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Archive for the ‘Weaving’ Category

first weavings of the semester // the high mill

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Weaving on October 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm

It’s been a busy, blog-free, fewe weeks. Somehow it’s October. I finished the metadata weaving I started a while ago, I’ve started writing my dissertation, I’m about to buy a knitting machine, and I’ve been working with LEAPS for the last week, so I’ve not been in the studio a whole lot (except at odd times). We were down at the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles yesterday and, minus the incredibly vomit inducing coach trip there, it was amazing. I’ve never seen so many looms in once place. AND SO MUCH YARN. I think I was far more excited than any of the students – we had a machine knitting workshop yesterday, hence the sudden buying of one. It’s super amazing. And my data-weaving can be translated into data-knitting, because I’m going to buy one that uses punchcards and it’s all about numbers and oh my it’s so good. Punchcards! I can’t afford a loom that uses them, but I can knit with them! I’m considering trying to get a second supervisor for my (hypothetical) MPhil from Heriot-Watt, becasue they have an amazing weaving studio and I could do with the technical advice.

Anyway. Pictures from yesterday, then weaving.

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A lot of time has passed since I started writing this post…as in I started in my lunch break and it’s now 18:35 and I’m hungry. So I’ll do the long explaining thing some other time, maybe tomorrow morning. ALSO, Martin Creed is doing the Friday Talk tomorrow, how good is that?! So here we go, a traditional pattern, and my own pattern made from making the other pattern.

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I got a loom sized table made. Life is so much better and more comfortable.

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Right. The first rather dark cycle home of the year, and food.

doubleweave!

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.

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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…

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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.

weaving constituencies

In Edinburgh, Interesting things, Weaving on May 9, 2015 at 7:16 pm

I’m still maintaining that staying awake all of Thursday night was a good (if depressing) idea. (And I’m actually old enough to vote now, so that makes things a bit more interesting). Someone was cross-stitching the declarations as they came in…

So naturally, here’s some potential fabric. If I get bored during the week I might try it, although I don’t have all the colours… Or in fact, most of the colours. And it’s no fun without the colours.

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This is Edinburgh East (the constituency where I live, and where the art school is). Along the top/warp is total votes colour coordinated by party (it reflects back on itself). Not to scale! Although there is a lot of yellow. Maybe I should do a to scale version. Along the right/weft is percentage share of vote, again reflecting back on itself to make a prettier pattern. And the data…

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New election themed fabric…hm. Something to do though. Still waiting for books to arrive, so can’t start messing around with doubleweave yet. Yarn arrived for Em & j though, making fabric to go over the back of the fancy new sofa. It’s dates and will match (in colour and maybe a little in pattern) the print that lives above where the sofa goes. Square-y patterns are quite nice to do, and there’s a lot of small squares. The greys are actually quite different from each other in real life, the one in the middle is quite green-y grey. And the cotton on the end is two shades of pale yellow, not bleached out nothingness.

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In other excitement, the tulips I planted did survive (and are currently livening up the kitchen) and my Lupin seedlings are starting to appear too… It’s even more overgrown than when I moved in, but hey. Flowers! I threw a cornflower seed bomb in last week, and the forget-me-not one I threw in September seems to have worked, waiting for the flowers to open up. A lot of crap gets blown in from the building site next door, and it isn’t exactly peaceful. Maybe they’ll be done before I move out.

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Insert suitably punny comment about looms here

In Collections, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Rambling, Weaving on March 7, 2015 at 1:10 pm

So I got…some looms. Three. I wasn’t expecting three, but that’s the joy of eBay. They came yesterday, very impressively all fitting into one box. A huge box.

I thought I’d got a slighter bigger table loom (although with less shafts) and an inkle loom (for weaving bands), turns out there was a rigid heddle loom in there too (it looked like a pile of sticks). It was a job lot of stuff, so there’s some random bits of crap (most of which came in two cat food boxes), some acrylic yarn that I probably won’t use and a lot of diy-ed stick shuttles (I don’t much like stick shuttles), and two pieces of fabric woven on the table loom. And the inkle loom came with the most rickety table, it’s more annoying than useful really. Think it’s just going to be easier to have it on an actual table.

Not many pictures because I was too busy a) going oh dear me what have I done and b) figuring out what belonged to what and c) cackling at the stack of knitting magazines that I didn’t ask for but got anyway. They’re brilliant. I’ll have to do something with them.

This is most of it.

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Also note the new warping frame – it goes up to 11m long! The rigid heddle is off at the side somewhere.

Both the inkle and table loom came with warps on, I tried using the warps on the inkle loom but the tension was so knackered it was pointless (so I very quickly strung it up and did a tiny little band, IT’S GREAT). With the table loom it looked like someone had just wrapped some thread around it in the hopes of making it look like it was working, what actually happened was the back apron (which is literally an apron on this, a piece of canvas and a stick that the warp is attached to before threading) had been cut off for some reason, and everything wound to the front apron. Untangle it all and you find a piece of weaving, I have plans for it. Again, it was acrylic and not worth saving to use again because it’s just not very nice to weave with.  (The pink thing on top is what I did on the inkle loom.)

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It looks like/was sold as a Dryad loom, but there’s no label thing anywhere that I can see – so who knows, and goodness knows how old it is. If it is a Dryad one that’s…freaky – Dryad was based in Leicester, that’s where I’m from innit.

I have absolutely no idea why someone thought screwing two bits of mismatched wood to the base was a good idea, wasn’t even level! The amount of dust and crud that came out when I took it off… There is absolutely no reason why you’d do that, it’s not like it was holding it together or anything, it was just holding crap in. The reed was pretty grim – in fact all of it was pretty grim, it still needs a bit of love. That yarn must have been on there a long time. But now it’s cleaned up it looks to be fine (which is good, I didn’t fancy trying to find a reed that’d fit). The shafts are a little on the rusty side, and the threads could probably do with being replaced, but they’re functional for now. I’ll need to diy something to stop one of them popping out of it’s track though. I’m going to need to get more heddles – but that can wait a while, simply because putting heddles on is going to be a nightmare (I’m going to have to unscrew the castle where the shafts sit and then somehow unscrew each shaft to get the heddles on). It doesn’t fold up like the first loom, but I should be able to unscrew it into two pieces.

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Theoretically it might be possible to have an extra four shafts made up to make it an eight shaft loom – there isn’t much space at the back, so it’d probably have to be two in front and two behind the existing four. It’d just make it a lot more flexible, and I could do more complex patterns on a bigger scale. It’s about 21″ across (instead of 16″ on the other one), so not a whole lot bigger, but noticeable. I really don’t have the sort of brain to figure it out (3d things aahhh!) but it should be possible…

I’ve come up with a solution for the missing back apron using a stick, a ring binder clip and lots of string. It’ll be fine.

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And this is the rigid heddle loom which is, in principle, very similar to the inkle loom (although INKLE what a word). It’s an old Spears one as far as I can tell (furious googling last night). Although you can use inkle looms for card/tablet weaving, which means text is possible! I can make labels! How nice would it be to weave title labels for bits of work…? Just me?

Anyway. It’s far less flexible than the table looms – there are only two options, up and down. For the inkle loom heddles are made from string and attached one by one as you wind the warp on, on this loom it’s just that white thing which also acts as the reed. There’s dents as in table loom reeds, but also holes, so lifting it up or pushing it down when it’s threaded changes the shed/gap you weave into. But you know what that means? Dot dot dash. I have no idea if threading it using morse code would work, but worth a shot. I can’t use the software I have to write drafts for the inkle or rigid heddle loom, so it’s going to be interesting…

I’ll leave you with a kitten.

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more weaving/craft is not a dirty word

In Edinburgh College of Art, Stanley Mills, Weaving on February 1, 2015 at 10:29 am

I’m doing a research presentation on Tuesday, the last one was terrible. And ended up being ‘what you’re doing is hobby, not art. Craft, not art. Why are you here?’, which kind of… sucked. So this one is angry. Well, not much. But it starts with Keith Arnatt.

It is slightly better than the last presentation – because last time I forgot to make my notes big enough to see in the dark. DUH. I just really do not like talking to people at all. My solution to ‘are you even an artist though’ is an ‘I don’t know’ disguised as INTERMEDIA. Think it’s safe to say I’m working in the space between disciplines here – blurring the boundaries between art and life, art and craft, craft and life. If it goes even worse than before, never mind.

Enough. More weaving.

finally got the full version of the weaving software I use – I can save files now. I’ve lost so many things in the last five months because I couldn’t save. So that’s pretty great. I’ve had a mad spree of making up drafts from anything and everything, and actually titling them (which is novel, since when do I title things?). It’s more I’ve been at home ill (our studio is very cold) and making drafts makes me feel like I’ve done something productive. Although I did go and weave a sample of one of them yesterday.

The intermedia micro-residency this year is at Stanley Mills – I wasn’t going to do it again because Cultybraggan was so stressful, and so much extra to do and there’s more to do this year. But it’s at a cotton mill. How could I not?! So I’m weaving the fabric of the building. I really love threads/fabric/textiles in language (my essay last semester was an object biography of a blanket – called A Stitch In Time. I was so proud. No, you’re not reading it), and the fabric of the building is a weird one. And it makes me so happy that I can actually do that.

I’m using all the key years in the history of the mil – opening, closing, take overs, fires etc. The fabric I wove yesterday was all the dates, but I’m probably going to do several variations using the same warp threading (all the years) and then just picking out one or two to use for the weft.

The warp is just grey wool I have a lot of (the spool is the size of my head), the orange and pink are cotton because y’know… cotton mill. And the blues are wool, just because I can’t not put blue in things. The fabric I’ll weave for the exhibition will probably be coloured cotton warps with a white cotton weft, and probably won’t be much wider than the sample (or even the same size). The mill wove thin bands of fabric – that’s the width of one pattern repeat (56 threads).

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Turns out my favourite sketchbooks come in A4. So I have scaled up (as I’m told to do very often…I like small…).

I’ve kind of run out of time, we’re meant to be leaving to go to work now but my flatmate is being slow as usual. So I should probably stop and do the other drafts this evening – my current favourite is called Fuck You Hermes. It’s the tracking number of a parcel they failed to deliver. I got angry and made a draft.

Yup. Still here.

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Weaving on January 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm

I just forget how to write sometimes.

A lot of the time.

Well. The good news is that I didn’t fail last semester. The bad news is this week started with a talk containing the sentence ‘THIS IS YOUR LAST SEMESTER OF FREEDOM’. That was terrifying. (But true, this time next year… let’s not go there).

So. Stuff happened.

I spent one evening a week from September to December learning how to weave. I had to buy a loom because I loved it so much. And now I pretty much just…weave. (Conceptual weaving, it’s a thing now).

Before all that though… Otto.

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The loom came in a very small box. For something that takes up most of a table, it’s a very small box. And even though it folds flat-ish it isn’t exactly small (it does however fit in the flat, there’s a gap between two bookshelves in the living room that is just the right size. Although we probably need to get a new bookshelf to go there).

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It took days and days to build. Because me and instructions that are almost entirely pictures and no text is not a brilliant combination. BUT IT WORKS.

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Although when I say it fits in the flat… it takes up the entirety of the coffee table and/or dining table.

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It’s 16″ wide, so I am quite limited by size. Which I guess is good. Although I’m already going ‘oh the things I could do if I had a 24″ loom…” (blankets! that aren’t patchwork!). The length is less of an issue. The warping frame I had made up goes from about 1.5m to 3.5ishm.

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I’ll save the rambling explanation for another time I think.

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