Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Further Thoughts

Time, space and money are often cited as impediments to weaving at home, and they can be. But we know that when one is passionate, impediments like these can be overcome.

Several comments, both on and off blog, have pointed to the issue of inspiration: how to and how not to inspire new weavers. Therein lies the rub.

New knitters, as we all know, came on board in droves because of Fun Fur yarns: bright colors, simple projects, flashy textures.

Weaving can be all that, but it is not currently. Weaving is perceived as tricky, ponderous, unattainable except by long and arduous study. Some weavers perpetuate this perception, and some weaving, by its computer-driven complex nature, *is* tricky, ponderous and time consuming.

I learned to weave in the mid-70's in San Francisco, at the Fort Mason Art Center during the Big Yarn phase of post-hippiedom. I managed to survive the Big Yarn, and eventually get down to Real Weaving (tm).

Instruction was by Kay Sekimachi, who, even then was a well known weaver. Kay had been taught at CCAC by Trude Guermonprez, one of the Bauhaus weavers blown to the US by the winds ahead of Hitler's Army.

Kay, even then, wove delicate linen and monofilament pieces, many layered and complex in their folding and completion.

We wove with hog guts.

She must have been cringing. We would never have known. She was gracious and calm, she taught and answered our questions, never critiqued our work, unless we asked.

The result? Lots of weavers sailed through an exciting learning phase, and took some time to settle down to weaving real fabric.

Will the Fun Fur knitters do the same? Yes, a certain percentage of them will come to real wool, real fibers, and real knitting.

So do we need a Fun Fur Weaving phase to revitalize the craft?? Maybe weaving with wild metallics, ribbons, bright colors, all mish mash, a Dorothy Liebes for the new century?

Archie Brennan has gone a long way to bringing weaving into the hands of beginners with his simple copper pipe loom design, given out freely. It allows anyone with $20 to make their own loom, and weaving fun fur scarves on a long version of the loom is infinitely possible: see Sarah Swett's book Kids Weaving.

So simple, inexpensive equipment is out there, Big Yarns are also out there. Somehow, we need to put the two together into inspiring projects for new weavers.

Any volunteers??

Luckily, I did a warp painting demo this past weekend at CNCH:

CNCH warp

Otherwise, this post would be devoid of pictures. Horrors.


Blogger beadlizard said...

Kay is a true gem. She gave me some exceptionally helpful advice when I was just starting my beadwork business. I wouldn't have been a success without her kindness!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Charleen said...

Maybe Ashford is on to something by marketing a rigid heddle loom as a "knitter's loom". I never bonded with my rigid heddle but I've seen excellent work done on them and they do slide away easily.

1:48 PM  
Blogger aswego said...

As a spinner and potential weaver... should the copper pipe looms be coated with anything, or cleaned in a certain way between uses, to prevent tarnishing? Your posts have been so enabling!

11:22 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I also saw some stuff with the weavette looms too on several different blogs. I have a rigid heddle and really like it, but I am thinking I may have to build me one of those weavette's this weekend.

Have you ever tried to build a loom from PVC instead of copper pipe??

10:24 AM  
Blogger Milinda said...

Gorgeous warp.

Have you seen Ashford's latest loom? They are calling it a Knitters Loom. Essentially, it is a rigid heddle loom but they are marketing it with fun fur-ish yarn.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Sara, you've sparked quite an internal conversation in my head with your last several posts. I started to comment several times but couldn't boil it down to something pithy. So I rambled on in a blog entry instead.

7:49 AM  

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