Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Displacement Activity

I'm still avoiding the last few rows of the Project Which Must Be Done Today. The studio is so cold, my husband had to re-light the pilot light on the heater this morning. So while it warms up, I'll respond to June's question about learning knotted pile:

"Not that I need another hobby, but where can I read about the fundamentals of knotted pile? Do you have a favorite book or website to recommend?"

Well, yes! Since learning this technique myself 6 years ago, I have taken it as my mission to proselytize, er, enable others to learn, knotted pile.

(LauraJ, look away! look away!)

One of my favorite books is Woven Structures, by Marla Mallett. Marla is a dealer/collector of indigenous textiles, but she started out as a weaver. She has a maker's understanding of structure, and she wrote this book to help dealers and collectors understand what they are looking at. Thus, it is not a *how to weave* book, but a book about *how weavers have woven*. Once you see there are many ways to produce these textiles, lots of selvedge treatments, several styles of inserting foundation wefts, and several knots, then you become more free to develop your own best methods.

Her website is a treasure of textiles and tutorials.

There is also a video, by the man who taught me this technique. Orlo Duker's video Cut Pile Rug Techniques, is sold by Victorian Video, AKA the Yarn Barn, in Lawrence KS. Duke made the video after several years of weaving, and it includes plans for a loom, and a beater of his own devising. I use his beater, and we make them in pile classes (time permitting) or I send people home with the plans to make one. Duke changed his warping methods after this video was filmed. I learned a different process from him, a depressed warp technique, which results in a tighter weave structure. Since there are so many ways to skin this particular cat (yuck!), the video is still a good learning tool.

There is a British website, where you can buy a new book written by Noreen Roberts on the basics of knotted pile, plus tools and yarns she imports from Iran. Several people have purchased pile scissors from her, it's one of the few places I know of to do so, and Noreen is a quick and friendly vendor.

But, the most exciting news is Sarah Swett's new book Kids Weaving wherein she has plans for the copper pipe loom (as a PVC loom in the book, but just switch to copper pipe), instructions for warping it, and a few beginning pile projects! It's not out yet, but it's worth waiting for: the step by step process is so simple, and well explained by Sarah. The diagrams are fabulous, the project is great, the pictures are wonderful, and, short of someone sitting right next to you, it is (in my opinion) the best way to learn this technique.

My last suggestion is to haunt used book stores. Oriental rugs are a collectible on the worldwide market. Uncounted volumes have been written about rugs, some with photos and diagrams of their construction. I buy inspirational ones, and those that have good maps and diagrams. They are a constant source of pleasure to me, just looking at all of the rugs, woven over the centuries and throughout the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, and Spain, connecting my work to other weavers of the world.


Blogger Charleen said...

Thump! The sound of another one entering Sara's knotted trap!

2:02 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

[blinks eyes innocently] Charleen, whatever do you mean? :D

And (big duh here) I forgot to mention my own article in Handwoven, November 2001. You'd think I'd be better at this promotion stuff. . .

2:13 PM  
Blogger LauraJ said...

I read on, heedlessly. I am pretty much sold on Sarah Swett's book already. Have you looked at _The Uncut Cloth_, which Amazon holds out and waves to passersby?

5:19 PM  

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