Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fear of Colour

scarf #2

When I began weaving lo, these many years ago, I was interested in weave structure as the primary element of design. I would joke that my favourite colour was white. White on white, to be precise!

I loved the look of damask, but of course without a drawloom that was a bit of a stretch. Fancy twills, however, were possible and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with them. Still do, in fact.

My forays into using colour were tentative and conservative. I did not feel confident that I could put colours together in a pleasing way. Therefore I pretty much confined myself to things that I knew were 'safe'.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to learn more about colour and one of the things I did was enroll in a workshop with Jack Lenor Larsen. The topic was Irridescence, but really it was just about colour. Colour in all it's glorious combinations.

What really broke through my mental attitude, however, was the fact that I consistently got positive critiques from JLL. Since he didn't really know who had done which samples pinned to the wall of the building I knew that what he was saying was completely unbiased. I mean, why wouldn't it be? :} But I finally got it through my thick head that I did know something about putting colours together!

Shortly after that I found myself in a position where weaving rayon chenille scarves seemed like a really good idea. And so I started winding 5 meter long warps - sufficient for two scarves. What do you do with rayon chenille, after all, but weave plain weave and use lots of colour?

And so I did. Lots of them. And the more I designed and wove them, the more adventurous and confident I became.

On the spectrum of structure <----> colour/texture, I found myself shifting from structure all the way over into colour. And now I feel that I'm solidly in the middle of that spectrum. That when I design something, both go hand in hand. That I do not consider one without considering the other.

Many people insist that the only thing to do with a painted warp is to weave it in plain weave. Although at the moment I am weaving them in plain weave, it's not an exclusive thing. It has more to do with which loom I'm using, what quality of cloth I want to wind up with and other factors.

So even though a weaver may start out at one end of the spectrum, there is no reason why they can't shift a little ways toward the other.

Currently reading Backstabber by Tim Cockey

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