Saturday, July 31, 2010

Plan of Attack

The latest plan of attack is to focus on the Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving. I feel nervous even typing this, but I think it's worth tackling, and I am excited about the research and learning that will be involved.

The odd thing about weaving is that it is an art form, but one that is embedded in precision, methodical planning and execution, and exactitude in implementation. Meaning that you have to do a lot of very careful planning and lots of detailed, fiddly work before you even get close to the craft-art elements. As evidence, a loom on the way to being warped for weaving:
Many small movements are involved: measuring the warp on the warping board, tying it with choke ties so that the threads stay in order, winding the warp onto the loom, threading it through the heddles, then threading it through the reed, tying it onto the cloth beam at the front of the loom, spreading the warp evenly, and then, finally, starting to weave what you set out to weave. And this doesn't include every step, which actually starts with choosing what to weave, the pattern you will use, the length of the warp and the sett, or density...well, it does go on and on.

The ultimate reward is the weaving itself: rhythmic, meditative, and at the end, you have something tactile, beautiful, and useful. What will be interesting about preparing for the COE is learning to have patience for all the preparation involved. And confidence that I'm going about this with some small amount of understanding: there's plenty of interpretation-wiggle room, despite the very concrete specificity of instructions from the Handweavers Guild of America, which sponsors the COE.

So, current plan of attack:
Step 1: start work on the research needed for the written portion.
Step 2: finish warping the loom for the twill variation sampler.
Step 3: start researching materials and techniques for the tapestry sampler.
Current deadline: Fall 2012!

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