Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One deadline met... next one coming up!

I drove to Winston-Salem on Monday to deliver my piece for the Piedmont Craftsmen exhibit, "Inspired Reuse"--that's a a five + hour trip from here and it was the price I had to pay for not being able to complete the weaving in time to get it shipped! I'm a slow learner--the lesson of how long will it take to finish a piece is one that I have to learn over and over again. Of course, "finishing" doesn't mean just taking the weaving off the loom--if only it did! If I were a potter, I'd open the kiln and take out the glazed pot and it would be done. Ok, I know there's a lot to the process of getting the thing in the kiln in the first place--I'm not implying the potter has it easy. But I thought I'd just whine for a while.

My completed piece was quite different than I'd intended. Once I got it off the loom so I could see the entire thing, 12" x 60" that combined pick and pick with rya, I realized the idea I'd had didn't work. The rya and the pick and pick were too different. It might have been resolved if the colors of the handwoven fabric used for the pick and pick had been more similar to that in the rya. But...

After stewing over that for a day and a night, I took the leap of cutting the two apart. I stitched one line of machine zig-zag stitches into the pick and pick fabric, to give about 6" of warp once I unravelled some of the fabric. That part of the warp that was now the new end of the rya was given a half Damascus edge and then turned back on itself to be hand hemmed as a thin rolled edge. The loom waste was at the opposite end and that I also did half Damascus edge with, and another finish from Collingwood along with thick braids. As it turns out, after trying different hanging ideas I hid those braided ends to the inside.

I began to try different ways to hang the piece so that it would be three-dimensional. My husband suggested that I try a wall mount that had been used for another art work, one that had a metal bracket extending several inches from a wooden hanging device. After padding the bracket and shaping a rounded knob, I placed the rya over it.

Now the piece hangs as a soft cone, rounded at the top and ending with a flattened edge. It's 12" at the bottom edge, about 4" at the top, 36" long and 6" deep. I liked the shaping of the rya and happy to have taken my husband's suggestion in this case (don't always follow his advice but I respect it). The title is "Rethinking the Colors of My World."

So, let's total up the lessons learned with this challenge:

1. DON'T OVERESTIMATE the time available for making, finishing and delivering work for an exhibit.

2. REMEMBER, It takes WAY longer to reuse from yarn bundles of past works than to take directly from the source. Great idea to reuse and why I've been saving all the weft tail ends for twenty years... but, it takes TIME to unwind butterflies, recombine in new color arrangements, match lengths, etc.

3. Designing on the fly ISN'T the best way for me to work, especially when the resulting weaving is being wound onto the cloth beam and out of sight.

4. DON'T hesitate to say the design isn't working and try to adapt once it's off the loom and can be seen!

5. And, after all... it's only time that's being spent. Not time wasted, time spent. I hope to make use of the pick and pick portion I cut off as either a portfolio cover or a bag... certainly will be sturdy enough for that!

Now... next deadline... late May for the SEFEA exhibit at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Plenty of time....


  1. I'm glad to see you find a way to work with what you have! It does take longer to reuse/recycle materials. It can be worth it, but it can be more of a labor of love. I love the piece and hope to see it in person!

  2. Your piece has turned out amazing. I love the yellow, it has the appearance of uncontainable light.
    And "time spent, not wasted" needs to be engraved onto my forehead!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I really like the final piece. It has a vessel look to it. Makes me think of what a rya 'pot' would look like - gorgeous colors too. I agree totally with your design adaptations.
    I try to use thrums from large tapestries in the small pieces. I challenge myself to choose from what is there, and not to re-wind combinations. It sometimes makes me be more adaptive, which can be a good thing.
    Aren't deadlines wonderful?!

  4. I love the way you turned this into a sculptural piece. The colors are beautiful. Not sure I totally understand the bracket part, but the result is great. To me, limits always make us more creative.