We who are weavers by choice are so far removed from the back breaking hard work that is needed to make fabric on the scale that it is consumed in our society today. Yes, industrial looms are pounding out the millions of yards needed for the majority of our fabric needs. But there are still individuals in the mills, daily working with the cloth. And there are still thousands producing by hand and very hard labor the more specialized cloth we use daily.
Are there other products of our daily lives that we take for granted more than the textiles that clothe us, that cover us at night, that wipe our mouths--then our dishes after we've eaten, that cushion our steps, that shield the sun from our eyes at our windows, that even are with us as we fly into space? If there are I'm not aware of it. Textiles, cloth, weaving... the products of an elemental process: the interlacement of threads. In classes I usually point out that the creation myths of several peoples have weaving at the core. Anne Wilson has taken the complexities of weaving and reduced them to the very basics as she presents her exhibit. She's had yarns donated from many sources, being wound into paper quills by visitors to the exhibit (she also has the visitors making the quills). She's assembled a work force of volunteer weavers from across the Southeast (and points beyond) to do the weaving of a plain weave cloth. Plain weave, the simplest of structures, becomes the basis for this beautiful banded fabric that many weavers are having a hand in creating. I'm so glad to be having a chance to be part of this cloth by my days of weaving.
Here are more shots from today; it was Monday and the museum was closed to visitors so I wove alone for about five hours. Nick came in to hang bobbins in the morning but otherwise there was no activity in the gallery other than my weaving and when the curator, Chris, came to check with me once this afternoon. Tomorrow will be a different story and, from what I read today in the weavers' log, there are frequent and vocal visitors! More about it all tomorrow.