For this Stage we are offered a choice of ways to approach producing a final weaving sample. Sample 1 suggests using a source image and producing a striped sample. Sample 2 suggests an intuitive approach using a word as inspiration. I found earlier work using words to suggest a mood very challenging so I decided to opt for Sample 1 – I know I could attempt both but, as always, I am pressed for time.
I chose this sketch I made in pastels (click on the image to enlarge), inspired by greetings card – bottom left which is a photograph by Steve Lovi. (Incidentally, I remember Lovi’s images being very popular back in the 1980s and he was the photographer for many of Kafe Fassett’s colourful books on embroidery and knitting but when I just tried to Google him, very little information seems to be available.) The colours in this image are very Spring-like and I especially love the Primulas. Once I started looking for yarns to use in my card wrap I realised that both the original image and my sketch lack texture – the overall impression is quite flat. I decided to try to reproduce the shapes of the flowers in my woven piece by using the uncut Ghiordes knot to make loops. I have used a combination of woollen, cotton, acrylic and silk fibres for this sample.
I reproduced the blocks of colour from my yarn wrap in coloured pencil on some squared paper and I used a scaled up photocopy of this to act as a cartoon whilst weaving, just to give me a guide for the colour changes.
I found that I experimented with techniques as I wove. This is not difficult on a small scale piece like this but I can imagine that it would not be practical when planning a larger project. I did need to double up quite a few of the chosen yarns just to get some more texture in to the sample. Also this helped with producing blends of colour that more nearly matched my original image. Along with the uncut Ghiordes knots I used Soumak and wove some rows with two colours to produce the checks and dots in some blocks, just to introduce some more interest and echo a little of the patterning on the plate in the background of the source image.
I think using the uncut Ghiordes knot to make large and smaller loops to imitate the flowers in the original image has worked quite well but I should have woven some rows less densely to help the loops to separate better. I wove some rows, the pale mint green and the darker green blocks, by staggering Soumak with gaps in between and this worked very well to improve on the texture of the piece.
End of Project Notes
* Did you have enough variety in your collection of yarns and other materials? Which kind of yarns, etc., did you use most? How do their characteristics affect the look and feel of each sample?
I definitely had lots of yarns, cords, fabric and other materials to choose from for this project. I found that I used more knitting and tapestry yarns than anything else as I had these in a wider variety of colours. Also, anything finer like embroidery flosses or even sewing threads would have disappeared using the scale of sample we were working on. Also, anything too chunky would have dominated the pieces. Obviously you have to work within a range that suits the loom you are using and the scale of the finished piece. I enjoyed working with other materials such as fabric strips, wires and plastic bag strips and would like to do some more work using recycled materials. I have done some willow basket weaving in the past and had a go at making a vessel by weaving strips of corrugated card. This is fun and grows quickly but you need to learn new techniques to stabilise the work whilst you are building it as the weaving materials are a lot less easy to manipulate than using yarns on a loom.
Using wools and cottons gives a soft finish, the wools being a little more textured and hairy and the cottons being smoother, sometimes shinier and more uniform in appearance. Also, using cottons and wools is very traditional and recognisable as a tapestry but when paper, foil, wire, plastic, etc. are used there is a lot more texture and unusual effects are produced so this gives more possibility for experimentation.
* How did you find weaving in comparison to the other techniques you have tried? Did you find it slow or too limiting?
I found weaving just as fun as the other techniques we have used through this module, apart from perhaps embroidery which was my least favourite. I find I am drawn to the more constructional techniques, like weaving, knitting and even applique. Weaving is not too slow. I suppose it depends on the size of project and the materials. I did find having my little “toy” loom very useful and this definitely sped the process up, as I had hoped. As for limiting, again, that would depend on the size and aim of the project. For the purpose of sampling and learning new techniques this process was fine. Obviously, there are limits with regards to the 2-dimensional construction of weaving. But this is usually overcome by making up sections and joining them later to produce different shapes.
* How do you feel about your finished sample? Are you happy with the relationship of the textures, proportions, colour and pattern to the finished size? Is there any part that you would want to change? If so, try to identify exactly how and why you would change it.
I am quite happy with my final finished sample. I was able to introduce some texture that seemed to be lacking from my perception of the overall look of the original source image by using Ghiordes knots and Soumak, along with the colour work. I think the proportions of colour are pretty good and that there is a good balance between the size of the finished piece and what is happening within it. As I mentioned earlier, I could have used the Ghiordes loops a little more sparingly in places, to emphasise the circular shapes.
* Was there any stage in the whole design process that you felt went wrong? How would you tackle this process differently another time?
I don’t think there was anything glaringly wrong with the sample, although I am still not very good at keeping an even width to my weaving. The design process itself was pretty straightforward. My colour block diagram could have been better but I didn’t have a very good selection of coloured pencils and had to try and convey the colours using a combination of coloured stripes.
* Which did you enjoy more – working from the source material or putting colours together intuitively? Why?
I have only completed Sample 1, rather than both of the samples. As I mentioned earlier, I was not confident about putting something together using words to convey a mood. This is obviously something I need to work on in the future.