece evolves. Stay tuned…