I’m now on to considering my next piece. I want to play with textures, and am considering a tiger in matelassé – with brushed silk/mohair or silk chenille in the furry parts. Sensuous? Absolutely! I want to make a piece that just begs to be touched.
I’m half-thinking of entering it for Complexity – half-thinking because the deadline is 28 days away and there is only a sliver of a chance that I’ll actually finish the piece within 28 days, plus I really don’t enjoy rushing through the design process, plus Complexity has a rule against publishing the finished piece anywhere (including social media and, of course, this blog) prior to Complexity that I think is just plain stupid.
I suppose the idea is to give the show exclusivity – “If you want to see this piece you must come to the show!” – but frankly, free publicity is a lot more useful in getting people to a show. (Speaking as someone who spent two years as Board President at a textiles museum – and is currently Board VP there – we’d be delighted if people shared pieces from our upcoming shows with “Come see this at the upcoming show at the Museum!” Obscurity is a much bigger threat than people having seen a piece online.)
But, since half the fun of creating a piece is sharing the process and the finished piece with you-all, not being able to show the piece on my blog until four months later takes half the fun out of making it in the first place. So, considering whether to push the deadline, and considering whether I want to enter even if I do make the deadline. Grumble.
Anyway, off my soapbox.
For this next piece, I want to play with textures, because that’s what the Complex Weavers Designing Fabrics Study Group, to which I belong, is studying this year. You may recall that, a few blog posts ago, I was considering a horse in matelassé, which is a double weave structure with a thick, fluffy weft passing between the layers. The layers are stitched together in some areas and not in others, producing a puffy effect in areas where the layers are not stitched together and a flattened look in the areas where the layers are stitched together.
I’ve since ditched the idea of the horse, and am now considering doing a tiger, with either a brushed silk/mohair weft or a silk chenille weft, using this tiger drawing from iStockPhoto (original drawing by daikokeubisu, modified by me):
The background would be a pebbly, black-and-white crepe or granite weave (mostly white) in cotton and silk, flat. The rocks would be black, puffed areas, black cotton (smooth cloth). The orange and white areas of the tiger would be woven in shaded satins with either silk chenille or brushed silk/kid mohair yarn (dyed rusty orange or left white), and be puffy matelasse. The black parts of the tiger would be kept flat, and probably be woven with smooth yarns to keep the textural contrast as high as possible. I think if I use a furry yarn for the black stripes I would lose the 3D effect of the matelassé.
It’s possible I could complete this in 28 days – the design is not challenging, it’s mostly technically complicated. This would be a three-and-a-half layer weave – two layers of fabric to weave the image, plus a third layer for the matelassé backing, plus a fourth “layer” for the stuffing weft, which passes between the layers without interacting with them but needs to be accounted for in the treadling. However, the Arahweave design software makes this kind of design (relatively) easy, so I could conceivably do the design fairly quickly.
Of course, I’d also have to do samples, dye the yarn, and weave the piece using five shuttles. (Black smooth weft, white smooth weft, orange furry weft, white furry weft, puffy stuffing weft.) So, we’ll see.