Thursday, October 9, 2008

Next shawl

Not sure why my camera wouldn't work yesterday, but after removing the battery for an hour, it seemed to gather itself together and started working again. But I'm going to have to find the manual for my brother's camera and figure out how to get the flash working - just in case!

This photo shows the beginning of the next shawl, including the cutting line. I tested the blue bamboo weft at the cutting line to make sure it was going to work before committing to doing the whole shawl.

When I was first starting out as a weaver, I hung out with a group of artists - a painter, print maker, wood turner and a couple of potters. We collaborated on mounting shows/sales, and talked together about being creative people.

One of the things I learned was that creativity doesn't happen in a vacuum, and that artists rarely make a single artistic statement but rather build on an idea in a series.

Weavers quite naturally work in "series". Setting up the loom is such a lot of work, it makes sense to put a long warp on and do multiple items on that same warp. Sometimes I do identical things, such as placemats and a table runner. Sometimes I change the tie-up, treadling and/or the weft for each item, such as on this shawl warp.

At the end, I will have 9 shawls that will form a "series". They all have the same warp and they will share the same threading. I am changing the treadling and weft for each one, and as I move from Bambu 12 to 2/10 Tencel, will change the tie up as well. Seen as a "whole", the 9 shawls will make an artistic statement.

From time to time I have had assistance in the studio. One of these assistants once asked me why my scarves "all look the same". I told her it was called "having a line". Each year in my craft fair booth, I present 3 to 5 different scarf designs in a variety of colours. I may also change the treadlings as well as the weft colours. Customers often see a design that appeals to them, but want to choose from amongst a variety of colours. So I don't just make one of any particular design, but work in series.

Fashion designers are very familiar with the concept - every year, twice a year, sometimes 3 times - they have to put a collection together. The collection will centre on a theme of some sort.

The look of the collection, or "line", will have a cohesiveness that can be readily identified as their particular look.

Some of the best hand weavers (IMHO) have a style that can be readily identified as their work. Randall Darwell is perhaps the best known hand weaver, but there are others.

Sandra Rude has several lines of scarves. Lucille Crichton has a line of clothing. Once seen, either of their work can never be mistaken for anyone else's. I've posted links to their websites on my list of links to the right.

I belong to a large guild that has a sale every autumn. One of the members commented to me that she could always identify my work. I took that as a compliment. :)


Kaz said...

Great post Laura. You are right that handweaving is naturally 'bent' towards working in series. Lovely textiles.

LV weaver said...

I also enjoyed your post. I wished I could spend more time reading the different weaving blogs there is so much information to be learned. I experienced a feeling of encouragement just reading your post. I'm going to have to make a greater effort to follow your work more closely. Thank you for sharing. Barb in Las Vegas

laura said...

Yes, there are so many blogs! Spent my rest break yesterday touring through some of the Weavering members. :)

Too many things to do - not enough time!