Posts Tagged 'CA1-P4-P9-S4'

Project 9 Stage 4 – part 2

See my post of 6-Nov-2012 for the initial work on this stage. It was fairly well progressed, but with a major question mark about how well I could create shapes in the planned scale of the weaving plus a big gap in process with no yarn wrapping done.
The first question was resolved pretty easily. I put on my cotton warp and did a quick, temporary sample with the yarn bundles already developed. The angular shaping I wanted worked quite well and with a fairly wide sett I was able to get good coverage of the warp with my yarn bundles. (I just left the un-needed warp ends pushed to the side).
Encouraged by this I went on to do a full yarn wrapping. This photo shows the original photo combination, the wrapping, plus a separate card to help me reproduce the yarn bundles. Clearly some of my colour mixes are quite different to the photo.
Maybe they didn’t match the printed photo, but what about the photo on my computer screen, other photos from the island, and most importantly colours in my head from having been there just a few weeks ago? There are different colours in a couple of the build-up sketches I did where I had stepped away from the original images into a more geometric arrangement. Add into all of that the colours that I think will look good together in a woven piece. My choice was to regard the photos as part of the inspiration and a guide, but not a “source of truth”. This turned out to be an ongoing battle during the weaving – holding on to my rather abstracted design and not reverting to a more literal approach.
The finished work is about 41cm by 12 cm. It’s irregular in shape, but that’s less apparent in real life. Also the orange areas at the bottom are strong but don’t shout as they do in the photo.
Generally I’ve been able to get the diagonal lines that I wanted. The image is more recognisable than I intended. I think the mixing of the yarns bundles worked well. At a distance there are clear blocks of colour (except for a mid-blue group in the middle below the point which is indistinguishable from the slightly darker blue to its left). Close up there is lots of interest when you can see the individual colours. Close or distant, the mixing provides good texture that works for both the granite and the water. I chose not to add any extra textural elements with soumak – it would have been out of scale and I think an awkward interruption to the main image. Plus it would be technically difficult – at times I had four weft bundles working at once, all creating different diagonals, and that was quite enough to think about.
It was interesting to experience the impact of the preparation process. The early part of the weaving went fairly easily, even though I was still learning technique. However I hadn’t fully resolved the shapes around the rockpool in any of my sketches, largely because I didn’t have the experience to know what I would find possible in practice. In the event I was able to get some nice shapes – in particular that triangle of blacks and greys coming in from the left.
The area near the top has a couple of horizontals, particularly the shore line of the distant island. This makes the work much more readable as an image and horizontals in the water were part of my original plan. On balance I like the variety it gives – but it would be interesting to see a version that continued diagonals throughout.
This photo shows the inspiration photo, the final work and the sketch which first showed me how I could use the inspiration in a piece of weaving. To me it illustrates a bit more clearly my reasons or process in moving quite far from the photo colours, particularly in the foreground granite and lichen.
The course notes have questions on specific areas of the project at this point.
* Variety of yarns and other materials, and impact on look and feel of samples.
In the early stages (posted 14-Oct-2012) I used a variety of “standard” yarns – wools, bundled yarns, fancy knitting yarns and torn strips of cloth. In my larger sample in stage 3 (posted 21-Oct-2012) I re-purposed materials from hardware and jewllery-findings stores, plus spun various papers and kitchen goods. My final sample from that stage (posted 26-Oct-2012) was largely newspaper, neoprene and insect screen. The sample from stage 4, shown in this post, returned to more traditional yarns – a wide variety of natural and man-made yarns bundled together. To my surprise weaving accepts, accommodates, tames and unifies them all. There is beautiful visual texture from the newspaper, forming my pebbly beach. Creating the yarn bundles above posed different challenges to spinning newspaper, but the results were just as effective in their own way in suggesting a rugged shoreline. In my weaving in the past the specific materials were critical – for example the combination of 20/2 silk and a laceweight Cashmerino (70% merino, 30% cashmere) in a deflected doubleweave scarf (posted 25-Oct-2009) to create a beautiful texture by taking advantage of their different properties in washing. I wouldn’t want to wash any of these new weavings!
* Weaving compared to other techniques.
This was not weaving-as-I-knew-it, but I still found it very enjoyable and absorbing. I love the whole idea of creating cloth; that the image or pattern is integral to the very substance of the result, not just added in or painted on. It seems more personal, more thoroughly an expression of my self. It could be seen as slow, but french knots are slower. It could be seen as repetitive, but especially with this style of weaving I was making decisions and watching for possibilities all the time – although in honesty I enjoy the repetitive, alert meditation of “standard” weaving. It has its limits, as does everything – for example I abandoned my ideas about grasses on a beach. I’m really looking forward to combining weaving with other techniques more.
* Aspects of the final sample.
The quick answer is that I like it very much. The proportions work well with the diagonal design and the depth of image that I wanted. I think the textures work well, and there is a variation that supports and enhances the design. The lumpy, uneven shape is distracting – a combination of poor technique and differences in thickness of the yarn bundles, plus my choice of equipment could be a factor. I wouldn’t want to change the yarn bundles, but better technique, experience and slowing down a bit could help. There’s an area just below the outcrop of rock where I intended different shapes, but my yarn choice was poor and two of the shapes merge. The fix there is clear! Also as mentioned above it would be interesting to try a version that stepped further from the original image into a more pure play of colour and angles.
* Design process.
It’s quite clear to me that I got a better result by attending to the design process. I did _not_ want to do the yarn wrapping. I felt I had done a few trials and that going further would be just a formality with no particular benefit. Instead I found it helped me to focus and identify problems in my initial yarn bundles. Based on the wrapping I made a number of improvements as I went. One that didn’t work was in the blue area already mentioned. With hindsight I should have done a second wrapping or adjusted the first until I was completely happy. At the time I felt I was getting stale and would loose enthusiasm for and interest in the actual weaving.
* Working from source material versus putting colours together intuitively.
In the past I have thought of a theme (say “hydrangeas”), looked through some photos, but made the actual yarn choices from memory and emotion rather than carefully analysing source material. In the final sample I enjoyed the hybrid approach (apart from concerns about not meeting the assignment brief). Careful experimentation and planning allowed me to refine choices and correct mistakes. That didn’t work entirely, but I think I prefer to risk a few mistakes (aka learning opportunities) rather than rigidly locking in choices and not having the flexibility to respond to the work in front of me. There were some colour problems in both my final sample and the seaweed/stoney beach sample – but I think experience will help me avoid similar problems in the future.
Re-reading the above, I see quite a bit of conflict in my responses. Do a second wrapping to refine colour choices, but risk errors to allow flexibility. Well, I’ve long thought that consistency is over-rated. More seriously, I feel there is enjoyment and risk in both approaches. I wouldn’t want to rule out either.

Project 9 Stage 4 process check

It was interesting to hear how important Process is in Ruark Lewis’s work (blog post 4-Nov-2012). It’s also very important in the OCA course – we not only have to produce work, we have to show our design process and the decisions we’ve made to reach our final product. Actually I think the word “process” has extra nuances that I don’t yet understand.

I’ve been working on this final stage of Project 9 for a couple of weeks now and have yet to touch the loom. I’ve changed tack a few times, and feel the need to take stock of the process so far, check that I’m happy with my choices and (not un-importantly!) check that what I’m doing meets the project requirements.

The task is to develop design ideas into weaving of a large sample piece. Two approaches are given:
Approach 1: Analyse colour, texture and proportion in source material or sketch(see post 7-Sept-2012 at the beginning of this Assignment to see my past attempts at that). Make a yarn wrapping. Develop into stripes on graph paper. Weave. Of course there’s lots more detail / suggestions / instructions / guidance than that.
Approach 2: A more intuitive approach. Select a word – exotic, tribal, rural… Make a storyboard of images. Select areas, thinking about colour, proportions, energy. Select yarns and make a wrapping. Add to mood board, adjust until it expresses the mood of your chosen word. Plan and sequence roughly. Weave to interpret the ideas and express the mood of the word.

I had enjoyed working with the photo of seaweed in the previous stage (see post 26-Oct-2012), so decided to use “coastal” as my theme word.

Of course there’s a lot of different “coastal”, and at first I wanted to stay on the same beach on King Island. To keep it fresh and different I left the seaweed and moved focus to the water and especially some grasses.

So I did a little sketching of the grasses, and tried out some yarns that might work, and pinned them up with photos and other bits and pieces I thought could work in a mood board. I liked the idea of horizontal stripes of colour and texture in the sand, sea, distant island and sky, but I wanted to get that movement and interest of grass across the image or at least some kind of graphic element based on them that would add an extra layer of interest. I dug out weaving books and samples, was wondering how far I could stretch danish medallions, how else to get diagonal lines… then realised not only was I getting lost in technicalities of weaving, but weaving really isn’t the right process or technique for the image in my head, or at least be only one component of it. Plus it would be a nice change to have some more colour. Time to step back and regroup.

Going through photos from my recent trip (blog post 7-Oct-2012) I was struck by the ones above from Flinders Island. Although the colours look quite different, they were taken maybe 100 metres and 15 minutes apart.
A quick sketch (badly photographed in late afternoon light last weekend) looked promising. I liked the combination of colours and the level of abstraction.

I used gimp to combine elements of the two photos, then drew a more careful plan for the potential weaving. (Sorry, another poor photo).

Earlier in Stage 1 I really liked the effect I got when using a dozen or so fine threads of similar colours together (post 14-Oct-2012). I could create different bundles for each shape, and use more textured yarns in the closer areas to help suggest some depth and change through the weaving without being too literal.
Which has brought me to a worktable covered in yarn candidates, some sample yarn bundles, and a series of mood boards taking over a corner of the room.

So the current plan is:
* long thin warp, a smooth cotton and fiddle with sett to get good coverage by weft
* yarn bundles following colours in combined photo. Boucles and thicker yarns, mostly matt (wools etc) in close rocks. Finer, smoother yarns behind and more shine. Little or no wool in water.
* Maybe a few extra bits of yarns here and there – eg for waves
* Limited additional texture in the actual weaving – mostly plain weave, perhaps a bit of soumak or bumps over a knitting needle here and there.
* I’d like to get the shapes in my drawing, but may not be able to make them sharp and the slopes nice given the scale of the weaving. If necessary I will change to stripes, but follow proportions and colours as planned. Either way I’m planning horizontal bands for the water and sky – it fits with the image better and provides a contrast the the angular rocks.

Writing this has confirmed my suspicion that I haven’t followed either of the suggested processes, it’s been more of a mixture. However I feel I have analysed colour, texture and proportions and I have selected at least some of the yarns, I have a fairly clear plan (and backup plan) for the actual weaving, and I have mood board(s) in progress. The one thing that was emphasised in both approaches that I haven’t done is a careful yarn wrapping. I’m hesitating because I want to see my first bundle or two on the loom – I don’t want to commit to creating a full set until I know if I need to adjust size and composition of bundles to get the effect I want in the weaving.

I feel quite encouraged by this review, and confident that I’ve done enough to be able to warp and start weaving. For an extra layer of mood board, I’ll finish with a few more photos taken on the very beautiful Trousers Point on Flinders Island. The rock is actually an apricot coloured granite, with bands of orange lichen. Many of the views are across the waters of Franklin Sound, to the mountains of Cape Barren Island.


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