Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inspired Reuse

"Inspired Reuse" is an exhibit sponsored by Piedmont Craftsmen, May 1-30. I've been working on a piece to send to that show for the past several weeks. Working... as in trying to figure out how to interpret reuse into something that would push my thinking. I've been struggling both with this idea and also how to manipulate the jacquard woven fabric for the exhibit of the SEFEA members. Dealing with developing new work for both exhibits at the same time has been taking my brain in divergent directions and has been a challenge.

For the recycle/reuse exhibit piece I quickly discarded thoughts of using plastic grocery bags as weft--done by many in much better ways than I could imagine. Of course, I wanted to use fiber methods for the work. But what could I reuse or recycle that would be innovative... at least innovative for my way of working. I posted earlier about my first attempts of using remnants of my handwoven fabric as weft strips.

I tried the idea on the tapestry loom first and after thinking about it for a day or so, I liked the effect. But I knew I probably wouldn't have enough of the handwoven to make as long a piece as I hoped to for the exhibit. What could I use to extend the fabric... I didn't want to use commercial fabric strips.

It occurred to me that the solution was already handy since I've had my boxes of left-over wefts from past tapestries out as I've been using that for my tapestry diary. Why not also use these assorted lengths and colors of the wool from my tapestries combined with the handwoven fabric in the recycle piece?

I warped the floor loom with linen rug warp (OK... that's not recycled--so my concept isn't "pure"), sett at 7.5 epi, threaded as straight draw. I knew I'd have to treadle basket weave to allow for the handwoven strips to be weft-faced, but I also wanted to separate areas of fabric with the wool yarn, used two-fold and in plain weave. I wove 25" of the handwoven strips alternating with the wool weft and realized that I'd be running out of the handwoven strips before I reached the 60" length I wanted for the hanging. That's when the rya began.

Now, the piece is just over 43" long and I'll weave with rya to the end of the warp. My intention is to hang the piece vertically with the rya end at the bottom as that will have both actual and visual weight. I haven't pre-planned much about the piece but I'm pleased with what's developing so far. I unrolled it for the first time today to show it to my friend, Pat Williams, who dropped by my studio for a visit. I think I'm going to like it! Now, I just have to finish it SOON and get it shipped off to Winston-Salem for the show.

The jacquard challenge is still pending. I'll finish that soon but tapestry weaving is in the near future! I can feel the urge growing and growing as ideas are beginning to pop around like corn kernels with the heat on. Maybe this "inspired re-use" push has been just the thing to break up the creative log jam for tapestry... I surely hope so!

1 comment:

  1. What fun to simply work with what is on hand! I can imagine it was satisfying to find a good home for all those ends!