I started exercise one by weaving some photographs together from my resource collection.
I took a pair of portrait orientation photos of the same sunset and wove them 180 degrees to each other, and a pair of photos of another sunset, one landscape and one portrait orientation. This one worked particularly well in terms of proportion and composition. Finally, I tried weaving a photograph of an acer tree with some oriental text from a shop window. I thought that the shape of the leaves echoed the text somehow and was interested int the emerging shapes rather than the colours.
I have surprised myself in this project as I has always considered myself to be very colour orientated, but I am far more drawn to shapes and textures in collecting source material. You’d think I’d have realised this in the colour project!
I then took another photo of a sunset and used it to weave fabrics and threads that I felt reflected the qualities of the photograph. I have seen a number of pieces recentlly where toning threads have been used to weave strips of card or metals.The photo was cut in varying width strips and reorganised in the same orientation, maintaining the colour movement from sky to deep blue water. This was an interesting piece to work, but I’m not sure it works as a piece. It might have ben more interesting to mix it up a little and weave some of the photo strips the other way up to introduce some contrast.
Continuing on the same line I took varying width strips from a selection of the photos used above and paired them with a toning and contrasting card in heavy pattern, crocheted alpaca chains, chenille yarn and wool. The result was more dynamic and showed how pattern and colour can influence each other depending on how they meet in the weave. If I did this again, I would use the yarns in the weft and the weave.
For exercise 2 I began by practising the three suggested braids with chunky merino yarn. From left to right is the chevron braid, the round braid and the flat braid. I particularly liked the round braid and used this in the main for further experimentation. I then experimented mixing contrasting textures and materials. The top braid is with audiotape and a fine pom pom yarn by Habu textiles, the middle braid was a mix of synthetic, alpaca and merino yarns, and the bottom flat braid was worked in found scraps of fabric, acrylic yarn and silk merino (Manos del Uraguay). I thought the fabric braid worked well, and was well suited to the flat braid where the contrast in proportions was shown off to good effect.
I continued by illustrating various textures with natural coloured yarns. Metallic, shiny, soft, spiky, rough. The spiky sample was worked with another yarn by Habu textiles. I love Habu – innovative and covetable, but dangerously expensive!
This was a really enjoyable exercise, and the possibilities, as ever, are endless. It makes it very difficult to know where to stop, but I felt that I had learned enough to be comfortable with what I was doing before moving on.
I have tried knotting Chinese style braids and decorative knots before, which would be an interesting extension of this exercise. Given my past experiences with straightforward braiding yarn and how frustrating/time consuming this can be, I am leaving that idea hanging for the moment.