This month two textile artists, Helen Mirra and Ellen Lesperance, installed their show Traversing at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA. I am so fortunate to be part of a community of weavers from around the world who contributed pieces to Mirra’s project Standard Incomparable. The parameters were to weave two pieces out of local fiber with seven stripes as long as the weavers arm and as wide as the weavers hand. Standard Incomparable will have many iterations beginning with this show at the Armory Center. In September it will travel to Milan for a show at the Raffaella Cortese gallery and ultimately will be part of the collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA.
My pieces have a warp of american wool spun by the Huntington Yarn Mill in Philadelphia and a weft of alpaca from Doylestown hand spun on my drop spindle.
The culmination of a nine-month residency – join me to celebrate!
After almost an hour of driving our Jeep down a road that wasn’t really a road – a magical stand of cotton bushes appeared!
I just so happened to have my drop spindle with me, so after the laborious process of de-seeding the cotton – the spinning could begin! Cotton fibers are so short that the yarn making was very slow moving.
I taught an Underwater Basket Weaving class in the pool using palm fronds and the long vines of ceiba trees.
I’ve been experimenting with text rendered through Ikat weaving. A double Ikat is when both the warp and the weft have been selectively dyed before even dressing the loom. The result is called Kasuri – a fabric where the resists are alined during the weaving to reveal a design.
I started by making a paper template, where I created a grid to guide me in tying the warp resists. I measured my warp into three inch sections.
Using plastic bags, I tightly tied each section of the warp that I wanted to remain white.
I dyed the wool warp in an Indigo vat, and then removed all of the plastic ties.
Once I dressed my loom and determined my picks-per-inch, I went through the same tying and dying process with each one inch section of weft. Very laborious!
My alignment was not perfect, due mostly to inconsistencies in tying on the warp and also due to the stretch of the wool. But I was still pleased with how much the white sections lined up and how legible the text turned out.
I spent an unseasonably warm holiday break on Deer Isle in Maine taking walks and meeting folks and collecting sources of color. I brought back two kinds of lichens (Old Man’s Beard and Toad Skin), some rotten birch wood, and staghorn sumac. I also met a man named Pete, who took an interest in my foraging mission and gave me some bloodroot, auricular fungus, and freeze-dried sea urchin gonads to test.
One month into the residency and I’m totally overwhelmed by possibilities and directions. My seven partners-in-crime are mindblowing individuals- read more about them here.