One of my projects this fall is to do some weaving. Part of this will be for a gift later this fall so I definitely needed to get started on this since I have to do my weaving in little bits at a time.
Of course, the cats find this all very entertaining. Below, Rory is right in the middle of all the action.
A couple of weeks ago, I planned out the project and did my calculations. It’s a 22″ wide 8-shaft twill pattern gamp out of 8/2 cotton. Translation: am using a neutral rosy beige somewhat fine cotton warp (lengthwise threads) that is being set up to weave a variety of patterns without changing the threading (time-consuming setup part), just change what my feet on the treadles are doing. By changing the treadling pattern and weft color (across threads on shuttle) I should be able to get several very different looking pieces of cloth out of the same set up.
This weekend I measured out all my threads (274 ends x 6 yards each) and prepared the warp chain (way of keeping everything neat and bundled to avoid tangles). I’ve started threading through the reed, one thread per dent (slot). The reed is what is moved back and forth to pack down the weft. I work in small groups of threads at a time since I sometimes only have a few minutes here and there, and even sitting right there, I don’t completely trust one of the cats not to jump up and accidentally pull threads out.
Below, I am half done threading the reed. The warp chain (larger bundle of threads) is wrapped loosely around the breast beam while I’m threading so its hanging weight won’t pull on threads as I’m working.
Below is a close-up of the reed and my very specialized tool (old plastic card) I use to thread through the reed. Notice the loose knots behind the reed. This way, even a cat jumping on the wrong thing, I won’t lose my work, just maybe a few minutes at the worst. Later, I’ll undo them when I’m ready for the next step (threading heddles for my pattern).
I’m getting my long neglected blog going again, so this is a sort of test-post from my cell phone. We’ll see how this goes…So check out my little clay pot I made. Cute, eh? Made it to hold teabags when drinking hot tea or holding yarn scraps while I’m working on a project.
This little beauty is my first finished piece I’ve brought home from my pottery class I’m taking on Saturday mornings. This is the second of two pieces I threw on the pottery wheel my first day. (First piece still in progress, more elaborate.)
Huge for me because the is the third time I’ve tried to take a pottery class, but the first time I ever made friends with the wheel. Not as easy as it looks. I tend to pick up artsy stuff pretty easily, and pottery is something I’ve always felt like I’d really like and could become good at with practice…but never got the hang of the wheel at all. There’s a lot of subtlety and nuance to it, and is very tactile, which is a common thread in most of the things I like to do. Just never got past an initial critical step before (centering). Thwarted until now.Cool stuff can be done with handbuilding but last time I took pottery (7 years ago maybe) I was in a different creative mental space and lacked inspiration. Now I’ve got oodles of ideas and plans for both wheel-thrown and hand-built projects.The other interesting thing I’ve noticed is over the last several years I’m in a creative phase where my ideas for one medium are really cross-pollinating with a completely different medium.The last couple of years, instead of having separate sketchbooks for different medium ideas, I just keep one central sketchbook that I brain-dump every idea or image that bubbles to the surface with no particular thought of how I’ll execute it until much later. This has turned out to be enormously helpful with things blending and melding. I deliberately don’t put a lot of notes with the sketches and unless I’m refining the lines of something to use, I often draw only vaguely and later it’ll spark an idea.Sometimes I’ll get in a creative groove where a certain look or motif keeps reappearing. For the last couple of years I’ve been in this curvilinear phase, clean lines but organic shapes. Also swirly viney stuff. And I really like the Tree of Life motif (amazing how many culture’s artwork if appears in). I also really am drawn to representations of hands…I think they represent potential to me. Especially craggy gnarled calloused ones…there’s history there and they have their story.I have several fall projects in the works (clay, weaving, stained glass), and even though they’re not all wire jewelry (my main weekday activity and work), it seems like all the different creative efforts, ideas, and mediums are creating this neat synergy that’s boosting each one.Very interesting. Like today I had an idea to use some of the Edwardian-style jewelry images I’ve been researching for a wire jewelry project to decorate a clay project…there’s some beatiful bold but delicate lines with the antique Edwardian jewelry I found online that will lend gorgeous curves and sweeps. It’s the period before Art Deco (sweeping, but more delicate), so you have an idea how it looks.Anyway, back to my little pot pictured above. So that first day of class when I finally made friends with the wheel (and yes, totally in love with pottery now), I made two pots that actually came out nice and didn’t look like a third-grader made them. Tickled to death. I came home after class and told David, “I made a Thing! Not a…thing.” Coolness.So it might not look like much, but this little pot represents success after many intermittent years of poor frustrating attempts. And a punctuation mark for this current very interesting period of creativity.