Inspiration • Perspiration • Desperation
Last Wednesday our guild had Lisa Scull from the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Textiles Department as a presenter. She is a senior critic and the head of the Jacquard Department. The loom below is the RISD jacquard. If I remember correctly – it has 1900 independently operating hooks repeated 4 times across the width of the loom. If you aren’t familiar with jacquard – it means that 1900 threads can move independently effectively giving you a 1900 shaft loom:)) Design possibility much??? What I didn’t know that really blew my mind is that the loom is threaded with an unchanging warp of 20/2 (I believe) cotton in a double weave sett in two alternating colors of black and taupe. This gives the designer the opportunity (necessity) of using the threads and structure to create shades and tones of the colors they choose for their wefts. So they are thinking of pattern, mixing colors into shades and tones all the while using structure to enhance their color mixing (weft-faced/warp-faced/balanced) AND making sure that the taupe warp is taking up at the same rate as the black warp!!! What an education.So, Lisa gave us a mind-blowing slide show of student work (these students have one class in 4-shaft hand weaving, one class in 24-shaft dobby weaving before they can take the jacquard class in which they don’t really “weave” – the loom does that – they design). The result of this exciting show was me really fantasizing about dragging my looms over a cliff or somehow going back in time to do this whole weaving thing right!
After we saw and heard about the extraordinary student work, Lisa brought out her own portfolio of work (sorry I just drooled on my computer remembering the textiles.) Lisa worked for Lenore Larsen for years before teaching at RISD and designing her own line of textiles. She has a 24-shaft sample loom that she works on at home before traveling to India to work with Jacquard mills to produce textiles that I can only dream about. Fine silks woven in multiple interlaced layers in the MOST beautiful colors imaginable . . . more loom over the cliff impulses . . .
During the rest of the week, I was at Vav Stuga with the Swedish Classics class immersed in a totally different kind of textile inspiration.
And below are more experiments in drafts/materials for the “Shifting Threads” class. I am having a ball, but need to get things finalized so I can get into the detailed planning. Every time I weave a sample, I think I want to try a different material or draft tweak . . . this could go on forever . . . must decide. So far, we have yardage in cotton and linen, towels in two distinct drafts in cottolin, placemats in linen and bolster/pillow covers in Möbelåtta wool and Tuna wool.