Thursday, October 22, 2015

woven into fine print

hand-knitted & hand-sewn clothing, from woven into fine print (2015)

I never know whether I should keep this blog completely separate from my online art portfolio, especially when there's considerable overlap in the material, but here's a shot from my first solo exhibition that featured the 4 linen & linen blend pieces I made for my line'n'form series.

I'm primarily a printmaker - I work in intaglio and woodcut relief - but I'm finding that there are so many parallels to be drawn between the processes with which I engage; that there are many similarities to be found between the printmaking and the textile work I do, whether I think of it in terms of "fine art" or as making myself something I would like to have. I hesitate to say "craft" because that carries so much weight, and also because it sounds to me almost inferior by definition to "art", which is something I do not want to endorse, as I think craft exists in its own right apart from art, rather than along a hierarchical continuum, if you will, with it.

On that note, I'm currently reading A Theory of Craft by Howard Risatti. I also really want to read Thinking Through Craft by Glenn Adamson, but it's always borrowed whenever I go to the library. I could put it on hold, but I also have about 10 other books out already, all on the subjects of textiles, art, and craft, so it seems like it'd be in bad taste for me to simply hold onto it when others want to read it also. I recently finished The Craft of Zeus, which talks about the role weaving takes in ancient Greece (and Rome). It explores the way the actual process of weaving was used as a metaphor for politics, how weaving existed within language, both poetic and lay, and other topics I can't remember off the top of my head. There's quite a number of pages that have been marked for revisiting and note-taking before I return it to the library, and I'm now patting myself on the back for getting those book darts on impulse.

One of the things I really want to know is: from what I understand, the Fates spin the weft thread that determines your life (your fate/destiny/whatever you may), weaves it through the (white) warp, and cuts it to finish off your life - whence do the warp threads come? what are they made of/spun from? on that matter, what is the weft spun from? why white? It almost feels as though the warp is determined, beyond the Fates, and represents the web of existence as it is - even the Fates cannot lay their hands on that. What they can do, then, is determine how each person is woven into the fabric of the world, how they are affected by it, how the warp is effected by the person, and how much of those interactions to allow. Hence the weft. I have to do a lot more research on the topic before I can draw any real conclusion about this though. If anyone is knowledgeable about this subject, I would appreciate it a lot if you would guide me in the right direction in terms of reading material (or if anyone has the answer, with or without the research references, that'd be cool too!).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Loom (Fairy) Dust

Lots and lots
 I found these pictures in my folders. Taken very recently, right after I took my Nilec off the table to take pictures using the table. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I get an incredible amount of dust under the loom no matter what I'm weaving with. Even the really smooth cone yarns shed to create this dust-footprint under both my looms whenever I weave for a while. And this isn't just my Nilec, it's also my AKL and Sandy (the floor loom). I didn't realize weaving generated so much detritus.

It kind of forms a pattern, doesn't it?
I wonder, if I collected all the remains and carded and spun them back into yarn, how much I would get back?

And just in case the dust in the above two photos is a little difficult to discern, here's one that's been auto-contrast adjusted on Photoshop:

Somewhat disturbing higher contrast version of the loom dus


Monday, October 12, 2015

(Because I forgot)

Just Sandy. On her pedestal.
The one thing I wanted to say in the last post but forgot right after I started detailing stuff, was a huge thank you to Travis Meinolf for releasing his loom plans onto the interwebs! Despite all my grumbling, I really appreciate that it was available for me to use - and for free! - or I might not have even tried to build my own loom and thus make my first foray into woodworking!

Friday, October 9, 2015

First Woodworking Project Looming Over Me

Yes, I am sitting on a table with my loom in the printmaking studio.

Or rather, it was looming over me up until I got it to work just yesterday! I ran into so many issues because I've never set up a floor loom before, and as you might be able to see, the lams and pedals don't all hang at the same height, so I'm obviously still no expert.

I followed Travis Meinolf's Loom Plans (as I discussed here), which I must stress is in beta mode; what I'm trying to get at, more specifically, is that if you follow the materials list to the T, you will not be able to build a loom as per the instructions. Make sure to read through everything two or three times and make sure you know why he's telling you to drill a hole somewhere, or when to affix things to the frame, because you'll have the lam pivot in the frame before putting the lams on, as well as have 6 lams for a 4-harness counterbalance loom. Oh, and you'll be missing 4 pieces of 75cm long wood. You'll also run out of 4mm screws. This is definitely not to try to discourage anyone from building their own loom using his plans - it's actually pretty easy, all things considered! - but just a cautionary note so you don't end up having 6 lams and missing a couple of wood pieces. If I can make this as my first ever woodworking project, I can assure anyone that they can most likely do it too. Probably better.

I got all of the wood cut down to size at Home Depot, which is where I purchased all the lumber. I went to Home Hardware for the nuts/bolts, etc. and got the threaded rod cut at school. I cannot stress enough that you should get threaded rod for the front and back beams! Or at least the front one, because that's where I sat to thread my heddles. It's a bit awkward sitting from the front and leaning over, as well as being very damaging for the back, so when I finally gave in and sat inside the loom on the front beam, I was surprised to find that it held my weight quite well. I'm not sure if that's the design feature or if it just happened that way, but there's a good reason for using threaded rod and not a dowel or something weaker.

Her name's Sandy. Not that she's been sanded.

My loom wobbles a bit from side to side because I didn't follow one of the instructions (drilling two holes/side into the front and back beams instead of one/side, in order to make the frame not sway from side to side - not a huge issue, but something to do differently). I had so. much. trouble. trying to get the pedals to actually bring the harnesses down using lobster claw clips (of the jewellery variety, so it's not like the instructions were the issue) that I ended up just taking them all out and tying string to connect the lams and the pedals. Works like a dream. Did I also mention that while I was trying to test out pedals, the s-hooks popped out twice? Let me explain that a bit: the s-hooks hold up the top two dowels. If they pop out, all the harnesses drop down. Somehow my warp made it through more or less fine though, so I guess all is well!

A look from below

As you can see, my tension is pretty all over the place, in part because I lashed on and couldn't figure out for the life of me how to get even tension by adjusting the string all around, and in part because after I introduced the clasped-weft at the red part, one side became thicker than the other. That being said: it weaves!

From above

I swear it doesn't look quite this bad in real life, the tension issues! Also, I think they reflect more on the poor quality of my ability to lash on to the front rod than on the loom, so. I would recommend making this if you're thinking about it and sitting on the fence a bit. I have never built anything like this before - like I said, it's my first woodworking project - so the fact that my loom can weave at all is a miracle. I'm sure anyone else can do a whole lot better. Even still, I'm incredibly happy with my new loom! I've named her Sandy.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


laceweight skirt in the makings
Experimenting with lace
So I've been swatching, playing around with a combination of a couple of lace patterns from Knittingfool, a free online lace directory. Thinking of twirly skirts, but I'm not sure whether lace-weight is a touch too sheer. If there's enough volume, it should be fine, though, so it'll just have to be the twirliest of twirly skirts. I don't think anyone will mind.