Hello, final year

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art on September 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Somehow it’s September. Somehow it’s 2015. Which means next May/June it’ll be degree show and in the summer I’ll graduate. I’m decidedly not counting the months – or days. In terms of introductory things it’s probably the least stressful year, because we’re all in denail and avoiding even mentioing the words ‘degree’ and ‘show’ in the same sentence. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

It’s strange to be back in a studio, I’ve been in and out the art school all summer working at degree show/masters festival/open days (last open day of the year on Saturday…), but now I have a space again. A pretty huge space (perks of being a final year). Second years are off doing something else, and I’ve no idea where the third years are. I’ve seen more first years in our studio than anyone else I think. It’s kind of nice, but it’ll be a shock when they all come back in. Because there’s a lot of second and third years (us class of 2016 is a relatively tiny year, which I imagine has a lot to do with the sudden increase in tuition fees – given that probably the majority of students here are not Scottish/European). Anyway. Stuff on a wall, stuff to weave. I don’t have project space/research presentation for another six weeks.


Our timetables are alarmingly empty, which was terrifying until I realised I much prefer working to my own timetable. So I’m blissfully happy now. And so far this week I’ve done everything on my timetable, more than can be said for any other year. We’ll see how long that lasts. This semester will probably end up being stupidly busy, it’s taken three years but (at the moment) I’m employed thrice by the university. I’m the ECA web writing intern for this semester, events assistant still and until Sunday working at the main library as a general advice point for freshers (favourite, and very common, question: “so are there books in the library?”). Which, very excitingly, means I have a pension – I’ve never felt like such an adult.

In other exciting news – CARGO TRIKE. I cycled the loom in yesterday – terrifying and I got a few odd looks. This morning I cycled in wearing my glorious cape with a rainbow and last bits of sunrise behind me. Yup, I came in early today.


I’m having a break from reading (it started raining and it looks miserable and I did get quite a bit done this morning) and fiddling about with things to submit for a few bits and pieces. I’m waiting for Groundings Ancients to release their new themes for the year, I’m hoping I can re-use my visual culture from last year that I actually liked. I’m set on the extended/40 credit visual culture option, and I submitted my proposal a lot early. So now I’m twiddling my thumbs really and hoping what I’m doing is alright, we don’t find out our supervising tutors for a few weeks yet. I have been working on that propsal since May, so if it’s not alright I’ve wasted four months.


finland and back again

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2015 at 8:00 pm

It’s been a semi-busy…five months (!!) including: dissertation research, Finland, a birthday on an island full of Moomins, Denmark, waiting hours in Copenhagen airport, going to one thing during the Fringe (yeah I’m awful) and working. And avoiding blogging apparently. Nah, I’ve not felt like writing much. So pictures galore. Licquorice ice cream exists and it’s glorious.







I got some really beautiful cotton yarn in Finland (above), it’s quite wide, but thin. Like t-shirt yarn…but proper. And I got a load of Texere yarn for £2 in a charity shop the other week, so so pleased about that. Waiting on some linen and shiny yarn to be delivered. Growing flax did not go well. At all. The building site…grew. A lot.

Dissertation wise I’m going for ‘threads that talk: textiles as communicaiton’. It’s taken me five months to get a title… Ugh. Weaving wise I haven’t done a whole lot, I figured out the doubleweave that makes doublewidth fabric, and I’m slowly working on altering my pattersn to fit into that pattern. If that makes any sense. It’s complicated. I’ll draw a diagram or something at some point. I’m working up to doing the pattern that makes a FOUR PAGE BOOK (!!!), but that can’t be altered. I’ve started doing traditional/real/proper patterns and collecting the data from making them to make something new. (I’m thinking ahead here, for if I get project space/crit in the first few weeks), so they’d be shown together. Slowly working on a group publication…someday. Avoiding thiinking about the fact that it is my FOURTH year here. Sigh. I’m sure there was something else, but I’m mush from working open day (so many people, so many tours, so few questions, so much talking at blank faces).


In Edinburgh, Weaving on May 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm

I’m still waiting on the book that should tell me how to do super huge doubleweave things (it’s out of print and hard to find without spending a lot). I got bored and decided to follow a less detailed pattern (as in, it gives you the threadings and doesn’t give any help beyond that). It’s the first pattern I’ve done from this book (because this is only the second “actual” weaving pattern I’ve done, the rest have been my own), very pretty book though. And Margo Selby seems to have a thing for doubleweave (she designs everything on a table loom before it’s done on a huge scale to make stuff).

I don’t really know what I’m doing or how/why it’s working, but it is working. There’s six patterns in the book that use the same warp threading, so I’ll just go through those until I run out of warp. It’s a deflected doubleweave (nope, no idea either). As far as I can tell (from the first pattern I’m doing) it’s making a piece of fabric that should be near enough identical on each side, not two separate pieces (which tube-ish doubleweave must make). But it’s a much more textured bit of fabric, because the pattern is made from floating threads (the raised bits), it feels quite nice.


Warping is the same as usual, except I went a bit wild on the colours. Two colours make it easier to see the two different “blocks” of threading that make the front and back of the fabric, so the grey is one block and the pink/blue another. I thought it’d be difficult somehow, because I don’t have a second back beam on the loom, and the yarns are slightly different thicknesses, but it’s working fine so far. (Which is good, I wasn’t looking forward to having to buy a second back beam).

The threading is were it gets a bit complicated – each block has 4 shafts that make that pattern, and they alternate evenly. I guess it’s like doing two patterns at once, but they work together. I don’t know. It’s hard to know without having the book that explains everything…







All the colours mostly so it’s easier to see where each thread is going, and also because the weft is really lovely soft merino. It’s a beautiful thing (maybe not a *meaningful* beautiful thing, but beautiful anyway), and it looks how it’s meant to. Expect more pictures, there’s a really amazing looking pattern coming up.

I think it will be possible to write my own doubleweave, it’ll probably take longer to write and make useable. And who knows how it’ll come out, these patterns tend to be very even/equal/balanced, and the ones I write… aren’t. In principle, it’ll work. Once I’ve got to grips a bit more with this we’ll see. Right. More weaving, this time with the colours from the warp, to see what that’s like…

Dissertation research is going slowly but pretty well – The Life of Lines came last week (the cover is really trippy), quite nice but not as thread-y as I’d hoped. Still useful. I started out with a very, very specific thing I wanted to look at, so I’m having to widen it out a bit so I can get 12,000 interesting words out of it. At the moment it’s quite heavy on the material culture side of things (which is a good thing because a) it’s interesting and b) I’ll probably get put with the supervisor I’d prefer). I have questionnaire plans in the not-so-distant future (I figured the more the merrier). I haven’t worked out a resarch question (or series of questions) yet. In fact, I can’t really articulate what it is I’m looking at/thinking about yet – more reading to be done. But it’s kind of… a thread-based ontology, understanding through (physical and metaphorical) threads. Can you tell I’ve been re-reading a lot of Tim Ingold lately? Pretty much any thread-based activity is based on ordering chaos – untangling, ordering, classifying, reshaping. Same as collecting. Ways of understanding and knowing the world. I can’t quite say what I mean, but something along those lines. It might turn out to be a load of rubbish, but hey, I’ve got ten months left to make it work.

The Life of Lines is more about an ontology of lines, and I was re-reading The cultural biography of things: commoditization as proces and came across this:

‘…the human mind has an inherent tendency to impose order upon the chaos of its environment by classifying its contents, and without this classification knowledge of the world and adjustment to it would not be possible.’

Kopytoff, I, p.70 in Appadurai, A. (1988), The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective

And so I decided thread-based onotolgy would be a good idea. It has nothing at all do with the fact that I like saying ontology. Anyway, weaving to be done.


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