Ocean – Out of the Blue

I’m a member of the Australian Textile Arts & Surface Design Association, known as ATASDA (pronounced a-TAZ-dah, but work on the aussie accent). It’s a great group – but I would say that since currently I’m national president and acting webmaster.

ATASDA has an exhibition coming up in Sydney in a few weeks, Out of the Blue. I wanted to weave something reminiscent of the ocean, the changing colours, the movement of the water. Shadow weave was suggested to me as a possibility. I’d never heard of it, so went hunting on the internet and found on the Pioneer Valley Weavers’ Guild a great article including a draft which had just the look I wanted (see the September 2004 archive). I’m assuming that if people make a wif file available, they are happy to have people use the draft. Of course my next challenge was that I didn’t have weaving software and had never seen a wif before in my life. So I openned it in Notepad and tried to make sense of it. I played in Excel until I had something I understood and liked – and I really don’t know if I was actually able to recreate the original draft or not, but it worked for me.

Yarn is the wool/merino blend again, dyed using Lanaset dyes. 22.5 x 186 cm. I sampled at 15 epi but didn’t like it so went to 16 epi – I was amazed at the difference such a small change can make.

The original idea was to make the scarf as a large sample, then go on to make a wallhanging, being a bit more adventuresome with inclusions of extras in the weaving, maybe some clasped weft to really push the idea of the shifting currents and colours of the ocean… My final bit of playing at the end of the warp was fun, but convinced me that the wallhanging I envisaged wouldn’t work. Clicking on the small thumbnail will show the blocky look the scarf gets when flat, as for hanging. The extra “realism” I was intending, with flecks of foam on the waves (undyed, unspun fragments of silk hankies) just didn’t make sense in that formal structure.

I also need to learn to put time where it will make a difference. I mixed 8 blues/greens/purples for the dark yarn (warp and weft) and a different 8 for the light. Depth and complexity or minor variations invisible to the viewer? It doesn’t matter too much, I like my result and enjoyed the process, plus mission fulfilled – when I first wore the scarf to work a colleague (ex-Navy) took one look and said “Ocean!”.

5 Responses to “Ocean – Out of the Blue”


  1. 1 anne July 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    It always offends me when NSW craft groups call themselves ‘Australian …’

    ATASDA was NSW-only until recently, and there are similar groups in most other States and Territories – which don’t call themselves by the grandiose name of ‘Australian’.

  2. 2 fibresofbeing July 27, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Anne

    ATASDA has members in every state plus the mainland territories. We have branches in NSW and Queensland offering meetings, workshops and more. Our exhibitions, challenges etc attract member entries from across Australia and we’re doing more and more via the internet. So “Australian” is an accurate description.

    ATASDA’s objectives include
    * To promote, foster, develop & advance textile and fibre arts.
    * To promote interaction and co-operation between textile artists and all artists using dye, pigments, stitch and/or manipulative techniques for fibre and fabric decoration.
    * To conduct and promote lectures, discussions, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops, or any other activity designed to instruct or promote textile art.

    We don’t see ourselves as a “craft group”, although that’s one element of what we offer members.

    It’s true that ATASDA was founded in Sydney in 1974 as “The Batik Association”. It’s evolved and had a number of name changes over the years to reflect that.

    Everything that expands textile lovers opportunities and makes textile and fibre arts visible to the wider community is good in my book.

    Did you see on our website (www.atasda.org.au) the Art Textiles conference we’re presenting in September with the support of COFA? It should be a really interesting and stimulating day – open to all. Details and the registration form are on the website, and you’d be welcome to join us (even if just for the day!).

    Cheers
    Judy


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