I N T R O D U C T I O N"When craft is in dialogue with its audience, it does not and cannot stagnate. The fresh flowing water of our field turns fetid when we as makers and audience assume, shut down, impose strict limitations, or end every thought or art work with a period rather than a question mark. The common denominator among experts, innovators and outliers is curiosity. Experts with years of embodied knowledge intertwine curiosity with persistence. Sometimes, there are small shifts in the studio; other times, seismic shifts. A level for inquiry is a constant force. Innovators dissect a precept and build from their discoveries, while outliers use curiosity to build bridges between their primary interests and others. The majority of artists I know combine aspects of these qualities."
-Sonya Clark "In the hands of the Curious," from Crafting a Continuum, The University of North Carolina Press 2013. (Thank you Betsy Greer for bringing our attention to this quote and book.)
Craftophilia is a dialogue about process. The projects Alisa and I are compelled to do, trying to see how the way we each work is motivated or inhibited by the weekly demand of having something "made" (or in the process of being made.) By posting (almost!) every week what we have been able to make with our hands we are learning about exactly why and how we do and make things.
Craftophilia is totally transparent, laying bare the processes we go through, open with our personal experiences of making. What works, what happens when you have no time at all to make anything, when it totally fails, at the pace of how it actually happens in our daily lives. It is our biggest hope that it inspires you to pick up the material that sings to you and make, without fear of any of these outcomes or circumstances that may stand in your way of making something as there is no fail there is just DO.
PROCESS NOTES is an open ended list of ideas, questions and further explorations from what we found useful while making a circular weaving: from wrapping the first warp around the hoop to almost (finally) finishing one hoop. Hoping that this inspires you to take material that is vernacular to your life (yarn leftovers, pine needles from the yard, darning needles, kitchen twine etc.) and experiment with it to make something new.
P R O C E S S N O T E S O N C I R C U L A R W E A V I N G
Hoop. Embroidery hoops, wooden, metal, various sizes, weird brass hoops from craft store, hula hoop, old bike wheel...
Embroidery needles - straight, bent tip, plastic, brass, bamboo. Try a few to find the one that works for you. Some work better in smaller hoops, others in larger hoops.
Warp thread - carpet warp, kitchen twine, thick embroidery thread from the japanese dollar store, yarn...
Weft thread - ANYTHING. Experiment with single ply and double ply yarns, thick yarns, thin yarns. Mohair and Angora will make a lovely halo that you can brush up after to great effect.
Is it malleable? Use it.
Scotch tape and masking tape.
W A R P I N G :
Experimenting is extremely important. Sitting down with your hoop and warp thread and playing with the warp is almost better than following directions. Creating a visual, tactile memory and a rhythm. Does warping in a figure-eight work better for a "diameter warp" than over one side of your hoop and under coming back? How about tying each thread individually to create an off centre "spoke warp"? Remember, using an embroidery hoop is beneficial as once you attach the outer hoop, it will hide any peculiar knotting. You can also secure your warp threads by using tape on the side of your hoop - once you have woven, it will be secure enough to remove the tape.
v. 1 - spoke warp (above)
v. 2 - diameter warp (above, warp anchored directly across the circle)
T E C H N I Q U E :
Over and under one warp thread at a time? Several at a time? Change it up?
What happens when you use thin thread and heavy yarn in the same piece?
What happens when you coil your yarn around a warp thread? Around 2? Around 5?
Does warp have to go in one direction? Where are all the places you can anchor warp?
Again - observe! Books, pictures, online - analyze what you see. Ask yourself questions.
O T H E R W O N D E R S :
How will you finish the piece? Does it stay on the hoop or is it removed?
What about wrapping the hoop in fabric or yarn?
Is fringe your thing, or not?
Try adding non-traditional items like pine needles, strips of fabric, feathers or pieces of spinning fibre. If you can trap it in the warp, you can put it in!
PLAY! Make mistakes! ENJOY!!!