Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Life; Big and Little


Next warp - two shades very close in value and hue of beige, with natural linen weft

Sometimes I like to go for a more subtle approach; other times I like bigger, bolder designs.  A lot like life, really.

We tend to think of "Life" as the big, bold moments, but really when you think about it, Life is made up of all those small moments that we tend to gloss over.

Like yesterday, the brief glimpse of the plum tree, wreathed in a crowning glory of luminous white blossoms as the spear of sunlight arrowed through the clouds, just at the moment I glanced out my kitchen window.

The warp on the loom right now is one of those quiet, subtle ones.  Really hard to get a good photo of it in the loom.  The colours/values of the warp and weft threads are very close, making it difficult to see the actual design being woven.

Is this a 'waste of time' because no one will really 'see' it?

Not to me.

And I think of all our ancient ancestors, who did not have 'power' tools, but only sweat equity, who laboured long hours to make useful tools, beautiful.  

So many people condemn those ancient ancestors as being ignorant, or sub-human, when the only difference was that they did not have the tools we have today - and which *we* would not have if it weren't for the fact that we build on what has been done before we came along.  Without our ancient ancestors we wouldn't have, well, *us*.

Anyone who has read history (and it is becoming painfully apparent that too few of 'modern' folk have actually read any history at all), will understand that people 2-10,000 years ago were pretty much the same as we are today.

There are clay tiles with letters written complaining about bad landlords, bad employees, poor weather, natural disasters - the list goes on and on.  We are very little different from our ancient ancestors when we stop and think about it for more than a second.

While artifacts of pottery, metal, glass, even some wood, are fairly commonly preserved, textiles are less so.  It's only recently - as in the past 60 or so years - that researchers bothered to preserve the tiny scraps of yarn/textiles that might be left in the sites they were researching.  Because until recently - as in the 1920s or so, all textiles were made from fibre sources that would degrade back into the soil.  

Now we have a plethora of petroleum based fibres that will live on forever, polluting the ground and water.  

What little knowledge we have of ancient textiles is based largely on depictions in art - pottery, metal, statues, etc.  While more and more people are beginning to pay attention to these rare textile finds, over and over again, I realize that textiles are discovered, or overlooked by many.  I hope that changes before what few fragments are left disappear entirely.

But in the meantime, I work with my yarns, and sometimes I do big, bold textiles, and sometimes, I do quiet, subtle ones.

I'm looking forward to getting these woven and wet finished.  I think they are going to be quite lovely tea towels, in their quiet subtle way.  The reed marks will probably not disappear entirely, but I won't pay any mind to those.  The reed marks in this cloth will be a reminder, a 'ghost' of the loom left in the cloth to remind me that human hands worked with tools to create it.  And human hands will use it to do mundane things, like dry dishes.  

But hopefully as the owner of the towels uses them, they will bring some sense of pleasure to the mundane.  Like that spear of light, illuminating the crown of white blossoms.   Fleeting, but still there.

1 comment:

Meg said...

I'm a fan of fine designs/patterns, because I'm convinced some, if not all, of the owners of these textiles will see them, sometimes after years of owning the pieces, and think, "Oh, my, isn't that lovely?" And even if they don't, it's a nice thought that keeps me weaving.

The neglect of weaving and woven pieces of old, I believe, is partially due to historian's view that textile was women's work. Which it wasn't always. Also that textiles don't survive as well as metal, stone, pottery, or even leather and wood (unconsciously?) devalues textiles. Even though stones from spindles remain, not so much looms and loom parts.