Where did the last week go to? Time is just flying past - I must be having fun! I've really started to try to concentrate on materials this week (a pile of collected materials sitting on my studio desk above - desk looked like a bomb had hit it this week) and move on from the sketchbook work that I've so enjoyed. I need to focus things down.
I spent Monday reading for my dissertation - bits and pieces on creativity and trying to get my head round 'chapter 1'. Tuesday disappeared in a flurry of straining fruit that I'd left soaking and infusing for natural dye experiments... more on this another time. Wednesday I got stuck into more of the sketchbook stuff that I really need to tear myself away from in order to move into textile processes. On Thursday I got a bit lost, had a bit of a crisis of confidence in what I'm doing, couldn't quite see where things were going, had a challenging talk with Hannah (my tutor) - challenging because she was asking me questions I found difficult to answer but were absolutely necessary and I needed them to be asked. Once I'd got my head straight again I realised that I really do need to focus on textile sampling now and put the sketchbooks aside, even if I haven't worked through all the ideas I wanted to. There will always be thing to come back to...
Friday was a really quiet day in the studio. I did some fairly unsuccessful embossing in the printmaking department, but I think I know what the problem was! I then spent all afternoon sitting at my desk weaving. I have a few frames on the go at the moment. One has things that I started in Edinburgh in Fiona Hutchinson's workshop. I had started experimenting with mono-filament (fishing line) and have some ideas for trapping things within weave that need some more work. It was really useful to talk these ideas through with Fiona and get some technical pointers. The only trouble is that the mono-filament I was using is so fine and fiddly and it is hard to see what is going on, so I'm going to source some thicker stuff before I take those ideas any further.
I made three warps with bits from my beach-combing box. The first was from a piece of light green synthetic rope that I unravelled into the bunches of fibres that had been twisted together to make the rope. The bunches of fibre were used as they were to make a sturdy warp:
One bunch was divided up into the individual fibres and these made the next warp, less sturdy, a bit more delicate. Both of these tied on to the frame OK but kept some of their kinks from being tightly wrapped as a rope - they have personality! Not quite as much as the thick translucent plastic I used a couple of weeks ago, though. This stuff is more malleable. It's only in this detailed analysis through using and experimenting with each type of fibre or collected item that I can really get to know them. It feels quite scientific. Of course it isn't really but there is a methodical nature to the approach I'm taking with these gathered materials.
The third warp I made was with the plastic tapes that had been woven into a wider tape for some sort of use in securing packaging I guess.
These flat strips sit nicely together and weave together well but their flatness makes them knot un-evenly and they don't pack down to hide the warp like the previous fibre.
The first two warps were filled with weft of varying width and fibre, all from the box, by the end of the afternoon.
Studio listening: Britten string quartets, Kate Rusby, Julie Feeney.