Hot Ashes for Trees (Weaving Project v)

There are people out there who want to tell you that you are doing it wrong.

“That’s not how you do a French knot.”

“You shouldn’t angle your weft like that.”

“Seams are meant to be even and invisible.”

“The fibres ought to be properly fused.”

Do you have a response for the self-appointed textile police?

If not, practice one. You’ll need it. And don’t be afraid to invoke truth with a dash of aggressivity; it’ll make your work stronger.

The Physics of the Spell (Weaving Project iii)

Weaving is an act of creating tension. It is a process of working with and furthering a pulling force. In textile work it is the opposite of compression. Felting is an example of textile compression.

Weaving by hand on a loom is the act of making tapestry. This is a process of creating and holding force. So long as a finished textile remains intact the weaver’s force will be forever ‘entrapped’ within the work.

To be near a tapestry, physically, is an opportunity to read the force between the threads giving the piece that sense of liveliness we crave in our hand-wrought works.

 

Enoughness (Weaving Project ii)

There is never ‘not enough’ wherein idea drinks from the well of a work’s process.

In this large tapestry (in-progress pictured) Dianne works with only five colours of cotton yarn.

White.

Light grey.

Mid grey.

Dark grey.

Black.

This was both the artist’s chosen restriction and an externally forced constraint within the work.

Is the restriction to only five primary sources unworkable for a large scale design?

Nope.

The colour choices are more than five, as you can clearly see from the in-progress photograph.

Using either the primary source tones at their current ply, or by combining threads of ply from differing colours, Dianne can generate an excess of tonal potential; more tones than needed for this large work.

Possible tones from mixing threads from five colours of a five ply yarn will yield a minimum of 125 tones.

–125 tonal possibilities from five balls of yarn–

A 125 tones is not everything. It is better than everything. It is enough.

 

You have autonomy

Your autonomy, as the author of your ideas, is your locus of power. Autonomy is control over the form of your work. If you write, you do not have to write novels. If you sew, you do not have to sew garments. Your story, your ideas, your narrative, voice, words, thread will dictate their form to you.

Could The Bayeux Tapestry have been anything other than the form that it takes? Could it be other than seventy scenes embroidered on 68 metres of linen. No. Could The Merchant of Venice have been anything other than a tragicomedy? Could it be a three act play rather than five? No.

Your work—in textiles or text—shapes the commercial arm of your medium, not the other way round. For example, the long written narrative form we call ‘the novel’ did not emerge because Barnes & Noble needed merchandise they could sell for profit. No one held focus groups in the 4th century BCE to test if the long legs of an Etruscan bronze horse would sell well in Target. Crewel work, dying, carving, penning are activities done for the sake of themselves. That is their point, their purpose.

Some people scour fashion shows, or Kindle analytics, looking for the Next Big Thing; they chase trend waves to ride by producing passable commercial products generated for a market. Yes, there is a place in society for commercial needs to be fulfilled. Entertainment needs content. Let’s not, however, misname content production. Let’s not use words for content production like ‘weaving’, ‘writing’, ‘creating’ or ‘crafting’.

Write what has never been written before. Felt fibres that have never been struck before. Braid articles that have never been woven before. Make your own market.

 

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