About two months ago, I read the popular book by Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. My sister, with whom I share a home, had read it first and we both decided to try out this method of recommitting to the things that are truly valuable to us while letting go of the rest. This included clearing out the small bedroom that I had only recently stopped calling my “office” and was now claiming as my “studio.” As a result, I felt as if I had already completed this portion of this week’s assignment.
It was serendipitous that the day before this week’s lesson came out, I decided to start a new weaving project with some self-imposed limitations. I have been struggling with content for tapestry weaving, as well as the interpretation of an image into woven form using tapestry techniques. As a result, I have done a lot of practicing of different techniques but have not, in any way, found my artistic voice. I find that I get overwhelmed by the many choices available to me: should I focus on color and color blending? A specific image? Something abstract? If I use a specific image, how do I represent it in tapestry? Would it be best to weave this from bottom to top or from the side? How could or should hatching, pick and pick or other techniques be used? So it is both a question of content and how to apply tapestry techniques in bringing that content to life.
I knew that I had a section of warp available on a loom that was about 8x8. I wanted to use this warp before cutting off a different piece I had completed and re-warping the loom. I decided that I wanted to focus on weaving a shape, without worrying about factors like those I mentioned above. So I took an 8 inch square piece of paper and just started cutting (I hope you are chuckling, Jane!). I used yarn I already had, as well. It typically would be considered knitting yarn more than weaving yarn, making it a bit more difficult to handle. I’m actually quite pleased with how it turned out. I called it Arise!
Previously, a friend who is a fantastic weaver made the suggestion that I weave an image of one of my dogs (in the same vein as Jane’s suggestion to weave something you love). This was a big challenge for me and I enjoyed doing it. The photo below shows the weaving and the photo that I used as a reference (he had been injured and was wearing a cone in his recovery). Even though I learned a lot in doing this, it felt a bit paint-by-number-ish to me so it did not fulfill my need to express myself creatively. I know that there is much more that I could do with this image that would do this but I think, for me, it was important to recognize that this was not it. I did just get my first commission based on this, however, which is both exciting and terrifying.
I saw in Jane’s comment to another student that developing our voice in content and creativity will continue to be a point of focus in the coming weeks. I’m happy to hear this as I know this is critical for me.