I was driving off to the gym this morning, wrestling with the question of “What medium?” I knew I wanted something weaving/textile-related, something powerful, and something that would keep on giving: something that would look good from a distance, but yield beautiful-and-intricate detail up close. Nothing I’d seen in fiber arts (besides Kubota’s kimono) had the flavor I was after.
Then it occurred to me: what if I combined more than one handwoven fabric in the same piece? What if I combined handwoven fabrics with gradated warps, shibori, and (say) network drafted or painted warp fabrics in the same piece? Now THAT would be something wonderful: it could provide both a design far away and more detail/texture close up, it would build on the skills I’ve already acquired, and it would let me engage in my excursions into other fiber arts.
I was so amazed by this idea that I nearly hit a pole. (Note to self: don’t think and drive!) I got to the gym and thought about this some more on the elliptical trainer. I didn’t read at all (which I usually do), and when I looked at the clock, I had spent nearly 10 more minutes on the trainer than I usually do, without noticing! The idea was totally amazing.
As an example: suppose you took a section from my Liquid Fire shawl:
And used it for the sun against a background from my “Ocean Sunset” shawl:
Here you have something which looks good from a distance (we’re assuming here that the cloth in question is designed for the collage, which neither of them are) but which yields more detail close up.
Now, suppose we throw in a tree…the trunk could be made from a commercial silk, dyed brown and then discharged using a shibori wrapped technique, so you’d get deep folds (texture!) with variegated brown…or you could weave it using textured yarns in various shades of brown to give a rough texture…or woven shibori…
…and leaves! Leaves could be woven on a painted warp, maybe with network drafting to throw in interesting color texture and curves…you could stiffen some of them, then turn them up out of the flat plane to give a 3-dimensional aspect…
I am really, really excited about this idea. It would take a fantastically long time to put together a single piece (assuming all fabrics were specially designed), but that doesn’t bother me – six months to a year is my usual project length, anyway. And it would let me study a broad range of fiber arts, design, etc. as well as more weaving study, more work with gradated warps, and oh! just about anything.
Now, of course, it’s time to see if this dog can hunt. I’m going to try designing a “test” piece, to see if the concept works out…and then I will try executing it, once the dress, wedding, and Convergence are done. That will tell me whether I enjoy the process – which is all-important, because if I don’t enjoy doing it, what’s the point? But I do think this has great potential.
Off to work! (I’ll try to keep my mind on driving, this time!)