On silver thimbles and beautiful tools

Having the tools you need to do your work is a way of telling yourself that your work is important. We all know how to make do and get by. Making do can be a great well-spring for invention. Coming to your workspace each day, however, and handling your tools that support you and carry you along through the dark and the rough is a reminder that your art has worth.

Do you have a favourite tool at this moment? Appreciate all it does for you.

Have you been postponing your work for lack of a functional tool? Sharpen your scissors. Borrow a friend’s palette knives. Start a fresh notebook.

The photograph above is a bespoke silver thimble cast in honour of those who crusade with Magic & Medicine. Beautiful tools, like the thimble, are our invitation to pick up the needle.

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.

Honest stories, bare struggles (Weaving Project iv)

What do you lose by making or watching a time-lapse film of a long-term, complicated work? While it can be an amusing gimmick to witness the making of a two-year work in under a minute, what is the cost to process, art, knowledge, truth?

Do we want to throw away our honest lived time for the sake of cuteness?

What about making a film of only your struggles with a work? All the stalls. All the unpicking, unravelling, undoing? All the false-starts that are behind every grand experiment?

What about a film of only you in flow, where there is no time? A film of your hands in motion with a small knit of your brow in the joyous discomfort of uncertainty?

Time-lapse films are a lie. Be certain they are a lie you want to tell about your work.

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.

 

Textile Sports (Weaving Project i)

There are multiple versions of the Greek myth of Arachne; a mortal woman bestowed with the gift of artful weaving.

In each version Arachne and the goddess Athena engage in a weave-off.

Competitive tapestry (weft-faced weaving on a loom) is not the national sport of anywhere. Perhaps its time has come?

 

 

Mending

The word ‘mend’ is a shortened version of the word ‘amend’. From Latin it means to free from fault. We use the word, today, in two senses. It can mean ‘to repair’ but it can also mean ‘to cure’.

An on-going aspect of Dianne’s work is based around her philosophical mending project.

Dianne began mending in the way we are traditionally taught; to repair a textile so that it returns, as close as possible, to the original form. Invisible mending is often considered the most skillful form of mending.

Following this, Dianne developed a series of textiles that were mended in the fashion of kintsugi; drawing attention to the beauty of the repair and the new emergent form.

This led her to explore mending as ‘cure’, not ‘repair’. Dianne purchased new ‘fast fashion’ garments that were sold new but were in disrepair. Denim garments with fabricated holes are one example.

After sourcing new garments, she prepared them up in her studio, and mended them. The photograph above shows one example of denim mended with beautiful hand embroidery.

Why is this practice a cure and not a repair?

We cannot afford, environmentally, to denigrate new textiles. This is a poor use of our limited resources. If we view textiles and garments as investments, not consumables, we choose designs and techniques that prolong the productive life of the textile. We can, then, save our mending for repair.

An acorn book

Asemic writing in nature can be read in almost any natural phenomenon. Asemic writing can be read in a strike of lightning, in the cracks of sun-baked mud and in the clusters and lines of moving ants. Patterns in tree bark, winds howling through bare branches, the lining of a magpie’s nest can all be read for asemic writing and, often, a story or narrative emerges from the writing.

The Acorn book emerged from the idea of natural narratives and the already written. When closed, the acorn carpule (the book’s hat) sits in place over the pericarp (fruit wall). The pages are one section of sewn, hand-cut cold-pressed water colour paper. There is one set of end-papers which are visible under the additional strip of mull that was added for spine strength. Casing in would have been more tidy with an additional pair of end papers.

 

Acorn

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