They are the Best
Happy weavers . . .
Interesting technique (thank you husband) for analyzing value – take a pic on B&W – surprising isn’t it? Who would think that that melon would be almost as dark a value as the navy?
I have been in an off-loom weaving whirlwind. Between teaching at Vav Stuga (wonderful bunch of weavers – inspired – inspiring), assembling teaching materials for my Vermont workshop (this weekend – heading into intense autumn beauty), editing and designing (yay!) a blanket for WEBS, I don’t have new woven projects to show.
I do have a small list of inspiring thinkers (they are the best), and I would like to share some of their insights in this post.
For years, one of my favorite essayist has been Sandra Tsing Loh who writes for the Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/ on “women’s” issues of marriage, aging parents and child-rearing. She is an acerbic, tell-it-like-it-is writer who focuses on the issues of modern women – feminists who find themselves working, packing lunches and driving the mini-van. In any case, she has just written a book called The Mad Woman in the Volvo about going through menopause. I found it hilarious – really sharp and pretty dark. She may be too harsh for some, but I have to share my favorite bit. Loh argues that menopause isn’t really “the change”, rather that “the change” comes at puberty when girls go from “normal’ to as Loh puts it “cutting up sandwiches for able-bodied people”, and that menopause is actually a return to one’s self. There are many articles and reviews and video clips available if youre interested. Just google the title or her name. I found the clip on Bill Maher particularly funny (not G rated).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gSiCfkU38I
My second recommendation is Lena Dunham’s new book, Not That Kind of Girl. Again, she is not G-rated, but she’s incredibly brave in examining her life/sexuality/ambition closely and resisting the TMI mentality that is such a effective way of silencing and suppressing women/girls. She makes the argument that we have all been subtly coerced into believing that the lives of women – our real thoughts and issues are trivial, superficial and even gross and that we should keep them to ourselves. And she is a true frontierswoman in her aggressive determination to explore/expose issues and stories that are core for her generation of women.
My third recommendation is a Swedish movie I LOVE called We are the Best directed by Lukas Moodysson (the director of another super fave of mine Together). It is about a trio of middle school girls in Sweden in the 1980’s who are fighting the subtle, often kindly-meant, pervasive message to shut-up, behave, conform and be pretty. Here is a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfPytPjV1xc
What do these recommendations have to do with weaving? . . . Well, they might not have anything specifically to do with weaving, but since the VAST majority of weavers I know are women – they might. What I do know is that most of my core weaving buddies are smart, accomplished, middle (if we live WAY beyond 100) aged women who after long working lives still take care of the hungry family, worry/care for/about the kids/grandkids/parents and squeeze weaving into their busy, care-taking lives.** But, these three pieces of art make me (oh so belatedly) think about my nice. beautiful cloth and they make me so sad for my “nice” self and my “sooo nice” mom (artist, teacher, mother and care-taker of all), and make me so happy for my complicated, expressive, TMI, not-so-nice (but so wonderful) daughter.
So, in conclusion – I want to encourage all my weaving peers to think hard about their weaving – is it a beautiful pleasure that balms all the small (large) abrasions of life? Is it some kind of expression of desires and core beliefs (and I am not necessarily an advocate or opponent of the woven menstrual blood trail . . . ) or is it a way that we have channeled something vital into an de-fanged form, the tea towel or dish cloth?
I love towels . . . . .???????
**This is not to say that the husbands/partners are slouches (I’ve always said that women who weave better have good/great partners because it is a demanding hobby/vocation/avocation; demanding of time, money, focus, space, etc.)